Okay, the journey only took in parts of the Silk Road but I couldn't think of a better name for the journey as a whole! When I started planning the trip I was going to attempt to fly to Beijing, and then make it back to the UK overland. Events and timing got the better of me.
Problem 1. The Karakorm Highway that would get me from Pakistan into China and then onward into Kazakhstan could be closed due to snow. I'd also need a Multi Entry Chinese Visa
Problem 2. The direct route into Kyrgyzstan only opens from June to September.
So A flight from New Delhi into Almaty seemed to solve that issue.
Problem 3. To get between Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and Tashkent (Uzbekistan) means travelling through Kazakhstan. That would mean a Multi Entry Kazahk visa, and the regulations for that are much tougher than for a single entry.
So A flight from Bishkek into Tashkent seemed to solve that issue, and three flights is pretty good since it's not something I really enjoy.
So that was that, the route was fixed.
China -> Tibet -> Nepal -> India (flight to) Kazakhstan -> Kyrgyzstan (flight to) Uzbekistan -> Turkmenistan -> Iran -> Azerbaijan -> Georgia -> Armenia -> Turkey -> Bulgaria -> Romania -> Hungary -> Austria -> Germany -> Belgium -> UK
Easy peasy. I decided to leave the UK in mid March, and I gave myself 11 weeks, so took some unpaid leave from work (where most people thought I was completely bonkers).
From January onwards my passport was away in different embassies in London getting visa stamps (it has a great collection now, and it even made the UK immigration guy in Brussles Eurostar stop and look twice!). I got the last visa with two weeks to spare.
Problem 4. Two days before I left riots broke out in Tibet, and the Chinese authorities closed the border to Westeners. Tibet was 'out', and Hong Kong was 'in' with a flight from Hong Kong into Kathmandu. 'Events dear boy, events' as Harold Macmillan was attributed as saying..