We are told it will be a 10 hour drive to Khiva, so we start off in the bus at 8, pit stop for desperate people, rest stop at a tea House, more driving and we arrive around 4:30 in the afternoon. Our hotel is within the walls of the old city. A few of us head out for a short hop before our orientation walk, we see the minarets, find the carpet workshop from the book, Carpet Ride to Khiva, then sit down for a refresh at a Tea House and sample the local speciality, dill noodles topped with potatoes and carrots. Back to the hotel and head out as a group for the orientation walk, down the main East-West street that connects the gates, past the stumpy minaret, by the statue to the father of algebra, past vendors selling funky lambswool hats, around some of the covered domes. Dinner is at the same place as we had our snack, so I opt to head out by myself and climb the stairs in the watchtower in the Ark complex to watch the sunset. Magical feeling as the light makes all the buildings glow. This town is much smaller than Bukara, and the vendors all shut down with the sunset.
I wake early and take advantage of the cooler morning to capture the sunrise from the terrace of the hotel and then walk through the town as it wakes up. There is the sound of birds cooing, a handful of street sweepers out, and it is delightful to be able to walk through and experience this as the light is beginning to make all the buildings glow. Back for a delicious breakfast, fresh made french toast, fry bread, meat pastries, and other treats. We then head out on our city tour and pick up a guide. Starting by the West gate, we tour the Madrrassa that is now a hotel, walk to the arc citadel and it's courtyards and mosques. Through to a different Khan palace complete with harem section, to a fascinating mosque containing 213 interior columns, some over 1000 years old. Through the Musuem of photography, with it's people frozen in time, through the applied art Musuem with it's costumes and silks. The tour finishes and we do a quick final walk, have a quick refresh at the Tea House, then set off for the 17 hour train ride to Tashkent.Read more