BERLIN, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- "China has been an attractive new continent in my imagination. But after arriving in Beijing through eight countries by bike last year, I found it more magical than what I expected," German youth Thomas Schroeder told an audience in Berlin on Wednesday evening.
Thomas, 32, comes from the little town of Gnoien in northeast Germany and works as an organizer of local running matches. Last year, he decided to visit Beijing, the city which has been frequently shown on TV for its history, rich culture and modernization.
But he decided to make the journey on a bicycle. With two pieces of luggage weighing 60 kg, a credit card and some cash, his journey kicked off on April 26 last year.
Along the first half of the journey, there were not only beautiful and exotic landscapes, but also physical challenge and different emergencies.
"Even though I faced fever, extreme whether, and a lack of water in depopulated zones, it did not change my will to ride a bicycle to Beijing," Thomas said.
On the 85th day of the journey, Thomas arrived at the border between China and Kyrgyzstan.
The first "super giant city" Thomas entered in his words was Kashgar in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. "New buildings were interwoven with old ones, the city was clean. You could hear beautiful music and see genuine people. I felt like I was in a new world," he said.
But a following incident almost made Thomas leave China. In Zhangye city in China's northwestern Gansu Province, he found his visa was about to expire. Luckily, with help of the local police, Thomas finally got the visa renewal to finish his journey.
"The more eastward I went, the more people I saw, also the more prosperous and diversified the landscapes turned out," Thomas said.
What touched him most were the friendly and helpful Chinese people he met. "There was a farmer family who received me when it rained outside and motorcyclist who pulled my bike with a rope when I could not make it in an uphill road," he recalled.
Thomas finally arrived in Beijing on Sept. 18 in the same year. When his picture at Tian'anmen square, the landmark spot in central Beijing, was shown on the screen to the audience, applause and cheering for his accomplishment were heard at the scene.
"From the old Great Wall to metropolitan Beijing, I witnessed the great changes of China," Thomas said, adding he will definitely go back to visit China with his family in future, "to better know this beautiful and friendly country." Enditem