Edgar Dürholt
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Rawalpindi – Quetta – Nok Kundi - Koh-i-Taftan -  

After that strain we thought we deserved a few days rest and so we stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel. It was still a long way to Germany . Our next stop was at Multan (one day) and from there to Quetta (one day).

We drove via Mandra, Chakwal through the Salt Range to Khushab where we crossed the Jhelum River to Shahpur. The bridge over the Jhelum is a one way street with built-in railway tracks, i.e. that either cars or a train can pass at a time. From Shahpur we followed the Jhelum to Sahiwal, Jhang Sadr, Shorkot to Multan .

There is nothing special to mention about this route except that people were quite friendly to us and always willing to explain the way from city to city. There are hardly any sign-boards at crossings and so we had to ask.

Vegetation on the way to Multan is relatively rich because of the heavy rains especially during the monsoon season in August.

At dinner in Multan we learned that Quetta was hit by a heavy thunderstorm which is quite unusual to occur in that area and that 15 people had died. All roads to the city were choked with rocks or earth. How could we get to Quetta? We were confident, however, because if somebody else could get through, then why should we not manage to do so.

Quetta is a 16 hours drive from Multan. In the beginning, the terrain is green, then changes to yellowish and finally to grey and brown. We passed Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan and Shaok Severa, where we crossed the Indus River. The river Jhelum, which originates in Kashmir, and the Indus, which originates deep in the Himalayan Mountains Ranges meanwhile united to the Indus going further south to the Arabian Sea.

In Kashmor, the other side of the Indus we went down to Kondhkot, Jacobabad, Sibi and Spezand. After Jacobabad the land gets dryer and dryer. We saw horses dying on the side of the road. There is no more vegetation but only tomb-type stones and sand.

A few kilometres before Quetta we saw trucks parking on the roadside and soon after we had to fight our way over landslides and boulders. Fortunately the bigger boulders were already removed by bulldozers.

We reached the outskirts of Quetta at around 8.00 p.m. Now we had to find the Lourdes Hotel. It was not only dark and foggy but also no street lights so that we could hardly see anything.

Although darkness had fallen over the town, everybody and every creature seemed to be on its feet.

When we finally arrived at the hotel, they had only one single room available but we persuaded them to change it to a double. The day ended by preparing boiled water and to make some tea for the next day, which is the best drink to have during daytime and better than soft drinks like Coke or so.

We figured that we would need two days from Quetta , a rather big town, to Zahedan in Iran , the next bigger city. The first day should bring us as far as Nok Kundi via Nushki, Dalbandin and Yakmach. At Nok Kundi we planned to stay for the night and then proceed the next day to Koh-i-Taftan, the border town on the Pakistan side and then to Mirjawah on the Iranian side to end the second day in Zahedan.

When driving through the outskirts of Quetta we thought we were passing an open air butcher-shop. All kinds of animals are butchered on the roadside. The blood rinsed across the road. That was quite something to see in the beginning of a day.

We left Quetta at 6 o'clock in the morning and returned at 9 o'clock . What had happened? One can hardly miss the way in this area, since there are only a few roads. We were supposed to follow the only paved road for about 20 km which would then change to gravel and lead to Nushki. We followed the right road but at a construction side had obviously missed another unpaved road turning left and thus circled around Quetta for almost 3 hours. How stupid. But we could not help it and started again, this time a bit faster to make up for the time lost. We drove through an area which in winter is covered with deep snow but which is dry and hot in summer. The hills and rocks are burned to black and dark brown, respectively, by the strong sun. The original colour of rocks is yellowish to light brown. Here again it is advisable not to stay overnight, particularly not outside a village. Bandits are common, especially at night and they might just take the money for a free ride or all one's belongings. Looking at the scenery it is easy to figure out that there is little chance to make a living. For hundreds of kilometres there is nothing but rocks and sand.

At 5 o'clock in the afternoon we arrived at the dusty village of Nok Kundi . Because of the security situation in this part of Pakistan we had planned to ask and stay inside a military compound but were not allowed to stay, probably for the same reason, only this time they might not have trusted us?!

So we were forced to find an alternative. We saw a “restaurant” on the side of the road a few kilometres outside the village and asked the owner to allow us to stay close to his place during the night.

