The view leaving Urumqi: goodbye, China!! See you in 7 weeks...
Carpet shop... Roaring trade...
The Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar.
After rioting and terrorist bombings killed 31 people in 2014, we found security extremely thorough entering all locations (including bag scanning even in entry to our hotel). The Grand Bazaar reputedly saw 100,000 people shopping there on a daily basis until recent years, but we found it eerily quiet. No one hassled us to buy anything which came as a reverse culture shock after the last 4 years in Asia!
Islamic architecture in Urumqi
Real blue skies, in a Chinese city!!!!!! View from our hotel.
3 July 2016
Arrived in Urumqi Diwopu airport.
Signs are interestingly in 4 languages: Chinese, English, Arabic and Russian. And some other 'interesting' signage / advertisements in our hotel...
Starting the journey with very apt Percy Pigs
And so we are off... We left Wujin for Nanjing Lukou airport in a torrential Jiangsu summer downpour, heading for the dry deserts of Xinjiang and the start of our Silk Road trip.
In May we visited the historical starting point of the Silk Road: Xi'an. Now we are picking up our journey through Xinjiang province and Urumqi, flying from there to Almaty in Kazakhstan, then driving across the border to Kyrgyzstan's metropolis of Bishkek, the serenity of Lake Song-Köl and the Tian Shan mountains. We then head to Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, and up into the Fan Mountains, driving north through the finger of Tajikistan that is sandwiched between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan for our final passport stamp of the trip. In Tashkent we will end our G-Adventures tour and go it alone by train to Samarkand and Bukhara, returning to Tashkent for our flight to Manchester on 22nd July. UK, see you in 19 days and 5 countries down the road!