Escaping the lab on the Silk Road

This summer I managed to steal away from the lab to fulfill my childhood dream of driving from Europe to India. The idea that a culture so exotic and different than ours is nevertheless part of the same landmass and people like Alexander the Great, Ibn Battuta, and Marco Polo had managed to walk to Asia always held a deep fascination with me. When I was young my parents took me to several Soviet Republics in Central Asia, and later I did manage to backpack through India with a friend, but traveling overland to see how the rolling hills of Tuscany might transform into the perfumed bazaars of India was still at the top of my ‘to do’ list. We departed June 15 from Rome in an old VW camper – me, my wife, and our three children – and arrived in Mumbai on August 20, nearly three months on the Silk Road. I still can’t quite believe we did it, my head is still swimming with the images and sounds and smells. You can find a video/slideshow of the trip here and photos with commentary here.

Camping in the Pamir Mountains – Kyrgystan

 

 

Author: Cornelius Gross

Neurobiologist interested in the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the control of instinctive behavior associated with defense, reproduction, and ingestion; EMBL Group Leader since 2003, Senior Scientist & Deputy Head of Unit since 2009, postdoc with Rene Hen at Columbia University, PhD with William McGinnis at Yale University 1995

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