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Discovery Tajikistan travel guide #2/2010


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From the editorial board

Just, but really just back at my desk from my first ever travel to Tajikistan, to meet those who are involved in tourism and tourism development and probably most of all, to make a long standing wish come true. A Journey to Tajikistan.

In retrospect I realize just how many hints destiny has thrown upon my winding path over the last 20 years to ultimately get me there. A Central Asian Film Festival in Geneva, where I used to live, off an on, and very strong, unforgettable images projected by the Tajik movie, of love and the cable car in Dushanbe during the civil war. Sipping tea at the Dushanbe Tea House in Boulder Colorado, on a weekend trip from New York, my home at that time. Traveling through Tashkurgan in Xinjian wondering what things look like on the other side of the border with the Soviet Union (in 1991). That seemingly unrealistic longing for a mysterious land called Badakhshan, close yet so far, while I spent a year in my beloved Hunza, Northern Pakistan. And flashes of a documentary shown on the European Arte channel maybe 2 years ago, of the German ambassador to Tajikistan bringing humanitarian aid to semi-nomads in the Eastern most valley of Tajikistan, towards the Chinese border. And the original desire in all probability generated by the Swiss travel writer Ella Maillard, whose out of print books recounting her solo travels in the 1930's I used to collect and whose tales would make me wonder if I too would have it in me to take off and make it in the great unknown.

On this trip a young bright girl at the Fatima Hotsprings in the Wakhan Valley asked me: Why do you journey? Ample time to ponder the question on the long jeep rides through the Pamirs. Indeed, nowadays my motivation for travelling is either the need for style, service and good shopping or the search for a location devoid, but absolutely devoid of plastic chairs. Many a destination offers great possibilities for the former but to my great chagrin there are but very, very few places left in the latter category. You need to be ready though to renounce the conveniences that are standard in the “developed” world. Tajikistan, well, it surpassed my expectations and that doesn't happen often. Wonderful, powerful, so lovely, yet wild, still unspoilt. Leaf through these pages, read the travel stories we have gathered, gaze at our photos and when you feel even the slightest tugging in your heart, then contact one of those listed in the back who can get you there, to Tajikistan.

Andrea Leuenberger

Discovery Tajikistan #1

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