Whacky Wagah (Part 2: The Closing Ceremony)

Another first for our trip - a visit to a border without actually crossing it. We had come for the infamous closing ceremony. Every evening the crowds gather to watch the closing of the border between India and Pakistan. Walking from the car park to the border felt like walking into the stadium of a premier league football match. People were selling Indian flag hats, Indian flag fans, Indian flag watches and Indian flags themselves. If you didn't want to buy memorabilia with the Indian flag on it, you could have the flag painted on your face instead.

Wacky Wagah (Part 1: Crossing the border)

With only a few days before our Pakistan visa expired, it was time to say goodbye. Unfortunately for India, our arrival into the country did not provide a great example of the country or its people. Writing this several weeks later, I'm afraid to say that it set the scene for what was to come.

A short tour of Lahore

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.

A cold night in the mountains

It was early afternoon by the time we set off for Skardu. At just under 2500 metres, the city is the gateway to the 'eight-thousander' peaks - K2, the Gasherbrums, Broad Peak, and the Trango Towers. Busy, and touristy, it is a popular starting point for multiple mountain treks. We did not have enough time left in Pakistan for a trek, but wanted to drive there (and then back to Gilgit via Deosai National Park) purely to enjoy the journey and the scenery.

A big bag of plums

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.

Welcome to Pakistan

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.

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