PAKISTAN 4
We left Islamabad and headed for the Karakoram Highway via Murree and then on to Muzaffabad, This plan went well to start with but unfortunatley about 50 kms north of Murree crossed a bridge over the river, this ment we were now in disputed Kashmir ! , About 100 mts past the bridge we stopped at a checkpoint and were told that we could not go any further. after about half an hour of negotiation we agreed that we would have to turn back. The discussions took so long because a man (whose name I cannot remember) tried to orgainise a Police escort for us so that we did not have to turn around.
Cliff crossing the bridge into Kashmir
So we turned around and rode the 50 kms back to Murree and then took the road to Mansahra, we stopped for lunch somewhere along this road, a decision that Maarten would later come to regret, (he had a cold chicken sandwich, the rest of us had fresh cooked food ), so that night it caught up with him.

We got only as far as Chittral Plains ( a dive of a place not even on the map ). The first hotel we stopped at was disgusting according to all so we continued on, finally giving up at a hotel called Greens. The price was expensive and although the rooms were reasonable it was cold. We were informed that the price included armed guards ! We later found out that this was in fact true and we had two armed police officers outside our rooms and a further one asleep in the adjoining room. They made our armed guard at Lorali look like a real fairy - these men looked like they knew what they were doing with their guns and had used them previously.

One of the "friendlier" looking of our armed police guards !
We left early the next morning but stopped for a minute to take photo's of the view. This was the first time that we noticed that we were in fact climbing into the Hindu Kush mountains. It made a pleasant change to see mist and to feel a slight coolness in the air.
View at 8 a.m. from the hotel at  Chittral Chittral Plains.
We left with high hopes of a better day with more miles covered as at that rate we would never get to the top. We aimed for a town called Gilgit. 50 miles down the road we stopped for breakfast at Besham ( our original intended destination for the previous night ). Jenny said that her bike was feeling a bit strange - then we noticed her rear tyre was flat. This then took an hour and a half to change the tube, the inner tube being irrepairable. This was not what we wanted and had put us behind schedule again ! Due to the fact also that Maarten was now extremely ill we stopped early at Dassu and booked into the rather noisy ( being next to the raging river ) Khyber Lodge Hotel. We had done around 80 miles all day - slow going. Will we ever get to Gilgit ?????
Puncture repair time - was it this bit to change ???
We decided to take a walk around Dassu before dinner. However, after being out for around 1/2 hour we decided that from the looks we were getting it would not be an idea to be out after dark. So we hastened to the Chemist ( tin shed with pills everywhere ) for tablets for Maarten. We were asked by a local policeman where we were going - he seemed satisfied when we explained that we were just on our way back to the hotel. On the return Andreas became ill also, he however had an allergic reaction to something he ate. So we spent the evening alone - made a nice change ! Cliff met two doctors who spoke excellant English, having done some training in England, and we invited them to join us to eat the dinner for 4 that we had ordered. The evening was passed on the roof of the hotel chatting about everything from contraception methods in Pakistan to the amount of money spent by Pakistan on defence, and generally sorted the world out. The main idea that came to mind was to exile all governments to somewhere remote and desolute in the middle of the ocean.
Dr Muhammad Ali ( really ) and Dr Assiz and Cliff.
Leaving Dassu late ( Andreas and Maarten had slightly recovered ) we aimed for Gilgit ..............still trying to get there !!!! :-)
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