Kabul - Peshawar - Kabul - Amritzar
19.08.1966 - 22.08.1966
The journey from Kabul down to Peshawar, capital of the North West Frontier Province in Pakistan, was a tremendous experience; first the spectacular Kabul Gorge with its massive and sheer cliffs looming over and dropping away from the narrow, winding road; then the vast desert plateau around Jalalabad; and finally the fabled Khyber Pass, one of the most exciting places in the world to see. There is so much history associated with this area, and so much brutal fighting has taken place for possession of it.
The perils of the Kabul Gorge
In the two years since we first passed through this way there has been a lot of development going on in the stretch between Kabul and Jalalabad and also Jalalabad - Khyber. They have built a series of dams along the Kabul River, making some very scenic lakes, and great irrigation projects are being undertaken. There were the usual checks at Torkham, the border post where we spent the night last time, and then we continued on through the arid, rocky Pass, with the relics of its chequered history, the myriad guard posts and fortresses, standing sentinel on every major outcrop.
Looking east towards the plains of north Pakistan from the Khyber Pass
In Peshawar we are staying not 100 yds from the posh Dean’s Hotel, in the tumbledown old British colonial era Dak Bungalow, in Saddar Road behind the Mall, and are doing almost nothing but sitting around under the punkah mending our clothes. It is like a little old ladies’ sewing circle. The clothes we are wearing this time, the same ones as last time, are literally falling apart on our backs. My khaki shirt is almost all patches (Ade’s is worse) and I have had to turn one pair of my jeans into shorts. Not that I am sorry about that, as in the heat we are getting, shorts are the only thing. The heat in Peshawar is almost unbearable - very sticky.
Cooling off at the Dak Bungalow in Peshawar
We only just managed to get aboard the bus for the return journey to Kabul, up through the Khyber Pass again, for the third time in our lives. There were minimal delays at Torkham, we safely negotiated the dangers of the road through the Kabul Gorge once more, despite some hair-raising moments passing other vehicles very close to the edge, and arrived back in Kabul at 6 pm. Checked into the Nwazish Hotel.
After spending one last day in Kabul, this morning we flew by Afghan Airlines down to Amritzar, just inside the Indian border. It was a two hour flight by DC6, very enjoyable, with wonderful views of the Hindu Kush just after take-off. We had breakfast as we flew over Pakistan, then descended through the clouds , taxied to the terminal, and stepped off the plane in India. We have been on the road for seven weeks.
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