From Sayram Lake we attempted to wait for a bus heading to Urumqi to stop on the highway to pick us up. This didn’t work since not many buses pass by in the morning so we took a ride with a shared minivan (30 Yuan each) to the closest town about 30min back. Since the day was so nice and we were back tracking we passed by the stunning scenery of mountains, bridges and tunnels again. It turned out that backtracking was a good idea because the driver decided to show us some lavender fields that were being harvested. The smell was wonderful. The driver and other passengers said the honey in this region was particularly fine and I wish I could have bought some jars home!
We finally caught a bus heading to Urumqi at 1pm. The bus was very empty and for some reason in my head I thought the ride would only take 5-6 hours, it took 10. The province of Xinjiang is huge and mostly barren. After passing through Sayram lake again the landscape turned into a wasteland.
Through our drive in Xinjiang, Qinghai and Gansu we drove past giant projects of new apartment complexes that could house 15,000+ each. All of them were empty, most with no windows installed and located in very barren landscapes in the middle of nowhere. Maybe one day someone will want to live there.
We got to Urumqi late at night and found our hostel. The next day I was planning on going to the museum which is supposedly pretty good and full of Silk Road info but the bus we wanted was leaving way earlier than what the guide book said so off we went, leaving Urumqi after having only eaten so noodles, and visited Carrefour !