The Hunza Valley

Karimabad (Pakistan), 25.06.2013

When we arrived in Karimabad yesterday, we were so amazed by the beautiful valley that we decided to stay one day longer. We wanted to see the Baltit Fort that towers over the village and some other sights we heard about. And we wanted to let one more day pass by before heading further south on the KKH, to see if there are updates regarding the security situation.

In the morning we had breakfast overlooking the valley with its green gardens and the snow covered mountain behind the fort overlooking it. Under us water kept flowing through a canal. There was one of this magic moments, lasting just a few seconds, when in the early morning three white doves flew over the gardens. What a peace! We then got ready to go see the fort, but the moment we wanted to leave, the WiFi of the hotel started to work and we checked emails. There are some changes to our route coming up probably and we need to confirm our crossing through Myanmar or alternative route. Also we wanted to let everybody back home know that we’re fine in Pakistan, no troubles here in Hunza.

DSC_0030 (1)DSC_0040The way up to the fort lead us through the village with its shops left and right. We walked the final piece to the fort up a very steep road, sweating. The views from the fort were great. There was always a little wind, and through the entire village there are canals with water, creating a refreshing feeling in the day’s heat. With the tickets for the fort came a guided tour, and were shown and explained all rooms and objects in the fort. It is one of these places where your fantasy tries to immagine what life probably has been up here centuries ago and can wander forever.

DSC_0047 DSC_0046 DSC_0061 DSC_0079 DSC_0085 DSC_0011Walking back down to the car we stopped at a shop to buy souvenirs, trying to choose more locally produced items. We could have loaded the entire car with things to bring back home! We made it out of the shop finally, and drove down to the village to get cash from an ATM (no luck), change our remaining Chinese money (no luck), get diesel (no luck either). It was 16:00, and we had agreed with some other guests at our hotel to meet at Altit Fort, the other fort close to Krimabad. When we arrived, there was a gathering of local people around some men playing folk music, but with real instruments and not the cheesy modern versions we heard blasting from car stereos from Turkey to Central Asia. We went to see the fort together with Azhar’s and Asim’s families and formed a colourful party of thirteen all together. The Altit Fort, older then the Baltit one, seemed less spectacular to us, but was still a very interesting complex. It is surrounded by an own village of one story brown houses. And at the foot of the fort a beautiful garden extends, impeccably kept, covered with trees, featuring a pool in front of a small but curated restaurant, managed by the Serena people. The restaurant is tiny, just a kitchen, a small and a big dining room, with a veranda around it, and all tastefully designed, in a good mix of minimalism and folklore, modern and antique. We had ordered food before the fort tour, and now waited to be seated in the bigger room inside. We had a chance to chat with Azhar and Asim and their kids. Very fine people, we were so amazed that they simply invited us, two foreigners they had never seen before running into Helena this morning at the hotel, to spend the afternoon with their families. They also gave us tips on where to go, where to stop and where not. And invited us to meet again in Lahore when we pass the city. Then the food was ready, and we all got seated around the long table and shared various dishes. Rice with chicken, thin bread with cottage cheese, lentils, more chicken and a vegetable dish similar to the one we had tried the night before. The spices in all dishes make them so interesting and different, we unfortunately didn’t write down the names. We also forgot to take a picture of the dinner. We must have been so involved in the great company. Azhar, Asim: thank you very much for the wonderful evening!

DSC_0022 DSC_0025 DSC_0030 DSC_0056 DSC_0062We left at around 19:00, a bit late for our last stop of the day, to drive up to the Eagle’s Nest, a mountain rock you can reach in 20-30 minutes from the fort by car. The place overlooks the entire village and offers great views of the mountains around the valley. We missed the sunset, but it was still an marvellous panorama. On the way down we had a couple of tough times passing cars coming the other direction, and at some point a smell of burnt rubber came up and persisted even as we reached the hotel. It has been a great day, some sightseeing, relaxing, enjoying the nature around us. Tomorrow it’s time to move on again.

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No trip data for the day

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One response to “The Hunza Valley

  1. Azhar m.Khan

    U 2 were a gret company for us and we got to know a lot much from u guys as u dont get a chance to meet people going thru this unique experience .KEEP WELL & KEEP GOING .AZHAR

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