The restaurant consisted of three mud walls and an open side facing the road. We had a cup of tea with the caretaker and his mates and cooked our dinner. We were just in the midst of our preparation when two big jeeps approached from the desert. About 30 men equipped with guns jumped off the cars, washed their hands, feet and faces and said a prayer towards Mecca . All of them were in their early twenties to forties with the exception of one man, who could have been around 60 to 70 years old. He was very tall, about 2 m, and had an impressive appearance, not only because of his tallness but because of the way he was dressed, with his long and white beard and the fire in his eyes, not to forget his guns. As soon as they had finished their prayer the men gathered around my vehicle. After a few minutes the old man came to ask me by his gestures which I failed to understand first, how much he would have to pay for it.  But I first understood that he wanted to know how much we had paid for the car and I told him. When he started to count gold coins in exchange of the vehicle I clearly understood. He wanted to pay 3 taels, i.e. 300.000 rupees or 6.000.000 Yen in gold!

Our stomachs almost twisted not because of the gold but because we saw ourselves already in the middle of nowhere without my car. It took us quite some time to convince him that we could not sell the vehicle even if we wanted to do so, since it was registered in my passport and since we, furthermore, needed the exit stamp for it. Otherwise some customs officer might have asked to execute the Carnet de Passage, i.e. to ask the bank to remit its guaranteed value! I do not know whether he finally understood our problem or not but he accepted my reply. His men were still discussing the matter. Only a few harsh words of him which we did not understand called them back into their cars and with the same speed they had appeared they disappeared in the desert.

I must admit that with this spectacular appearance our worries were not done with. They had only started.

What would happen during the night? Would the men return and not ask for the car this time? Our worries even increased when the caretaker told us that these men were Afghans Mudschaheddin), fighting against the Soviet occupation. We did not sleep well that night.

Besides our worries it was difficult to sleep because of the hut and bed. This friendly people could offer us only a bed frame where the springs are made from leather ropes. In addition my legs were about 50 cm too long for the frame thus hanging over it. Moreover, whenever the younger men felt like having a cigarette they came asking us for one. Furthermore they had a radio which they kept going at the upper noise level all night long.

Trucks arrived, people jumped down to have a cup of tea and some food and that did not stop during all the night.

There was no reason to complain considering that we paid DM 1, - per head only for the night.

We got up at 4 o'clock in the morning because we desired to leave as soon as possible.

We had to go to Zahedan, i.e. we had to cross the border and wondered what it would be like this time crossing a border.

After 3 hours of driving on a wash board like path we only could follow an old car track. It was impossible to find the path. We could see something but it looked dangerous to follow it. So we drove cross-country by compass and tried to spot the ridges early enough in advance to avoid falling in one. As it was so hard to trace tracks we had to find our own diversions. The trick is to drive on hard surface and to "see" or "smeIl" the soft spots. The speed is down to 10 km/h on old tracks or up to 40 km/h on our own and new tracks. Sometimes we felt like being in the middle of nowhere and sometimes we believed that there was even more than nothing. We counted 7 dead and dried up cows along "our" track and wondered how they got there.

After another 2 hours of that type of driving we reached Koh-i-Taftan, the Pakistan border village. It looked like a dumping spot, just dust, dirt, shit and rubbish. Immigration and customs formalities were rather easy and fast and it seemed as if the officers did not favour the heat either. The officer asked us for pornographic magazines which we should kindly hand to him since this was the only fun they had in Koh-i-Taftan, he said. Unfortunately we did not carry anything like that in our luggage, very much to his regret.

Iran and our fast way out

We proceeded to the Iranian side and wondered what was going to happen there after all the things published about Iran . Health and immigration was no problem but we could see military in almost every corner well equipped with M 16 rifles.

Then we got to customs. The man was friendly and young but reserved though. All our equipment had to be listed up and, of course, every single Dollar was counted. On his advice, all our camera equipment was sealed in order to avoid problems with the revolutionary guards. We were told that such guards would destroy all our films once they see a camera but that they would not touch any customs sealed luggage. What a choice. It meant also no photos of Iran ! But still better than to lose the valuable photos and films made in India and Pakistan.

We left customs for car inspection. Fortunately it was hot again. The officer checked our luggage quite carefully advising us not to hide any alcohol since revolutionary guards would not tolerate it. He drew some scaring pictures of what could happen if alcohol was found. We still had 2 bottles of beer hidden in the fridge which he did not find.

The whole procedure took about 3 hours although we were the only people to be checked.

From Mirjawah it takes about 5 hours to Zahedan. We intended to leave Mirjawah behind us and have the beer somewhere on the road. However, only a few kilometres outside the town we were stopped by revolutionary guards who wanted to search our vehicle, which in turn made me very angry because we had just passed customs control. We told them that we had our check at the border and showed them the sealed luggage, which obviously satisfied them. After that experience we got concerned about the beer. We were stopped by two further guard check points before we could finally finish the bottles and bury them in the sand.

