Uzbekistan does not make it easy for most nationalities to visit. My Letter of Invitation and Visa cost AUD$650 and took a month to obtain (my passport had to be sent to Washington in the USA). I’m guessing this must be easier for French and Germans, as they seem to make up the largest number of tourists here. In fact, most tourist stall holders will speak to you in French before they try English. You also have to guard with your life the pieces of paper that each hotel gives you verifying your stay with them.
Be prepared to help young people practice their English! They will either shout a bold “hello” (or occasionally “goodbye”), or shyly say it so softly as you pass so that you only just catch it – but it is worthwhile to take the time to stop and chat. A great opportunity to learn about the hopes and dreams of the up-and-coming generation, and to ask questions about the country and culture as well!
The women are more rotund than those in Tajikistan, and there is much more of a mix in the clothes that they wear. Some opt for western clothing, some opt for the local patterned tunics with pants, some for the velvet (they must really be dying under all that velvet in this heat!)
Classic image: Madrassah at sunset with birds that look like swallows swooping and circling in front of the minarets.
It is the land of blue and turquoise
The sights of Samarkand (especially The Registan) are more beautiful than you can imagine
Bukhara is beautiful but feels a little like Disneyland given its focus on the tourism dollar. Definitely the best place to buy souvenirs.
Khiva really does feel like a museum. It is an interesting place to walk around, but very enclosed with no grand vistas. It somehow feels a little soulless and very much geared to the tourist dollar during the day, the zombie apocalypse during the early morning and evenings!
Uzbekistan has awesome icecreams! The iPhone 6 Plus was my favourite. Fake banana flavour … nom, nom, nom!