My next adventure: Southern India (Chennai, Pollachi,  Kochi) – August 2024

Samarkand – October 2019

Day 3 – The Road (Or Bullet Train) To Samarkand

It was a 5:30am start yesterday as we headed to Tashkent railway station to catch the Uzbeks version of the bullet train two hours down to Samarkand for a city tour. As with most places in Uzbekistan, the station consisted of a flight of stairs up to the concourse with no lift to be seen. As a result, we were escorted around the rear by security and into the business lounge whilst we waited for this majestic train. Slightly concerning was the fact that a song bird was locked up in a cage in the lounge with a microphone sounding the actual bird song into the area, isn’t that animal cruelty?

Soon the magnificent train awaited…

Now, the train was actually built in Spain and therefore has to comply with Spanish access legislation so I was a little confused when the train staff decided to lift the wheelchair themselves onto the train! It turns out that there is a ramp onboard in plain sight but when we questioned the staff whether we could use it, the responses were either ‘maybe’ or ‘not possible’…shows how many wheelchair users use the trains in Uzbekistan!

Anyway, Samarkand, after meeting our tour guide and driver at the station, we were escorted around the city stopping at notable sights such as Ulugh Beg Observatory which was one of the first places where time was observed…

When wandering around this architectural marvel of a city, one thing I noted, especially in Registan Square was the amount of ramps in place (albeit some made out of marble so rather slippy!). It seems that Samarkand are much more (well in Uzbek standards anyway!) geared up for wheelchair users, maybe it gains more tourists than the nations capital…

Another thing that I have noticed since being in Uzbekistan is how cheap everything is i.e. you can easily have a three course meal (with three people) for approximately £30…certainly not breaking the bank on this trip?

Today is a chill day in and around the hotel before we travel over the border (and a time zone) to Shymkent in Kazakhstan 🙂

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