Inspired by the surprises thrown up in our weekly A great little neighbourhood I know line, we asked writers and wanderers to share their best disclosure of the year
Dunhuang , Gansu Province, China
Peter Frankopan, historian and author
The world-wide of 2016 is not totally fate and desolation. In Asia, things are changing rapidly as the Silk Roads rise again. In September, I was in north-west China, in Dunhuang, between the Gobi and the Taklamakan deserts, on the south Silk road. The metropoli is an oasis, the last stop, extending west, before virtually 1,000 km of sand, and near the Mogao caves, a Buddhist complex founded in the fourth century.
My favourite smudge is in the desert, above crescent-shaped Yueyaquan lake. The good ideas are at dawn from the top of a series of metal ladders pinned into the steep dunes. As you look down to the lake and city, you feel the hot and oppression of the desert behind you. Deciding to thoughts west required finding, commitment and firmnes. As brand-new bonds are knitted across Asia, it difficult not to feel awed by how easy it is to travel today and how hard it formerly was. It feels like the present working convene the past, and touching against the future.
Peter Frankopans The Silk road: A New History of the World is published by Bloomsbury . To ordering a imitation for 24.60 including UK p& p see the guardian bookshop
Six Depot Roastery and Cafe , West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, US
Mark Vanhoenacker, captain and generator