Authors note: A forewarning - this is a pretty negative account about India. Unfortunately for us, we had very few enjoyable moments during our time there. Our experience is our own, and this account is formed entirely of my own opinions. Many many people visit India and absolutely fall in love with it. It just wasn't for us.
The following few blogs about our time in India have been a long time coming - it has been seven weeks since my last update, and nearly four months since these events occurred. This is quite simply because it has taken this long to be ready to write about our time there; the hardest part of the trip so far, and by far the worst experiences in our travelling lives. When deciding to document our travels, we wanted to include the good and the bad rather than paint a perfect picture of our overlanding lifestyle. But when it comes down to actually doing that, its quite difficult! Hopefully I am writing them now, long enough after it all happened that I am able to look back and remember the good experiences as well as the bad. It wasn't all doom and gloom!
Arriving back at the home-stay, we'd had a brilliant day. Yet another highlight to add to our ever growing list, and yet another amazing experience in Pakistan.
Our day started in a gorgeous wild camping spot, in the valley, not too far from the Hunza river. From the top of the hill came three teenage boys, making their way down the steep mountainside with expertise rivalled only by mountain goats. They came carrying a huge carrier bag of plums. Our breakfast.
The Khunjerab pass is at 4700 metres, and, like in China, the customs and immigration offices are further down the road at a lower altitude. The 55 mile drive there was absolutely stunning. The road was in great condition, and we were surrounded by the breathtaking Karakorum mountains. We made multiple stops for photos, although they did not do the sights justice. It made our trials and tribulations in China completely worth it.
As the title suggests, this is the third part of the (not so) thrilling and very long tale of our 5 day trip through China in our British registered car. The trilogy covers our experience of visiting China, from the starting point of researching tour operators, to the end point of exiting China and entering Pakistan.
Our route began in Uzbekistan's capital city, Tashkent, and then followed the old silk road to three infamous cities: Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva.
We hit the road - the only road that we would be driving on for the next 1200 miles. As soon as we left Uralsk, it was a vast mass of nothingness. Completely flat, we had a 360 degree view of miles upon miles of dry, partly sandy, partly grassy land. After 180 miles of exactly the same view, we pulled off of the road into an old quarry that offered us a hidden place to camp with some protection from the mild wind.
Despite being nearly 1000 miles, our journey through Russia (from Ukraine to Kazakhstan) was more or less a straight easterly line on more or less the same road. For most of the journey all we could see in any direction was a panoramic of fields stretching out to the horizon. Each day Chris would say "that's the biggest field I've seen in my life", only to find a bigger one a few miles down the road.