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.
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.
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.
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.
Our route began in Uzbekistan's capital city, Tashkent, and then followed the old silk road to three infamous cities: Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva.
Suddenly Chris (who is not one to jump or easily scare when it comes to critters) leapt off the ground, grabbed me and pointed down. A huge bright yellow and green, part scorpion part spider, horns poised, ready to kill, was making its way towards us at the speed of light.