Mother Of All Roadtrips – X: Majesty of Tower and Tunnel

National Highway 1 from Kabul to Kandahar, will bring you under the walls of the storied, but now humbled, city of Ghazni.  Its ramparts once sheltered brilliant Persian poets the likes of Hakim Sanai, the ‘eyes of Sufi poetry’ and inspiration to Rumi.  The memory of that elegance now in tatters, the city suffers one … More Mother Of All Roadtrips – X: Majesty of Tower and Tunnel

Mother of All Roadtrips (IX) – Mirage on the Road to Kabul

There is a traveler’s proverb in southern Africa, “Tsela e kgopo, ga e latse nageng.’  (The crooked road will not leave you sleeping in the wild.) It applies on the road to Kabul just as readily as elsewhere. True to the proverb’s implied wisdom, the tarmac – but, gated – highway at Surobi (see previous … More Mother of All Roadtrips (IX) – Mirage on the Road to Kabul

Mother of All Roadtrips (VIII) – Khyber: Rite of Passage and Prayer

High in the Maluti mountains of southern Africa, there is a pass for ponies and trekkers called ‘Molimo O Nthuse’ (God help me!), the prayer of mountain travelers everywhere.  Thin air, vagaries of sleet and snow, rude slopes, snake-like footpaths, solitude; all can conspire with lethal effect. Prayer is sometimes the traveler’s only recourse. Such … More Mother of All Roadtrips (VIII) – Khyber: Rite of Passage and Prayer

Mother Of All Roadtrips – VII: Qissa Khwani, Old Quarter Peshawar

If you should think the city of Peshawar is just another edge-of-the-mountain town, dust-blown, tattered and gusty with bluster and intrigue, consider this: the very heart of the old quarter is called ‘Qissa Khwani’, the Storytellers’ Bazaar.  Not the bazaar of carpets or of silks, not of walnuts, spices or dried fruit, not of camels, … More Mother Of All Roadtrips – VII: Qissa Khwani, Old Quarter Peshawar

Mother Of All Roadtrips (MOAR) – VI: Grand Trunk Road

On the cusp of summer monsoon, but still swirled in dust and heat, our caravan assembled in the town of Raiwind outside Lahore.  Behold! a three-passenger, improvised roof-rack atop the little red VW station wagon, a small trailer with hitch, an assortment of personal and camping gear, four school-leavers, two adults, their young daughter and … More Mother Of All Roadtrips (MOAR) – VI: Grand Trunk Road

Mother Of All Roadtrips (MOAR) – V: Darshan in the Indus Valley

Northeast of the power-stepping guards at the Wagah crossing (see previous post, MOAR IV) there is a telling scene about what borders born of duress can inflict on a populace.  Punjab is the cradle of Sikh faith, home to the great majority of its faithful who now live in India. On a clear day, from … More Mother Of All Roadtrips (MOAR) – V: Darshan in the Indus Valley

MOAR IV: Someone’s Walking – Er, Strutting – on My Grave

It’s ticklish business navigating a cemetery.  There’s that saying, “Someone’s walking on my grave,” prompted by some chill running up the spine.  Travel thoughtfully, not least the great river valleys of the world, and you find stories of near cosmic scale lying at your feet, stories that send a shiver through the soul. A traverse … More MOAR IV: Someone’s Walking – Er, Strutting – on My Grave