This journey was made as this section of the Silk Road was waking up to spring. The contrasts in landscape and culture couldn't have been more evident. Sophisticated Istanbul. The surrounding landscape dotted with a thousand minarets like so many pins in a map. The beautiful, bleak and austere Georgian mountains around Kazbegi where time seems to have stood still since the Russians left is starkly contrasted by the energetic modernizing in neighbouring Azerbaijan, bathed in a forested green landscape. Across a sunbaked, grey Caspian Sea are the windswept wastelands of Turkmenistan where architects are frenziedly building a surreal nirvana oasis at Ashgabat with wide boulevards which seem a million miles and a few centuries away from the Sunday market only a $4 taxi ride outside of the city limits where Turkmen still barter for camels, goats and sheep and you can find any part you need for a Mark II Cortina.
The one common thread which bound these disparate communities was the unyielding and overwhelming generosity and genuine friendship given toward travellers.
Thanks to them.....
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles not longer than one."