An account of a journey made by foot and camel across the desolate Taklamakan Desert and along the Silk Route through Xinjiang to the Jade Gate and thence to Lhasa. Throughout his 8000 mile journey, the author provides an insight into lifestyles which have changed little since Marco Polo's time.
Adventure on the Old Silk Road: From Venice to the Yellow Sea by John Pilkington
Sandstorms, hurricanes and wailing demons are among the hazards reported by those who have survived a crossing of the Taklamakan Desert, the route taken by traders for 2000 years. John Pilkington was among the first to follow this route when it again became possible in the 1980s. Marco Polo reported attacks by brigands; the modern adventurer is plagued by policemen, army patrols and immigration officers. The author was detained twice in Turkey, rebuffed by Syria and war-torn Iran and taken in for his own safety by Baluchistan police. Entering China, he had a close encounter with guards near the Soviet border, but friendly Kirghiz nomads helped him onwards across the Pamir Mountains - the "Roof of the World". Throughout his 8000 mile journey, John Pilkington was aided by local people and "The Road to Tartary" provides an insight into lifestyles which have changed little since Marco Polo's time. John Pilkington is also the author of "Into Thin Air", an account of his 500 mile walk in Nepal in 1982.