The road and the country had change dramatically. Fields were green the road was not busy with trucks and therefore also no serious potholes. There were no luxury German or Japanese cars anymore just old Lada’s and small Daihatsu’s (Daewoo taxis). Along the road there were trees. Some big and old, mostly painted white at the bottom. Along the road there were frequent stalls selling patrol in bottles since most petrol stations were closed and the few one left only sold Propane. Apparently it is government policy to encourage Propane driving. We will therefore have trouble finding a diesel pump (and then not overrun by thirsty trucks). There were also frequent rest stops along the way with outdoor restaurants underneath the trees. It looked so nice that we also made a stop and had some bread, salad, chopped up meat with bones with potatoes and onions. It was fine but also relatively expensive. So next time we might as well forget the meat. It was too chewy anyway.

At 14:30 we were already in Samarkand. It took some circling around till we squeezed ourselves through some very narrow alleys and ended up on a large parking lot in front of the main attraction “The Registan”. The three large Medressas stand opposite each other as if they are competing “Who is the most beautiful”. I have never seen such an impressive sight. The tall decorated facades with behind an inner court where the students and professors had their rooms and a larger lecture hall. Not only were Koran teachings given here but also all other forms of science and literature. These schools were built between 1420 and 1660. They survived all the earthquakes and had been given its former glory back by restoring all tiles and paint work.

Opposite the Registan is a lovely pedestrian walkway going to evenly beautiful Bibi Khanym mosque from the time of Emir Timur (1400). We enjoyed a coffee and cola with live music in the shaded open air. The evening fell (temperature dropped from 35 deg) and it was nice and coolish.