Tuesday, 9 March 2004 The Helena May Club, 35 Garden Road Drinks Reception 6.30pm Lecture 7.30 pm In 1999, four girls, friends from university, made a unique eightmonth, 5,000 mile journey by horse and camel along the entire Silk Road. They travelled through some of the least known and most beautiful regions of the world, all the way from Merv, on the western Iranian border of Turkmenistan, to Xian in China. This lecture tells the story of their journey. The road they took echoes with mighty names from the past Ghenghis Khan, Tamerlane, Marco Polo and the nineteenth century players of the Great Game of Empire between Britain and Russia. But in fact, no other travellers had completed this route on horse and camel since the Middle Ages. The journey took them through the Turkmen plains, by the orchards of Bukhara, the mosques of Samarkand, the remote passes of Kyrgyzstan, the windswept expanses of the Taklemakan desert, ending up in the Silk Road city of Xian. Alexandra and her friends, Sophia Cunningham, Victoria Westmacott and Lucy Kelaart, encountered extremes of climate and landscape and braved dangers and physical hardship. Guides led them in thick fogs over sheer mountain passes where the horses' legs wedged between boulders and their local support drivers got so violently drunk they had to lock them in a truck. Alexandra's lecture records these adventures and the extremes of landscape, climate and cuisine, the amazing people they met, the guides who helped or hindered them, and the friendships and tensions of the journey. Alexandra Tolstoy, a relative of the famous author, Leo Tolstoy, studied Russian at the University of Edinburgh. She has spent much of the last decade working, riding and travelling in Russia and Central Asia. Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$50 for Members, HK$100 for Members' guests and HK$150 for others.