A one-week trip to the Khorezm Desert and Khiva in Uzbekistan in Fall 2011. One of the nicest perks of living and working at an international school are the school-related trips that take you off the beaten path. In October, I was invited to join our Grade 7 class for their Week Without Walls adventure to Khorezm and Khiva. From Tashkent, the capital city, we boarded an overnight train for Urgench.
The trains are really cool Soviet cars with 4 to a cabin. It is a pleasant ride and in the morning, I was able to grab some cool snaps of the outside scenery.
Once we arrived in Urgench, we boarded a bus that took us to our final destination for the next two days: Ayoz Kala Fortress and Yurt Camp in the Khorezm Desert. Ayoz Kala is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is approximately 2,000 years old. It was quite a treat to sleep at the foot of a world treasure in a yurt. Furthermore, the surrounding landscape was beautiful, barren, and vast under an amazing sky. We spent the two days exploring and reflecting upon our surrounding environment.
On Day 4, we took off for Khiva and its ancient walled city – Itchan Kala. Within the walls, you can get a sense of what life was like for traders who traveled the Silk Road route as well as a glimpse of modern life. Compared to Tashkent, it was definitely more traditionally Uzbek. More people spoke Uzbek than Russian and were pretty friendly, often tickled by the photographer (me) asking to take their photos.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Khiva and Khorezm Desert. It is a great way to see how people lived and trekked through this area centuries ago. Moreover, it was a chance to fire off the camera to capture some really cool architecture, landscapes, and people.
Photo and words by Yvette Cuenco. Yvette is a Filipino-American originally from Concord, California who has lived and worked in Brooklyn, NY, and is now feeding her travel bug by living/working overseas in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Read more of Yvette's international adventures