It was around 1 p.m. when we had the beer on an empty stomach. We were pretty drunk when we drove through the Iranian desert but quite happy that we did not have to waste our last two bottles.

Again the road was terrible and like a washing board.

But this time no diversions were necessary. My nerves got rather thin and I hated the road. Furthermore, there was not much Diesel left in the tank but we could not drive to a gasoline station as we had no coupons to pay with besides money. The customs officer at Mirjawah had told us that we could buy coupons at a particular gasoline station in Zahedan. We drove to said station; sober by now, but there they did not have any coupons for us. Gasoline and Diesel are rationed in Iran . We were lucky again to meet people who cared, i.e. the owner or manager of the station advised us to return after about 2 hours. In the meantime he had collected coupons from customers or friends for us.

What a world. There were hostile revolutionary guards on one side and extremely friendly citizens on the other.  So we checked into a hotel, had some water, lots of water actually and a big cup of yoghurt. Then we had a shower and called some friends in Tehran via the hotel operator. Roy’s contact was successful whereas my contact was in Germany .

After 2 hours we returned to the gasoline station. The man had collected coupons for 300 litre of Diesel, plenty enough to get to Tehran but not enough to go any further. We thus had to get more coupons there and Roy 's friend was quite helpful in this respect.

It only took us half a day to make up our mind to leave Iran as soon as possible. We worked out that we could make it in 4 - 5 days from East to the West, 3.000 km of tough and long driving, however, on relatively good roads. No sightseeing in Iran . We considered it too dangerous because of the revolutionary guards and the war going on mainly in the south western part of the country respectively along the border with Iraq.

The other reason was that everybody was staring at me. They thought I was an American and were surprised that I was not imprisoned yet. It was the time when Americans were not welcomed at all in Iran because of their support to the previous government of the Shah etc.

Some people had a smile for us but most of them looked grim. Some hours after having left Zahedan the next day our way led us to Yazd via Bam, Kerman and Rafsanjan. Our decision to leave Iran as soon as possible was confirmed by very unpleasant experiences. Every 20 km and about five times we were stopped by guards, revolutionary of course, who wanted to see our passports and inspect our luggage. We finally came to the conclusion that the only thing they wanted to have was a cigarette. Nevertheless it is not a good feeling to be stopped by a 15 year old or even younger boy with a sub-machine gun around his neck. I must admit that I felt rather uncomfortable knowing that youngsters react differently from adults.

On the way to Zahedan it was already hot outside and inside the car but it became worse on the way to Rafsanjan, the water cooler had its problems and the water temperature indicator was just below the point of boiling. The terrain is deserted and there is just sand, rocks and mountains and once in a while a lonely dromedary in the desert.

When approaching Rafsanjan about 100 km after Kerman , the horizon got very dark and we wondered whether we would have some rain. However, the closer we came we noticed that it was not rain but sand in the air. The maximum visibility was below 20 m. The whole town was covered by a sandstorm.

The road improved and we reached Yazd late that afternoon and stayed at a hotel with some very unfriendly staff.

On our third day in Iran we drove from Yazd to Kashan, Qom and Tehran.

The roads were well paved allowing driving at a speed of 80 to 100 km/h.

We experienced that in Iran the petrol stations are always located outside the cities. Although gasoline and Diesel are not readily available, the price is attractive, i.e. DM 0.08 for a litre only.

There were no particular incidents on the way. Qom seemed to be especially well guarded by the revolutionary guards, which implied another check.

Tehran is a big and busy city. The hotel we wanted to stay at, the former Hilton, is located at the other end of the city. So we drove from one end to the other and had same experience with respect to the traffic signals.

One man, the driver of a van, saw our vehicle and us and said in English "Tourists are finished in Iran ".

The next incident was rather scaring. Again we had to stop in front of a red traffic light. On the lane beside us was a passenger car with 4 young men. When the men got aware of me, they might have identified me as an American or whatsoever, one of them pulled out a handgun pointed his hand at me and then the gun at his head. I was afraid indeed and happy when the light changed to green and we could drive off. From their side it might have been a joke but I did not take it as such.

The entrance of the former Hilton Hotel was plastered with slogans such as "Down with the Americans". The lobby was packed with crows (my description for these women), i.e. women all dressed in black and called crows by us because these species look very similar.

We did not want to trust our eyes when we saw 4 crows changing their babies' diapers on the floor right in front of the check-in counter. We could not help but to complain that one is requested to pay US $ 70 for this "comfort". But we were advised that all these women were the spouses of martyrs of the war between Iran and Iraq , who were given the chance to see their religious leader Imam Khomeni somewhere nearby the hotel the next day. There they would receive further guarantee that their relatives were in heaven by now as earlier promised when they wasted their lives with a key for the heaven door hanging around their neck when rushing into mine fields for their Imam.

