Roberto Gallegos and Annika Wachter of Tasting Travels tell us all about the mysterious Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan.
Just because it is Uzbekistan: I am not proud to admit it, but before planning our trip through Central Asia I had no idea where this country was. Cycling is a great way to get in touch with the countries culture and its people. And cycling through Uzbekistan reminded us of how rich and diverse our world is. We fell in love with their puppet craftsmanship and its distinct pottery, not to mention the landscape that is dominated by kilometers of cotton fields.
You will get to eat Plov: Food is a very important part of every culture. Plov is more than a dish it is a symbol of the unity of the families and the value of sharing that persists in the culture. Eating Plov is a ritual, starting from the cooking itself until the plates are finished. Of course, this is also a great cycling food, heavy but extremely powerful. Curious about what this is all about? Well, there is another reason to cycle through Uzbekistan if you are lucky enough you might even get invited to a wedding.
Its people: Although it is true that you need to register in a Hotel every 2 nights, the truth is that as a cyclist you can actually manage to spend time with locals. We camped many times in Uzbek homes and the experience was fulfilling. We got to meet very interesting people and even though they did not speak a word of English they spoke the language of the heart and good intention.
In particular, the farmers were very excited to meet foreigners and we had the opportunity to share many good times. Expect to be stopped many times on the road and be invited to eat watermelon, or other goodies, for them company is natural and almost a willing obligation.
The Architecture: Like nothing I had ever seen before, Uzbekistan overwhelmed me with its distinct architecture. With most of its influence coming from Islam, the mosques and the historic centers will leave you with your mouth wide open. Buxoro was an amazing surprise. I could not believe that such buildings could be erected with so much precision.
It is interesting: Being confronted every day with the different views, political, religious and cultural can be mind nurturing. Uzbekistan is one of those countries you never really fully understand given what has been said in the media compared with what you see on top of your bike.
About the Authors
Tasting Travels is Annika Wachter (26) from Germany and Roberto Gallegos (29) from Mexico. Their project seeks to promote bike travel as a means to strengthen social empathy.
They are currently traveling by bicycle and promoting this idea along the way. They want to share the wonders of bike travel with the world and help other people plan their own tours.
They are moved by the strong belief that bike travel is an excellent way to get to know our planet and the different people that live in it.