So many of us take vacations as a break from our fast-paced lives. We may seek a place where we can slow down, connect with the land and sky. We travel to new destinations for many of the same reasons but also to learn something about ourselves, and others, and to create memories to bring home along with the souvenirs. A trip to Central Asia should always include the major historic cities, yet the landscape and way of life in less inhabited areas is equally rich. No matter what kind of terrain you are traversing or which sites you choose to visit, local hospitality is an enduring tradition. There's nothing more welcome in this region than a guest!
A fairly new phenomenon for the tourism industry in Uzbekistan is the Home Stay. As Central Asia becomes a more popular destination, the people of the more rural areas are creating a type of Bed and Breakfast for visitors.
Imagine waking up in a pristine wilderness or a quiet, small village, where time seems to have stood still, the food is fresh and homegrown, and the bread is as warm as your host family's welcome! Days revolve around the rhythms of the harvest, of daybreak and sunset, and of shared meals. Add to this the fascination of another culture, friendly guides for daytime treks through beautiful, untouched landscapes, and invitations to participate in the preparation of food, crafts, and in local festivities and you will find yourself refreshed on every level.
Home Stays create international friendships that last a lifetime. Hosts in Central Asia are ensuring that their guests feel at home, installing up to date features like hot showers and flushable toilets, and many are learning English. But the charms of taking tea out doors on a traditional tapchan (raised platform and mattress), being surrounded by handmade suzani (embroidered wall hangings), and being part of the rhythms of life in a small village or unspoiled destination are still there. They are traditional pleasures that endure, reflecting a savoring of life that we can carry in our hearts long afterwards.