Wednesday, 8 May 2013


Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, was clearly very wealthy off oil and gas revenues. We got into Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan, and that is even wealthier. The streets may not be paved with gold but they are lined with marble. We got in at 2330 and spent some time going through passport control and then were driven to our hotel. Very grand with excellent facilities - like hot water in the right taps!! So at 1230, I started proceedings by washing some clothes. They are nearly dry this morning. We have been allowed to sleep in this morning and are not being collected until 10. Our guide is probably wondering why we are all so friendly. He is a real charmer and has done all the right things. I don't think many of us would return to Azerbaijan willingly.

Modern buildings in Baku

Old city of Baku

Ashgabat is more or less completely modern. A severe (9) earthquake in1947 left 20,000 alive out of 200,000. And the present socialist Government and spent the oil/gas revenues on rebuilding. So Ashgabat has marble-clad bakeries and air-conditioned bus-stops. They need that - it was 35 degrees C yesterday. They also have a good museum where we were given an excellent guided tour. The moral of which is that everybody fought with everyone else and then married them.

After that it was off to lunch and then into four 4x4s and North into the desert where we camped in tents under a starry sky. One of the drivers got a fire going and cooked lamb kebabs for our supper. First rate.

Note the dirty shoes and the desert background. There was a gas crater nearby which has been burning for years. The spot of blue on the other side of the crater is Debbie.

The next day we were up early and drove further north to Urgench which is a UNESCO world heritage site. In the 11/12th century, this was the biggest city in Central Asia. Tamerlane wiped it out and took everyone left to Samarkand to build his new city there. The point is that from the ruins left you can see that the great architecture of Samarkand, Bukhara etc started here.

The dome of a mausoleum at Urgench

A pierced window in the same building.

The archway entrance to one of the caravanserai. The area covered is huge. We were driven between monuments.

And this is our vehicle plus driver.

Then to the border which took two hours to cross. Someone said we showed our passports seven times on the Turkmenistan side and four times on the Uzbekistan side. We are now in Nukus in the only hotel. The food last night was very different from anything we have been eating. Soup, beef stroganoff and a slice of Swiss Roll. Mashed potato with the meat. Today we are off to see a Museum and into 4by4s and to the Aral Sea.

The first thing everyone did on arrival as to wash themselves and their clothes. Mine are all dry. It is going to be 35 again today.


1 comment:

  1. So, how was tent living?
    like the pierced window pattern. Possible weaving pattern.



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About Me

I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.