The Silk Road is a popular stretch for backpackers, ending in Xian passing through dozens of towns and villages along the way. Ürümqi and Kashgar are on this stretch, Kashgar being the last (or first, depending on the direction) Chinese city of the Silk Route before the Middle East. I would visit only a few cities of this historic route.
The Silk Road was a series of interconnected routes through Asia, used in the silk trade between the Far East and Europe. They were transported by caravans and ocean vessels that connected the continents commercially, probably established from the 8th century BC – the ancient peoples of the Sahara had domestic animals from Asia – which were fundamental to the exchanges between these continents until the discovery of the maritime path to India. It connected Chang An (now Xian) in China to Antioch in Asia Minor, as well as to other locations. His influence expanded to Korea and Japan. It formed the largest commercial network in the Ancient World.
The Silk Road is named, obviously due to silk, an expensive product whose manufacturing knowledge was kept secret under penalty of death by the ancient Chinese. The silk extracted from the silkworm, the ancients thought it was extracted from some leaf, was used as garments by kings and madams in Rome.
In the morning we had a little meeting in our train cabin, at lunch we went to the food cabin, which was no big deal, the English people ordered the dishes which I did not enjoy very much. It was actually my only meal on the train, because I avoided eating so I wouldn’t have to use the train toilet. Later would find out that white people in general do not have good taste for Chinese food.
The people on the train called me a “guide” because as I was the only Asian in the group which led them to conclude I was a tour guide of the white tourists. In fact, since some of them had lived in China for years, they spoke Mandarin better than I did. When Craig, the Welshman, passed a child she exclaimed in Chinese: “Uauuu, what big eyes he has!!!”. Craig was spending his vacation here and is the cousin of Ioan Gruffudd, the actor who played Elastic Man in the film “Fantastic Four”, but kept no resemblance to the actor, since he is short.
The endless journey passed through deserts, mountains, plantations, towns and cities.