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The soldier in Issik Pakte who encountered Yann Mingard's caravan had seen so few occidental faces that he put them in jail for the night - one with purple walls and large green window frames - just for good measure. It turned out to be the most comfortable night's sleep of the trip. Walking 850 km in 34 days, he followed in the footsteps of explorers Ella Maillart and Peter Fleming, who travelled part of the Silk Road through Eastern Turkestan in 1935.