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Himalaya

Day 7: Peshawar to the Kalash Valleys

Michael Palin - HimalayaIt's a few minutes after five and just getting light as our convoy negotiates the suburbs of Peshawar. By the end of today, all being well, we should be off the plain and experiencing our first taste of big mountain scenery in the heart of the Hindu Kush range.

In the soft morning light pony and traps loaded with produce head for the city markets, boys cross a river on a gently undulating wooden bridge, a thin strip of black smoke drifts from a brick kiln, and in the fields figures are already at work bringing in the harvest.

We rumble across the wide and powerful waters of the River Kabul, swelled with snowmelt and curling back against the stanchions of a long steel bridge. It's joined in turn by the River Swat, creating a green and fertile plain, with fields of sugar cane and tobacco interspersed with orchards of plums, apricots and pears.

We pull off the road for something to eat at a hotel of very few stars but quite a lot of what the guides call charm. Along a wide verandah, tables with wonky legs are set out on a mud floor. Instead of chairs there are the ubiquitous charpoys, bedsteads with rope bases that are quite uncomfortable to sit on, but as soon as you pull your legs up and stretch out, make absolute sense.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 7: Peshawar to the Kalash Valleys
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Peshawar
  • Book page no: 24

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