July 27, 2003 GMT
North India to Pakistan,Islamabad

After a rainy start in McLeod Ganj it got very hot again in Amritsar, where Mrs Bhandaris Guest House is a great place if you want to camp in a beautiful, quiet garden. The town itself is a bit scary, haven`t seen so many policemen and gun`s on the whole trip.
Next day I tried to cancel my flight from Delhi to Amsterdam, that was not the easiest task, the lady from the airline continued telling my I couldn't`t drive from Amritsar to Amsterdam because that`s in a different country, thank`s for that information !!! I hope in the end she canceled the flight.

Then Dalbir on his Honda arrived and after some sightseeing, the Golden Temple very impressive, we where on the way to the border. When we arrived the border just closed ( 16.00 ), so we waited anyway to see the bodyguard's closing the gate. It is like carnival, lot`s of people on both sides of the border, singing and dancing and waving flags.
After one more night in Amritsar we crossed the border the next morning with not major problems ( thank`s Ralf I got your message from the Pakistan customs people ) and it was a special day as well, the first bus route between Lahore and Delhi since 5 years.
Then in Lahore it took us a long time to find a place to stay, a lot of places where closed. Ended up camping in the garden of a big hotel where at night the bus from Delhi arrived so a lot of reporters and people and of course we smelly on dirty bikes. It didn`t take long and we had to give the first short interview.
By the way the best thing in Lahore after arriving was the Mc Donalds ( I normally don`t go there ) but with air con. and good cheap food it was like paradise.
The next day was spend by walking from one bazaar to the next to find a front Tyree for the BMW. After a couple of hours then I got a used but good Dunlop, 21" is a hard thing to find.
On the way to Islamabad via the excellent GT road we got stopped by the police, more for a chat, but they told us to use our indicators while overtaking !??? Alright that was something new, in the last 4 month none even looked a red traffic lights.
Islamabad "Campsite" was a big disappointment, none seems to look after this place but still there where more tourists than I expected, a couple in a VW van and at least 4 other backpackers.
It took half a day to get the application in for the Iran visa. First to the German embassy to get a "Letter of Recommendation", That cost nothing, then back to the Iranian, application form, waiting and the info to come back in 11 days.
So there was plenty of time to go up north on the KKH. From Islamabad via Murree and Batram to Gilgit. The KKH goes beautiful trough the mountains with excellent views. The road was in a good condition but closer to Gilgit landslides across the road where more common.
Gilgit then is a nice, quiet town and a good place to stay is the "Madina Guesthouse" with a nice big garden.
6 days later and back in Islamabad the visa isn`t ready, of course ! So that means waiting here over the weekend and trying again on monday.

Posted by Andre Lomme at 07:18 AM GMT

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