“Uigurien” (3 weeks)
We thought we would just travel to another place in China. A different landscape maybe, slightly different looking people probably, another accent or language for sure. But we didn’t expect what we found absolutely obvious after we had spent some time in Kashgar: That “Uigurien” is really, or better: should be a country on its own. *Uyghur country means Xingjiang province, China, which we very strongly feel deserves its own section.
We had booked a train from Chengdu to Kashgar which takes three days and three nights and was an incredible experience (The Uyghur train)! With a one night and day stop in Urumqi. We were overwhelmed by the difference of the culture while strolling around some markets. That impression got even more intense on the last part of the train ride (see below). In Kashgar we stayed right opposite the main mosque in the Pamir hostel. There’s an old part of the city made of sandstone which looks old and beautiful and maybe just like in the days of the silk road. Most famous in Kashgar is the big Sunday market – a gigantic area with shops and stall that sell everything but most of all: beautiful oriental fabrics. Outside the city on Sundays is also the big animal market, which was most fascinating for us. Mainly sheep but also some Yaks, cows, some single donkeys and horses were traded, men (only men there!) were discussing and walking with sheep on leashes.
Besides exploring Kashgar a little I have to admit I have spent a lot of time in the hostel there. I was just tired of all the hustle-bustle on the streets plus I could not bear people staring at me anymore. As an excuse I relaxed and prepared for our big upcoming bicycle trip and made friends with some of the great and interesting travelers in the hostel.