27.05.2008 - 28.05.2008 28 °C
Wind erosion creates bizarre landforms
Uyghur graveyard. 1906 or 2008 - difficult to tell the difference
180 km and two more days to go until Kashgar. This part of the world's most populous country is almost completely uninhabited, but there are some small settlements consisting of low one-storey mudbrick buildings. Other signs of a cultural landscape are the Muslim graveyards with their burial mounds and mausoleums. Everything looks really like on Mannerheim's photos from 1906.
The road is in excellent condition, practically no private vehicles but every now and then a truck that "helps" lazy cyclists - like me - up the still frequent uphills by allowing to hook on. Only 50 km before Kashgar we descend below the 2000 m line and the scenery turns green, agricultural and populated.
The final day of travelling is thus a fast one, the last twenty kilometres on a six-lane motorway that connects China's westernmost city with the rest of the country.
After an adventurous and exhausting eight days in the mountains we are there. Checking in at Hotel Seman, located in the former Russian consulate, where also Mannerheim stayed after his three month expedition on the same route from Osh. It takes us a while to figure out, when and where we were the previous time in a place with a hot shower - it must have been weeks ago...
Like in Helsinki, all sign-posting is in two languages. But where to go?
For GPS and photos between Uluggchat and Kashgar: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=25118
To see the entire route from Osh to Kashgar, go to: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=25841