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Discovery Tajikistan travel guide #2/2010


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My travel story: Trekking in the Fann Mountains
One of the truly best combination tours in Central Asia comprises the fascinating contrast between the Tajik urban culture of old Bukhara and Samarkand in Uzbekistan, both over 2500 years old, and trekking in the unspoilt natural environment of the Fann mountains in Tajikistan, where the way of life has not changed much over the centuries.

From Penjikent at the Uzbek/Tajik border near Samarkand a jeep brings you up to Alaudin alpine camp, a 150km drive East. The panorama is breathtaking, overlooking Lake Alaudinskie with its perfectly smooth surface and its backdrop of glistening eternal snow on the over 5000m high peaks, you have come a long way from civilization. Nature pure.

This is Lake Country. Fingers are pointed in all directions to indicate the major lake sides. What a choice there is for trekking routes.

Time to settle in and explore the environment. The river flows into the small Lake Pjala, with crystal clear waters. There are pastures, meadows, juniper trees, rock boulders covered with emerald moss. A donkey drinks from a small pool and cows are grazing while Tajik shepherds with their sheep dogs whistle a shrill tone and a distinct melody to call their goat herds back home, to be counted before they are to spend the night in an enclosure.

After sunset it gets cool and a wind blows, sending ripples across the lake. Time to change into sweaters and jackets.

Nearby smoke escapes through the skylight of the simple shepherds' huts, it is dinner time. The Tajik up here in their summer pastures are wonderful, the friendliest people you'll meet, and even though they may not have much, they are truly hospitable and will share oven baked bread, shurpa soup and curdled butter. You are certain to be invited to sit with them for freshly brewed tea. They will help you with whatever you need, advise you on the area, the sites, their favorite places up there beyond the trees and they will gladly recount the stories of fairies, the oral heritage from their forefathers. They will ask for nothing in return but you are free to reciprocate as you can.

Discovery Tajikistan #1

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