The first week in the year of the dragon has already passed. The new year was greeted with a lot, a whole lot of fireworks. For the Chinese the first week of the new year is an opportunity to visit family and friends and also the famous temple fairs, which are present all around Beijing.
Traveling has come to an end, the distance between Stuttgart in Southern Germany and Beijing in Eastern China has been brought behind. What remains are many memories of great experiences and encounters, not only with local people, but also with other travelers. Each of these encounters has made me advance in one way or another, has broadened my horizon. One thing at the very beginning: the 100 days are definitely too short for such a trip. I knew this from the very beginning, but still did not want to miss the experience.
I spent the last stretch of my trip on the luxury compartment of the night train from Xian to Beijing Xi (Beijing West). The two big differences between the hard and soft sleeper compartments on Chinese night trains are the fact that the soft sleepers have lockable doors and only consist of 4 berths compared to 6 in the hard sleeper compartments. The bed though is just as hard. Once I had arrived in Beijing a started the search for the needle in the haystack.
For the Chinese, Xian is the beginning of the silk road. For me the capital of the Shaanxi province was the end of it. Two things struck my eye in this city: there were loads of Western tourists, which were not present further west in China and the city has, despite the strive for renewal in China, still some character.
After days on the traditional silk road it was time for a short deviation. This time the deviation led to Xining the capital of the Qinghai province in central China. Even though Xining also is part of the silk road network, the reason to visit the city was the multicultural society and the possibility to get a first grasp on Tibet. Thus far the idea…