Cycling The Silk Road In China – The road less cycled from Aksu to Kashgar


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Every day of our trip has been packed with so much adventure.

When Jules asked me this morning: “Are you ready for another day of fun and adventure?”
I have to admit that I was not expecting much…. I was expecting another cycling day going through the hot desert and not much more….

Who knew that by the end of the day, I would see some amazing scenery and that we would get detained by the police…..

The map showed two options, the National road, marked as a red line, and a narrow route marked as a thin white line with only two towns placed on it, Wushi and Akqi.

While researching which road to take, Jules came upon a blog of a woman who took the narrow remote road before.
She said that the National road is just a boring road through the shadeless desert, while the longer alternate road, takes you through high grassland, through mountains and adobe villages, filled with Kyrgis people, trees, farms, land filled with wild donkeys, free roaming camels, herds of sheep and goats.

We decided to take this road.
We left Aksu after breakfast and started cycling when the road met the river.
Initially, the land felt dry with a river to our right and the mountains to our left.

A few Kilometers down the road, we were stopped by a police check point, but instead of waving us through, as they did everywhere else, the police asked for our passports.

They took their time registering our passports and our visa numbers.
They held us for twenty minutes, until Jason and Joe arrived with our support vehicle.
Jason explain our trip, and was told that because this road runs so close to the border with Kyrgyzstan, the area is very “sensitive” and foreigners are not allowed through.

Jason pleaded on our behalf, and we were allowed to cycle through, if we and Jason, promise to register again in the next town of Wushi.

We cycle through the desert.
To break the monotony of hot days of cycling, we started photographing the many colors and different variety of desert flowers growing along the path.

After awhile, the road was lined with tiny villages and planted with mature poplar trees, which provided shade and added beauty to the landscape.

I remember being engulfed with a sense of serenity and inner peace…. A sense of perfection….or rural harmony…..enhanced by the cry of a distant donkey, the song of a rooster, the scent of the trees, and the beauty of the people.

The Kyrgis people look and dress very different from the Uyghur people.
We saw them riding donkey or horse carts, standing by their homes, making bagels and fresh bread sprinkled with sesame.

More about how we got detained in the next post…..

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