Thursday, January 15, 2009

the plan as it now stans...

Further consideration of my next trip i have expanded the idea to cover two of Iran's neighbours - Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

I have long harboured the desire to see Bukhara and Samarkand, so this seems like the perfect opportunity. Turkmenistan popped up as it is sandwiched between the two places I want to see.

Preliminary investigation seems to suggest that Turkmenistan will be the most difficult to organise. It appears the simplest visa to obtain is the transit visa which gives you about 3 - 5 days to skip across the country (which in itself seems to suggest there is not a tremendous amount to see in the place...)

I have found a place called Merv which has considerable historical significance, but a quick Google image search shows Merv is a long way to go for not a great deal.

So the plan so far is to fly to Iran - preferably Shiraz (to avoid backtracking), then continue on to Isfahan, Qom, Tehran and Mashhad in Iran, cross to Ashkabat in Turkemneistan and head overland to Darvaza in the middle of the Karakum desert.

Then I cross the border at Urgench and hopefully visit Khiva before heading down to Bukhara, Samarkand and finally ending in Tashkent. Will then try and fly to Norway and London en-route home.

proposed route (click to enlarge)

bukhara (photo source)

the registan, samarkand

Friday, January 9, 2009


Now is as good a time as any to begin thinking about my next trip.

There are about a dozen potential plans sitting quietly in the back of my head - it's a matter of deciding which are the most desirable/practical/logical.

Kilimanjaro was a good example of all three. At my advancing age I seriously need to consider which places require greater physical stamina than others - and do them first! The Trans - Siberian rail trip has been on the back burner for years - but lets face it - I could be loaded onto a train in a hospital bed in my 90's to do a 10 day rail trip.

But I think I have settled on the next choice: Iran.

These images helped convince me!

(photo from here)

history (palace of persepolis)

islamic architecture (nasir-ol-molk_mosque shiraz)

mountains to climb (mt. damarvand)

Well - the idea has been planted - let's see what this year brings!