We are here in Moscow for a few days near the end of our trip. Our first day out of course we had to visit the Kremlin. Growing up during the cold way, I always pictured it as a dangerous but probably beautiful government structure, which was there, but the main part of the Kremlin and the part that you are allowed to visit is made up of Cathedrals. I was quite suprised at that.
We took a quick taxi across the border to Kazakhstan (three hours) to the former capital of Almaty. We didn't really have any reason we wanted to visit here except that it is a convenient place to catch the train to Moscow. There are a couple of museums and things but we didn't really get around to seeing them since we were only there for a day and a half. We did wander around the central shopping area a couple of times which is mostly remarkable for its large number of guys sitting around drinking beer on park benches. Not the most friendly of places.
We traveled up into the mountains in Kyrgyzstan to a town called Arslanbob. It turned out to be one of the most idyllic and beautiful places we have been yet. We didn't stay in town long though, only long enough to head up into the mountains. We were going camping for a week which is really great since we have been lugging around many pounds of camping gear for months. The mountains around the area were absolutely stunning. Much of Kyrgyzstan is mountains and all of the cities are in valleys. Makes for a beautiful country.
We arrived in Khiva and were immediately speechless. While Samarkand still had a few old buildings and Bukhara was about half still there and with a bit of imagination you could imagine what it was once like, Khiva was still (almost) like it was 150 years ago. We stayed for two days and wandered around trying to see everything. There is way too much explaining to do of all the things below so I'll just summarize a few here and let the rest speak for themselves. To truly appreciate this city you have to see it yourselves.
A short busride from Samarkand is the city of Bukhara which is famous for cruelty and Great Game politics between the British and Russians. We arrived after our fun bus ride and quickly found a great place to stay called Komil's B&B. Komil was a very friendly guy and spoke great english. He told us that the place we stayed at in Samarkand, Kamila is the female version of his name so we had to stay at his place to complete the pair.