The travel bug has bitten Team Lipstick again and after having completed a route going North in 2011 and a route going South in 2014 they decided this time to go West .
Inspired by Marco Polo the great adventurer who traveled from Europe to Asia -dating 1271 to 1295-it was decided to follow his footsteps on this journey which is known as the Silk Road.
The main travelers of the Silk Road at that time were merchants who organized various caravans to cross the Gobi Deserts. Overcoming all kinds of hardships, they transported goods for sale between China and the West to gain great profit. Some religious disciples missionized their faith through this road. From nobles to beggars and prisoners, all kinds of people once had gone to their destinations using this world-famous Silk Road along the edges of the Gobi desert.
Marco Polo describes the Gobi desert as follows:
This desert is reported to be so long that it would take a year to go from end to end; and at the narrowest point it takes a month to cross it. It consists entirely of mountains and sand and valleys. There is nothing at all to eat
Team Lipstick’s basic itinerary will be to start from Hong Kong in China going up the Chinese East Coast and then from Beijing cross China to its most eastern border going through the Gobi desert.
They would then go through all the “Stans” likeKirgizstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan before arriving in Iran.
Again Iran will be crossed from its most eastern Border to the north western Border with Turkey after which they will make their way through Bulgaria , Romania ,Hungary Austria ,
Czech Republic and finally back to Freudenstadt in Germany.
All countries to be crossed at one stage formed part of the Silk Road
A lot of preparation had to take place again especially for the various visas and again MSD VISAPAK in Johannesburg assisted the team in obtaining all visa’s in time.
China will not allow any foreigner to self-drive through the country and requires that all foreigners are accompanied by a guide and this was arranged through NAVO Tours in Chengdu (China). This might be a great help in a country where our alphabet is foreign and where it will be difficult to communicate especially in the more rural areas where people’s English will be as bad as Andre’s and Willy’s Chinese
On 11th April Lipstick was sent off in a container going on its way to Shekou a harbour to the North of Honk Kong .
The plan is that Willy will arrive in Hong Kong on 9th June 2016 from Germany and Andre will arrive on the same day from Dubai where he will be on a short visit with his sons and grandson.
Due to the political situation in the past there were some problems crossing through Iran but with the recent lifting of sanctions and the nuclear problems having been solved the team foresees no major issues – although the northern Iraq / Turkish border being very close to the Iranian border needs to be watched due to the current instability caused by the ISS.
The trip will pose some challenges and surprises and Team Lipstick is looking forward again to meet different cultures and make new friends…