Before the highway replaced the old flagstone road, a trip along the Road to Shu was a journey not soon forgotten. The 8th century poets Li Bai and Du Fu wrote vividly of its perils. The Jesuits living in China during the 17th century not only singled out the Road to Shu as one of the most amazing examples of Chinese road construction, they also were the first to put it on a map in the Novus Atlas Sinensis, published in Amsterdam in 1655 (left bottom). But in many ways the most interesting descriptions of the old road are those of the six Westerners who traveled it between 1868 and 1943 who left accounts of what it was like to walk one of the great flagstone roads of China just as its two-thousand-year history was drawing to a close. One of them, Isabella Bishop, took the only early (1896) photographs of the road that I know of (below and see also her excerpt).