Golden showers dating

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We later visit the sanctuary and tomb of the famous Soufi, Shah Nematollah Vali, dating back to the Mongol Era. An early morning arrival provides us with the whole day to explore the city of Mashhad, which is home to the Imam Reza Holy Shrine, the largest mosque in the world in terms of its dimension, followed by a tour of the Nader Shah Museum.

Lunch is followed by a visit to the Tomb of Ferdowsi, the father of Persian Literature who lived over 1,000 years ago. Transfer to the ancient remains of Merv, once an important stopping point on the Silk Road.

From the climb through the Ural mountains (the boundary between Europe and Asia), to the wide open steppes and broad rivers, travelling on the Trans-Siberian is the best way to absorb the vastness and grandeur of the world's largest country.

The Golden Eagle travels through Russia, Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and more.

Located in the middle of the Kara Kum desert where the area is rich in natural gas, the 70 metre-wide crater is known by the locals as the ‘Door to Hell’ and has been burning for over 40 years. It rises out of the desert to reveal a wealth of impressive architecture. Like Khiva, UNESCO sponsored the renovation of much of the city for its 2,500th anniversary in 1999.

Stepping back in time, we discover its impressive mosques, madrassas, bazaars and minarets within Khiva’s ancient walls. The highlight of this wonderful tour is a visit to The Ark, a fortified residence of the Emirs of Bukhara – the despotic and ruthless leaders who ruled until Soviet times.

Step 2Peel potatoes and cut into evenly sized cubes.

In a large bowl, toss cubes with olive oil until coated and season with salt.

Add rosemary and as many garlic cloves as you want.

The extravagant fountains, golden domes and towering modern buildings appear strangely incongruous in this desert setting.

The Golden Eagle makes a brief scheduled stop at Ichoguz, where we have the option to leave the train and make a short journey to Darvaza’s famous burning gas crater, a spectacular sight best seen at night. From Urgench travel to the ancient city of Khiva, founded 2,500 years ago, and one of the Silk Road’s most important trading posts as it lies at the crossroads of the routes between Mongolia, Russia, China and Persia.

Step 3Place potatoes on two rimmed cookie sheets so they’re not too crowded. After ten minutes, scrape sheets with a metal spatula and flip potatoes. Then shake sheets aggressively every 10 minutes till potatoes are done, which should take about 40 minutes total, depending on how big you cut them.

They’ll be golden brown and smell really, really good.

The panoramic windows ensure the best views of the passing countryside, whilst enjoying delicious cuisine.

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