Uzbekistan is a name that conjures up images of camel trains trekking through deserts from one trading post to the next, along the famous silk route. It also has its mixture of historical past jumbled up between Islamic, Soviet and warlord status. These vast differences provide a confusing mix of opposites to get through when finding the “real” Uzbekistan. The fact that you may be looking at a fort built 600 years before Christ in the morning and then drinking a bottle of vodka with a chain smoking Muslim in the evening adds to the wonder of the country. Most people couldn’t even find Uzbekistan on a map. (It is directly above Afghanistan). We decided to jump straight in at the deep end and booked some flights (with very little planning and some faith we would see everything we wanted to). The result was 18 days and nights of wonder, entertainment, bizarre encounters, hellish weather and pure delight. For a country that has been inhabited since Neolithic times and has continuously risen from the dust of the desert,only to be completely destroyed time and time again, it is a fascinating place.