After our satisfying tourist day, we had an equally satisfying admin day in which: we were able to get my phone unlocked (turned out it already was); buy a SIM so we could have mobile internet in Uzbekistan; pick up our tickets to Samarkand from the station; and get our stuff together for our train journey. We bade goodbye to Roma around 3pm and trundled down to the station, eager to be off. It’s annoying that we don’t have enough time to cycle to Samarkand, but not much to be done about the strictness of Uzbek visas.
As we expected, the train was great fun again. Within minutes we’d made a bunch of friends, especially a guy named Ergash, who bought us some beer, fed us some bread and talked with us until it was time to pass out. The trains in Uzbekistan really are just wonderful. People recommend the compartments, but I loved being able to sit in a small community of people, forced into intimacy by our shared space and enjoy each other’s company – all with no shared language. As night came, I lay my head alongside an open window and felt the breeze from the desert cool me as I passed off to sleep.