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  • Day21

    Bukara con't

    July 22, 2017 in Uzbekistan ⋅ 🌬 37 °C

    We head out as a group for our city orientation.  Along Lyabi-Hauz, past the Madrrassas, some ruins being excavated, through the ancient caravarsi, domed markets with a mix of carpet swaths, stork scissors, silk scarves and clothing, random tcotckes,  up to the minaret and the dual facing Madrrassas, domes dotting the sky. We eat at an outdoor terrace restaurant, complete with misters.  As we walk back to the hotel, it's like an outdoor street party, the small motorized cars are out for kids, lots of families are walking around, very festive.

    The next morning we head out for our city tour, starting out on the bus.  We are headed to the Samanid Mausoleum but pull into an amusement park parking lot.  The Mausoleum is through the amusement park in an adjoining park.  Interesting stone work in the design.  Next we drive to an older mosque with the front flanked by a series of columns and colorful woodwork ceiling.  There is a reflecting pool out front that doubles the number of columns.  We learn that the wooden decorative ceiling is designed to look like the books in a library, so babies looking up are surrounded by the idea of knowledge.  From the mosque, we cross the street to enter the Ark Citadel, the original city fortress.  The complex has a series of small Musuems that fill different courtyards, plus open air plazas.  We leave there and head to the Minaret Kalyan complex, learning that the minaret is 40 meters talk, with an unseen 10 meters underground that allowed it to survive for the last 1000 years, through Ghengis Khan and other Invaders.  We stop back at the carpet store and see the girls weaving on the looms in back, sit down at the silk road tea House for a sampler of 3 teas and some sweets.  Back to the hotel to rest before Hamam time. 

    Just before 5 we head to the hamam for our appointments.  The bath house is 600+ years old.  We change into plaid sheet coverings and are led through arched hallways to a circular steam room where we are asked to stand.  We spend about 10-15 minutes there, generating a layer of sweat before we are individually taken by our hamam boys, slender men in the same plaid towel.  We start out seated on the stone slab as different body parts are lifted and scrubbed with a loofah mitten.  Then buckets of cold water are poured over our heads, a mix of exhilarating and feeling like I'm drowning.  Next we are instructed to lie down on the stone slab and receive a massage and stretching of our limbs.  We stand up and are given a ginger rub, front and back and led to another circular room to lie down on heated stone slabs, where the ginger becomes a deep penetrating massage. This is shear bliss, followed by more buckets of cold water.  We are given the option of an additional soft oil massage and a few of us gladly say yes.  Back to individual rooms where we are gently massaged with oil.  Quite an experience.  Glowing, we head of to dinner at another outdoor terrace restaurant where we can watch the sun set.  I have medallions of beef in a cream sauce, one of the best meals so far.  It's Saturday night, and the carnival scene still pervades the area around Lyabi-hauz.
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