2007 with Klaudia for 6 days in Tashkent (transit) and Samarkand (Agrar-Uni) for research cooperation and LOGO e.V. (student trainee selection). I found it frightening how little I know about this region, its people and history. At school we learned at most something about Moscow, but nothing about the cultural and scenic diversity of the Soviet Empire. It was probably the intention of the educational planning: If the enemy becomes a man with culture and face, he is not so easy to fight. Especially Samarkand as a former stronghold on the Seidestrasse, I didn't even know its name before. It impressed me very much. Especially the market Railton, where 400 years ago besides goods also knowledge was traded. 600 years ago the famous astronomer and governor Ulugbek lived in this Arab city: he had his own observatory and made first-class calculations. The Silk Road has now got a picture. Very multicultural, although Islam has a strong role and tradition. We have not seen other tourists the whole time.
Uzbekistan reminded me very much of the GDR in the 80s. Ladas, clean but very poor, grey, few western elements and people in black-grey (leather jackets). The autocratic neo-Soviet regime is still clearly visible. Our hosts were very nice, including the students we tested for an internship in DE. Apart from that, agriculture is geared towards cotton (30%). For the grazing animals there are only the narrow and poor field edges. The land is flat and the villages very unattractive. I don't even want to do development service here. Everything is sad.
By train from Tashkent to Samarkand. Buying the tickets is almost an act of state, but the stations are clean and new and the train is decent (like airplane). The hotels were rather modest, although cheap. Also the food wasn't much to offer. For Klaudia as a vegetarian there were mostly only potatoes.