My way home
Part II: Gansu (385 – 1047 km)
Part II: From Xi’an (Shanxi) to Lanzhou (Gansu)
In the hostel in that I was waiting for my bike to arrive, I met Frank, not only with the same age as me, but also with the same plan to cycle a part of the Silk Road. What a pleasant encounter! We figured out, that until Lanzhou, we had chosen exactly the same route and so we decided to try it together.
The following week was full of talks about everything and it felt like carrying a piece of my dear Taiwan with me. Whatever politics or policies may tell you, China and Taiwan have grown apart into two countries, with different lifestyles, values and attitudes towards freedom and the relation of the citizens to the government. Frank had also been to China before and together, we had many opportunities to recognize the far reaching changes China has undergone in recent years – the visible absurdities of an ever boosting economy, the ever-present propaganda, a reinforcing nationalism, just to name some.
After some kilometers of urbanized area, we got into more hilly terrain. The landscapes were vastly shaped by human impact, on the one hand scarred by huge holes and trenches as leftovers from former (coal) mining activities and on the other hand by cascades all over the hills, carved in the landscapes in an effort to gain flat space for agriculture. The land was arid and looked infertile to me. Amidst of this alien desert-like space, the cherry blossom was in full play – beautiful!
Gansu is also known for the many cave-houses built into vertical scarps in the landscape. The soil seems to support these caves very well and most of the caves look quite old. However, by now, few people seem to actually live in it so that most seemed to be used rather as store rooms for agricultural tools.
We reached Lanzhou after 662 km and seven days of cycling. From here, Frank was going to continue on the official Silk Road, while I was planning to take a detour through Qinghai province. However, I had to extend my visa in Lanzhou first, which made me stay there for another week.
Tour part II data:
- distance: 662 km
- time riding: 40 hours / 7 days