Dunhuang (Chinese: 敦煌; pinyin: Dūnhuán) was a key destination of one of the many Silk Road routes. It is more northern than some others and the hostile environment is not the mountains like in the south, rather it is the desert. Hot yes, but also frigid in the winter. Being that it is dry it preserved some of the most complete Chinese Buddhist text ever found. They were found in the Mogao caves by a “laowai” or foreign archeologists that had been buried in a cave.
I arrived in a hot summer month and to my relief the residents were gathered for their daily Buddhist morning prayer followed by lunch. They still follow the old traditions of feeding guests as was accustomed for thousands of years in China. After a rest and a blessing by the monks I continued my journey by camel and foot crossing the dessert… by which I mean a camel ride an exhausting dune climb before I continued by train for Central Asia.