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Touratech Travel Time 03_2011_en

132 2011 as sheep, goats, yaks and villagers. We discovered lakes clear as crystal, mountains of all colours, the magnifi- cent tundra as well as a glacier, with its tongue stretching nearly to the road. At the end of the tarmac road we reached a place with prayer flags blowing in the breeze. These flags symbolise a holy place, which is – in a spiritual sense - pure. The flags can be of five different colours, each repre- senting one of the elements. Blue is for water, white for space, red for fire, green for air, and yellow for earth. However, the influences of other cultures can be seen everywhere and threaten Tibetian lifestyle. Concrete buildings, tiled roofs and Eastern life- style are gradually changing the culture. With the aid of our Tibetian coor- dinator Migma and our translator Lili we passed the Chinese military check- point. Following the state road S307 we continued to a height of 4799 me- tres and were overwhelmed by the beauty of the Yamdrok YumTso lake. Coloured deep blue, a truly breath- taking panorama. A winding gravel track then took us south to the Mount Everest base camp at 5200 metres. From then on the route was down- hill. At 1800 metres we reached ZhangMu, a city near the border to Nepal. Dense vegetation grew ram- pant along the narrow track which clung to the cliffsides. Cold water splashed from the cliffs, drops wetting our faces – a welcome refreshment for the remaining travel. Then we had some bad news: no entry permits for Nepal. Thus, we were unable to visit the holy mountain Kailash, which shortened our tour by two weeks. We decided to ride back along state road G317 from Tibet to the prov- ince of Sichuan, but a landslide forced us to change our route. And we faced the same problem on the way from Sichuan to Yunnan. We had an arduous12.989 kilo- metre long motorcycle tour behind us when we arrived back in Bangkok. The ordeal is soon forgotten, what remains are memories of a fantastic country.