Entering via the Wagah border was a smooth process with friendly officials welcoming us into their country. To check in to Pakistan was just a matter of getting our passport stamped (we’d already applied for our visas via the embassy in Australia) and getting our Carnet de passage filled out, which all up took about 30 minutes.
Our first stop was Islambad, Pakistan’s capital city. We’d been in contact with a local guy Sana for a couple of months and had organised to meet up with him. Arriving at Sana’s place we also met Monica and Alec, a Polish couple who are riding their motorbike from New Zealand home to Poland.
We needed to have the Troopy’s swivel hub checked out whilst we were in town as we’d noticed a grease leak just before leaving India; so first thing first we went to Auto Club (a highly recommended mechanic) to have the guys take a look. A full days work was required to get everything back the way it should be and thankfully the guys at Auto Club got us in straight away. We’d actually been hanging out for doing some car maintenance and buying some spares as Pakistan is home to a lot of Land Cruisers!
In the couple of days we had in Islamabad Sana took us to check out the city which included a visit to Faisal Mosque, the fourth largest mosque in the world which was a gift from the Saudi King Faisal, for which it was named after.
After a few days of getting the Troopy in tip-top shape and checking out Islamabad the weekend had come around and Sana had planned to take us exploring to Chitral then to Kalash (next episode). Note: I’d laughed with Mark about how the plans I’d made for Pakistan went completely out the window when we met Sana. He had different ideas for what we’d be getting upto and we definitely weren’t complaining!
On the Friday afternoon Monica and Alec jumped in Sana’s car (Land Cruiser), we both filled our tanks and hit the road heading first for the village Dir, about 300km from Islamabad. We spent the night at a friend of Sana’s private guesthouse which looked over the village. We felt like royalty being up there!
The next morning we continued on to Chitral, 115km further up the valley. As it was mid-Spring the roads in some parts were quite muddy as all of the snow was melting which meant a bit of 4×4 was necessary. This combined with a few water crossings, the winding roads and beautiful scenery made for an amazing day of driving!