It’s Oh So Quiet (but March 2019 was rather happening)

It’s Oh So Quiet (but March 2019 was rather happening)

It’s been quiet here but in reality, March was rather busy. So, to not let things slump a bit round here, I try to catch up. So, what’s been happening in here while there was radio silence in the blog?

I quit my job

Well, I quit a long time ago, last September. But noooo, I am not going to travel long-term. This chance has passed, missy, with a mortgage, a husband and two kitties it’s not going to happen. I simply was offered another job. I quit, and worked a rather long notice period. And as of tomorrow I will be back in the corporate world!

 

We got married

And one day after my last day at work, I had a wedding to attend. My own. Against all statistics, I hasten to add. Maybe I am just the odd one out, but did I ever expect to be married past my Thirties? Well, never. Especially when you get nice studies telling you that as a woman, your dating desirability is a straight downwards sloping line by the time you hit 20. Hey stats, here is your outlier!

wedding chapel Germany Neuruppin
Ok. Done. Lets go and party (photo by Joe “Mr Darcy” Tarrant)

We had a super-informal wedding just the way we wanted. It would have been a lot more relaxed had I not decided to make my own wedding dress three weeks before the wedding. You see, I had a nice emerald-green gown, the same style Lea Seydoux wore in the James Bond movie. I am probably twice her age and three times her weight and chickened out without trying the dress again… which fit. By then, I had put so much love and effort into the home-made dress I decided to wear that one and keep the emerald gown for the next ball.  We married in a little chapel, with Elvis in attendance and a four-course Italian meal and the Pulp Fiction Dance as our Wedding dance, because, why not. I have almost forgotten I had a stinking cold and drank nothing but mint tea and diet cola all night and was out of breath after every dance. I might harp on about it at a later point if anyone is interested in it. Heck, I made my wedding dress on a 1960’s semi-functioning machine. I am going to harp on a bout it… later.

The Soul of Elvis at our wedding
When you are trying to sing along with Elvis, drink and show off your newly acquired personal status (photo by Joe “Mr Darcy” Tarrant))

…went on honeymoon

We’re not types to hang by the pool or the beach all day, so an exotic resort honeymoon was out of the question. We also didn’t want to spend a ton of money, because, you know, a wedding costs a bit. So with my husband being somewhat more conservative when it comes to travel, we opted for Andalucia. Well, he expresses all sorts of reservations when I come up with a not-so-well-known destination. Then looks at the pictures I send him and says ” Ach, I really should have come with you”.

Street in Priego de Cordoba
First place we visited was a huge hit: Priego de Cordoba

It all started well with two flights for about 50 EURO. In the end, our classy yet budget-conscious honeymoon didn’t turn out very cheap, but probably still didn’t hammer our budget like a trip to Japan or a Thailand/Malaysia combo would have cost. March is a great month to travel round Andalucia in March! If it happens to coincide with the Semana Santa, the week leading up to Easter (not this year), things may get crowded.  I believe that would be a unique experience, too. So we just had to content ourselves with displays in the shops of ceremonial dress of Catholic penitents with their pointy conical hats.  We did a somewhat wiggly route combining the great and well-known (Sevilla, Cordoba, Jerez de la Frontera, Gibraltar) with the less-known but no less picturesque Priego de Cordoba, Jaen, Baeza, Ubeda, Sanlucar des Barrameda, Costa del Luz).

Dome, Church of the Assumption, Priego de Cordoba
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, Priego de Cordoba
Plaza de España, Vejer de la Frontera
Vejer de la Frontera is on the tourist map, but not so much in March!

 

 and finally… an ego trip along the ancient Silk Road

Which was… made possible by my ex-boss, cheap airfares, a Spanish high-speed train. So, this was a rather fast and furious visit.   After I quit my job, my ex-boss took a very long time to decide whether to grant me my annual leave for the period I worked this year. He took his time to the extent that I became a bit worried that our honeymoon might fall apart. A little legal help led to him snapping into generosity mode and granting me an extra ten days leave.

I planned to go away for a long weekend. Then I almost simultaneously found out that I would no longer need a visa to enter Uzbekistan as a tourist and that Aeroflot could take me to Samarkand for under 400 EURO.  Leaving my newly minted husband in charge of the kitties, spent a lovely five days in Samarkand and Bukhara. Of course, a week is not enough, because once you are there, you may as well visit any of the neighbouring countries. Afghanistan, perhaps is somewhat off the tourist map, and Turkmenistan visas can be a bit tricky, but Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan are easy to visit)

Mid-March was perfect for Uzbekistan, it was warm in the day, and the trees were in bloom – although someone told me I could have been unlucky with the weather.

Registan, Samarkand
As soon as I arrived, I made a beeline for the Registan. It is monumental but there is a modern city right round it
Lyabi Hauz Square, Nasreddin Hodja statue
Bukhara: Smaller, easier to walk but no less impressive
Mir-i-Arab Madrasa, Bukhara
Bukhara was some more of the same Timurid mosaics… ancient ones
Boutique Hotel Minzifa Bukhara
… and contemporary interpretation of “Classic Bukhara Style” at my hotel
Feruza Ikat Store Bukhara
Death for the wallet when you just rediscovered sewing
Gur-e-Emir Mausoleum, Samarkand
… not bad for a last night in Samarkand: Gur-e-Emir Mausoleum the minute they turn the lighting on

I promise to report on everything in more detail once I have settled into my new job! In theory, I work fewer hours than in my previous job but I have been offered a part-time research post so in practice, probably not! I promise not to let this one loose for too long!

Practicalities

Pace yourself, dear, pace yourself! As I catch up, I will add a lot of practical information on travelling independently in both Samarkand and Bukhara and how to make a Andalucia road trip that makes you gain ten pounds and not dent your hire car!



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