on the road to Kashgar, crossing Xinjiang Province on a bike


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Asia » China » Xinjiang » Aksu
July 28th 2013
Published: July 28th 2013
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I am in Kashi (Kashgar)! Kashi is the last big town on my way out of China. From here people can go on to Pakistan, Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan. Kashgar is famous for being the heart of the Uyghur community and for its old quarter around a big mosque and a very colorful Muslim market. I have been dreaming of this place for years, imagining what it would be like to wander around the old Uyghur town. I imagined planning my trip through Central Asia at the terrace of a tea house while snacking on raisins and dates… And here I am finally! And it’s been quite a ride to get here…

Urumuqi – Kuerle – Kuqa – Akesu - Kashgar = 1500km.

It took me 16 days to get to Kashgar. I crossed Xinjiang Province, 1/6th of the Chinese land. I rode through mountains, grasslands, desert. I rode on bumpy roads, on the expressway. I went up to 4280m. I spent 10 nights in my tent. I slept behind sand dunes. I tried to hide my tent behind small bushes or in windy tunnels under the expressway… (windy!). I slept along pretty rivers, in dusty fields, and even in
on the wayon the wayon the way

Xinjiang 2013
a peaceful orchard. I faced strong headwind, terrible side wind that pushed me towards the trucks on the expressway. I ate a lot of watermelon by the road and lots of dust too... I drank all kinds of energy drinks and sodas, gallons of water. I got a flat tire; I broke a spoke on my back wheel. I went through all kinds of feelings from total happiness to anger and even despair on a few occasions. I faced the physical and mental challenges the distance, the altitude and the weather presented. I do feel stronger than I used to be. I feel happy to be here on this adventure. I must admit I am a little anxious about my next challenge: the Pamir Mountains. Tajikistan, here I come!

Je suis à Kashgar, la ville la plus a l’ouest du Xinjiang qui donne accès au Kyrgyzstan, au Tadjikistan ou au Pakistan. Kashgar était un lieu important sur la route de la soie puisqu’elle est située aux confins du désert du Taklamakan et permettait aux voyageurs de faire une pause avant d’entrer en Asie Centrale. J’ai rêvé de cet endroit tellement de fois ces dernières années alors que j’imaginais mon voyage à vélo de la Chine à la Turquie. Je me voyais assis à une terrasse d’une maison de the, planifiant mon itinéraire vers l’ouest en grignotant des raisins secs et des dates. Et maintenant j’y suis ! Assis sur le toit de mon auberge, au beau milieu du vieux quartier Ouighour, avec l’appel a la prière en fond sonore et la grande mosquée au loin… La belle vie, la vraie vie !

J’ai donc parcouru près de 1500km depuis Urumuqi. Ce fut difficile mais j’en ai pris plein les yeux ! J’ai traversé le désert ; j’ai découvert de nouveaux canyons, de très belles montagnes. J’ai planté ma tente 10 fois, près de jolies rivières a l’eau claire et bleue, mais aussi derrière des dunes, dans un verger, dans des champs de poussière… j’ai tenté de me cacher (pour ne pas être dérangé) derrière de petits buissons du désert ou dans un tunnel (utilisé en cas d’inondation) sous la route. J’ai dévoré des melons et des pastèques au bord de la route. J’ai aussi bouffé beaucoup de poussière. J’ai bu des dizaines de litres d’eau et des sodas en tout genre, des boissons énergétiques et même l’eau des
outside Akesuoutside Akesuoutside Akesu

sand and mountains
rivières. Je suis passé du bonheur a la colère, de la souffrance a la tranquillité. J’ai pensé abandonner ; j’ai voulu mettre des coups de pieds à mon velo et le jeter sous un camion… Mais quelle satisfaction, quel plaisir de rouler à coté de montagnes super colorées, de voir la surprise des bergers et des enfants au bord de la route quand je leurs fais signe de me suivre, et puis l’immensité du désert, les grands espaces…

A plus ! Je passe la frontière le 2 aout pour 1 jour au Kirgyzstan avant de bifurquer sud pour un mois au Tadjikistan. A bientôt !


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sand dunes sand dunes
sand dunes

on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert
Uyghur trucker Uyghur trucker
Uyghur trucker

we were both enjoying a break under a bridge, looking for shade. We shared a watermelon
on my way to Akesuon my way to Akesu
on my way to Akesu

I set up my tent in this tunnel and then the wind picked up and it was crazy so I moved out, next to the expressway
riding through the desertriding through the desert
riding through the desert

hot hot hot and windy...
not an easy ridenot an easy ride
not an easy ride

that @#$%^ wind!
outside Akesuoutside Akesu
outside Akesu

suddenly the desert was replaced by green fields and I found a place in an orchard


29th July 2013
what a smile!

Adorable! :)
31st July 2013

China
We really enjoyed reading your blogs and following your adventure.
31st July 2013

xie xie!
always nice to hear this
31st July 2013
This time I found the hole!

Love this photo!
Hate that you had trouble but it is great to document it.
31st July 2013
This time I found the hole!

Love this photo!
Hate that you had trouble but it is great to document it.
31st July 2013

desert road
The desert and trip on the bike associates with dehydration. So is it good planning or water can be found without problem there? Wished for more pics of Kashgar, though. Challenging travel, no doubt. looking forward to read more
31st July 2013

kashgar
there will be a couple of posts on Kasghar... in a few days, few weeks...

Tot: 2.522s; Tpl: 0.134s; cc: 12; qc: 39; dbt: 0.0651s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 3; ; mem: 1.4mb