03.06.2007 - 25.06.2007 -17 °C
The Khyber Pass was an interesting day trip from Peshawar. The part of Pakistan which borders Afghanistan is known as the Tribal Area and is fully autonomous. This region is beyond Pakistani law and permission has to be sought from the tribal leaders before entering. We drove through the pass to be within sight of the border post and Afghanistan beyond.
The next leg of the trip involved something we usually hope to avoid - doubling back along the same road. For the Karakoram Highway it was well worth it. The road is cut into solid rock along most of its length through the gorge and surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery. Staying in Karimabad, a trip by jeep to a nearby glacier was my highlight. After following the highway back down, we arrived in Islamabad during a heatwave which was making the locals suffer, never mind us.
Standing on a glacier near Karimabad
The meeting point of the Himalaya, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush
Meeting of the Indus and Gilgit rivers
India, while still hot, feels like a relief after Pakistan. At the border we saw the bizarre closing ceremony, where the guards from each side face each other off. The flags are lowered in unison, while crowds on both sides chant nationalistic slogans. Delhi provided a welcome opportunity to indulge in some Western luxuries, especially fast food and shopping. The Taj Mahal has been the highlight of India for everyone. It has a captivating quality and an astonishing level of detail. The changing colour of the marble as the sun rises and sets is endlessly facinating.