During October 2011 I traveled to southern China for a short tour of Guanxi. Guanxi lies some ten hours by train from Hong Kong and features stunning sceneries that attract Chinese tourists and foreigners alike. Famous mainly for karst landscapes around Yangshuo and the beautiful countryside, the region is also particularly interesting for its historic villages and minorities.
Today I was browsing mountain biking videos and stumbled upon this one about a great cycling adventure. 3 months and 4500 kilometers across Tibet from Kashgar (Xinjiang) to Dali (Yunnan). I really enjoyed the challenges, the stunning views and above all the intimate contact with the land and people.
After Lanzhou and a glimpse of Tibet in Xiahe, the trip continued through the Hexi Corridor: historically, the strategic passage to get into China from central Asia. In Jiayuguan I visited the renovated fort that once was one of the main outposts of the eastern part of the Great Wall. Then, with a detour to Dunhuang, I got a look at the Taklimakan Desert and visited the famous Mogao Caves with yet again numerous carved and painted buddhas.
After visiting Beijing and its surroundings, I started heading west and experienced the first of a long series of travels by train which characterized the whole trip. Traveling by train in China is horrible and at the same time fascinating. It all begins entering a wonderfully crowded station in which about one thousand men, women and children of all kinds and with all sort of luggage want to get on the train… your train!
This summer I traveled along the entire Chinese section of the Silk Road. My interest started some years ago after reading Michael Yamashita’s amazing “Marco Polo: A Photographer’s Journey” (published by White Star). In the book, the famous National Geographic’s photographer brings to life the legendary expedition of the 13th-century Venetian merchant to Cathay (China), first crossing central Asia and than back through the South-East and India.
Kashgar was once the main crossroads of central Asia. Although rapidly changing, the charm is still there: especially in the old town, the Livestock Market…