Uzbekistan: Detour in a Sentyab village before heading back to the capital.
Before leaving Uzbekistan for India, we spent our last days in a small village in the Nuratau region. Homestay here can be tricky to arrange by yourself since they are required to provide you with an official registration sheet. So the only way is to go through an hotel or an agency who knows which homestay is approved by the government. Nuratau Ecotourism Association arranged a three nights stay in Sentyab for us.
Sentyab was apparently one of the first village with a few houses converted into eco-tourism. But tourism has only a small role in the village life and the experience there is guaranteed to be authentic. We have been welcomed by the 7 kids of the family that was hosting us. They were absolutely adorable. During the 3 days we stayed in Sentyab, our daily routine was the following: big breakfast in the garden of the house followed by a small walk in the village while the sun was still low and then lunch (big and delicious again) followed by an afternoon of reading and playing with the kids. Once the sunset arrived, usually we went for another walk in the village (on the other side this time). Each time we met a villager on our way, he/she stopped to say salam alaykoum and tried some small talk in Russian.
During this time we were cut off the phone and the Internet, kind of an online detox for us. And looking at what is happening in the last few days in the world, we would have preferred a longer offline period… Last piece of advise in case you found this article while googling for homestay or Sentyab, bring your own bottled water with you. The villagers are immune to the tap water, we are apparently not. Fortunately, there was not much that we did not see during our last visit in Tashkent. Thus spending our last three days in our B&B room as close as possible from the toilets was not a big issue.
we did specifically enjoy
- Walking around the Sentyab village and meeting random villagers on the way.
- Qalpinur, Asilzoda and Roxanna, the three girls living in the house. We played water-polo together, shared our origami recipes and they kept bringing us flowers and fruits for us!
- Tashkent: Jahongir BB Tashkent: We liked it the first time (two episodes ago), we still like it a lot!
- Sentyab: Rahima’s homestay: Somehow an ‘off the beaten path’ experience where we shared the life of a mountain village for a few days.
- Tashkent: Manas Art cafe, mix of Georgian and Uzbek cuisine (a very good advice given by one of our youtube follower, thanks Abdurakhmon!).
Best Kept Secret Tip
If you have the choice between a train, a bus or a shared taxi, do not take the shared taxi. The drivers are trying to make as many trips as possible in one day and they drive dangerously… all the time. If you think drivers in Georgia are the worst, you never tried the Uzbek one. They took the number 1 place on our list of ‘oh god, I’m scared to death’ moments on the road.