the fergana valley

Heading towards Uzbekistan was a tough one this time. Not because of Uzbekistan itself. More because of the area that we would be entering: the ferghana valley.
It’s by far the politically and ethnically most fragile area within Central Asia and is known for its conservative religious believers.
It is also the spot in Central Asia where you find nine enclaves, wich makes it even more confusing.
I remember, two years ago I had the same worries regarding the decision “Pamir?” yes or no.
Regardless of my twisted mind about it our bikes were almost constantly rolling towards this mysterious valley.
Kyrgizstan amazed us again with its surreal touch. Turquoise lakes, rivers, rugged mountain-ranges, soft-grass covered rolling hills, yurts…damn, I love kyrgizstan!
With each Kilometer south the mountains seemed to release us from their spiritual intensity and passed us on to the new country: Uzbekistan.
We picked a small border crossing that, I guess , usually only local people use. We found ourselves in a queue of waiting men and partly very attractive and beautiful women. I don’t know if it’s the constant good weather or the fresh fruits but something has an extremely positive impact on them here. Just wow!
Surprisingly easy we got into the country and went straight into the first city: Andijan.
As we had to register at least every third night, we checked into our hotel and relaxed. But time was running and soon the next sun had risen.
Poul helped me to look after new clothes for me and that way we met Gihan. He runs a little shop in town and as I explained him what I was looking for, he instantly closed his shop and took us by taxi into town. What an amazing guy. Later he invited us for plov for dinner and in the end we were staying with him. What a lovely human being! Thank you Gihan, I know you can’t read this but I believe that by writing this down I can spread the good news that the world is beautiful. The next morning we had a chai together and Gihan invited us for breakfast.
That day was a busy one on the road. Lots of trucks, cars etc made our ride a little unpleasant. And scenerywise this stretch of the fergana valley is not really spectacular. It’s dominated by cotton fields. We camped at an abandoned house that night.
The day after we were already about to climb out of The Valley across the dividing range. A long and steady climb full of chaihanas on left and right our way. Local people kept giving us things for free: apples, plums, money, dinner, bread, accomodation…
I must admit that I’ve never before experienced that amount of hospitality before and am truly amazed.
The next day we made it to Angren, an industrial town right on the other side of the range.
I am very touchy when it comes to the negative effects of traffic, or let’s say: I hate it! God let the fossil fuels finally end so all cars stop. Moving too fast in too unnatural vehicles is not good for us it seems.
Iam sure if all car drivers would have to ride bikes, the world would be a slightly better place. But yeah, maybe that’s just my naive mind.
We did even manage to get into tashkent, second time for me, and can again relax a bit now. Again: a big shout-out to the uzbek-People!! Awesome..

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