The Varzob valley is the valley of the Varzob. Now you know.
Okay, the Varzob is a river coming down from the heights of the Hissor range which is north of Dushanbe. Really close, actually, only about 20km away. It's mostly melting glacier and snow water, ice cold and bright green with silt. It flows down into Dushanbe, and feeds an aqueduct that supplies the city with water.
Along the river are a few artificial lakes and dozens of restaurants. A few of those offer the additional lure of a swimming pool. Sunday, we joined a few of Doug's colleagues on an outing to such a restaurant.
The drive was scenic and short, only about 40 minutes to get there. Noticeably cooler and with a nice breeze, it was a pleasant change to stifling hot Dushanbe. The kids couldn't wait to get into the water - and that's basically all they did all day long. There were ball games of various sorts but mostly, the kids jumped into the pool from a big rock that served as a jumping board. Besides David, who had an out-of-sorts day and mainly sat in the tapchan and read Lord of the Rings.
What is a tapchan? Oh, right. See those little green houses in the background? They are basically raised platforms with a low table in the middle and lots of cushions around, and curtains for privacy. Let me tell you, there are worse things than lying in a tapchan, slurping tea, reading, and watching the kids enjoying themselves, firmly ignoring the electrical line strung smack over the pool. I'm sure those lights are romantic at night.
It was a very pleasant outing. Recommended.