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Two Irishmen wind up Silk Road odyssey in Shanghai

With mud and dust all over their bodies, two Irish adventurers arrived in Shanghai this morning, 292 days after they set off from Istanbul to complete a 16,000-kilometer Silk Road expedition.

The two Irish men, David Burns and Maghnus Collins, started from Istanbul on March 28 last year to cycle, run and raft along the Silk Road to reach Shanghai to support a charity program.

Burns told Shanghai Daily that they first cycled through the deserts of Turkey, Iran and Iraq, then traversed Pakistan and northern India to reach Katmandu of Nepal, also on bikes.

After reaching Katmandu, in early June, they embarked on the second part of their journey – a 1,000-kilometer marathon in 26 days through the Himalayas and across the Tibetan Plateau – to reach the source of the Yangtze River in Qinghai Province.

From there, they traveled on pack rafts down the river for about 6,300 kilometers to reach its mouth in Shanghai, said Burns.

"In our adventure, the most dangerous things are the rapids in the Yangtze River and wildlife in Qinghai," he said. "The bears, wolves and a lot of wildlife…when you see them, it is beautiful but quite scary."

"In a river section, I fell off into the water as my raft flipped upside down in strong torrents," said Collins.

Despite the difficulties, the duo showed their deep gratitude for the Chinese people, who offered them a helping hand in various ways.

"Chinese people were incredible for the whole journey as they offered us help everywhere," said Burns. "The fishermen gave us tea when we were cold and gave us food when we were hungry. We were well looked after."


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