Roy again contacted his friend in Tehran and got some more coupons, enough to leave Iran .

I repeat, we were happy to leave Tehran and had only a day and a half to reach the Turkish border.

Early in the morning we left for Tabriz via Zanjan and Mianeh. At first the road had four lanes in each direction but soon got smaller though nice to drive.

We got to Tabriz at 5 o'clock in the afternoon. There we could not find any accommodation because of soldiers on front leave. We were told that we would probably find a place to stay for the night in Marand.

So, not knowing what we were going to get at our inn and to be on the safe side, we bought some peaches and a bucket of yoghurt. Yoghurt is not sold in small containers but 5 litre buckets.

Near the place where I was going to shop two policemen asked me whether I was an American!

We found the inn in Marand and bargained on the room rate. The place was lousy, but at least we got a room from where we could see the car from the 1st floor window only 5 meter away from our car.

Peaches and yoghurt were delicious and helped to cure my stomach at least a bit; it was disordered because of some obviously spoiled chicken I had in Yazd . The mineral water added to the treatment.

Suddenly, the owner of the inn came running up the staircase and signalled us to hide the water bottles. He then explained that two revolutionary guards were downstairs in the restaurant and that he was worried they might come up, see the bottles, believing they were filled with beer and therefore might start shooting without any further question.

What a country. Fortunately nothing happened. We went to sleep with our clothes on, ready to get on the way any moment.

At night I had to go to the toilette, which was located half a staircase down to the restaurant. When leaving the room I almost stumbled over young men sleeping everywhere on the floor their sub-machine guns beside them. I had to climb over them down the staircase to the toilette. As nature was urging me so much I went down, but very much afraid to wake-up one of them. Fortunately I did not.

From Marand it is only two hours to the Iranian/Turkish border. We had an early breakfast on the way. When we came close to the border, we found a long, long line of trucks waiting there, more than 200, we believed. So what to do? What would we experience this time at the Iranian side? Should we join the line or should we try to pass? We decided to pass them and to make our way straight to the customs house. The clearance of the documents was fast and efficient but the actual check was going to take place about 1 km away from the customs house.

At one of the check posts a man tried to put his briefcase on the hood of our vehicle, which drove me mad, so I scolded him for trying to do so. He went off without saying a word. We had to wait a few minutes and then drove on but were stopped again and again. Suddenly we saw the man with the briefcase again. This time he even opened the car. But before I started with another cannonade of abusive words I fortunately asked him who he was. He identified himself as a border policeman in civil cloth. So I wisely shut my mouth and invited him to join us to the checkpoint up the road. There he got out of the car and left.

The situation at the checkpoint was rather confusing; we were puzzled not knowing what to do or where to go first. We asked a truck driver and he told us to see immigration first.

And whom did we see sitting behind the desk? "Our" policeman was sitting there. We were ready for the worst.

Passports were checked and stamped; the money had still to be counted. I was carrying US $ 100 in my pockets which I had brought into the country without declaring it. One might need some American cash for any reason whatsoever without getting a receipt.  

The man in front of us was carefully searched; he even had to take off his socks. If they had done the same with me, I would have been in trouble. But they did not. They only counted the money in my purse and seemed to be satisfied. What a relief. Finally, the vehicle was inspected but not too closely and we were at liberty to leave the country. When driving over to the Turkish side we felt much better.

The Turkish border post at the Eastern border is near Dogubayazit.

It is only 50 m through no man’s land to the Turkish side of the border where the whole customs and immigration procedure started all over again. This time, Roy's passport was checked with special care and we wondered what that meant. The whole procedure took us quite some time, since the customs officers obviously could not make up their minds on how to handle our list of spare parts. Eventually they agreed to accept it. Again we were lucky as nobody desired to have a look at the trunks on the roof-carrier which saved us from loosening and tightening the ropes before and after the check, respectively.

The last thing we did before leaving the border scene was that we acquired a bottle of whisky in the duty free shop.

Meanwhile it was noon already and we still wanted to drive to Tatvan at Lake Van in East Anatolia . Not long after leaving the border on the way to Dogubayazit we saw the beautiful Mount Ararat at a distance of about 20 kilometres. According to the Holy Bible Noah had landed his ark there. It is a huge and pretty mountain rising up to 5.165 m.

After leaving the highway, about after one third the way to Agri, the road through the countryside was not what we would call in good condition but the best part of it consisted of stabilised gravel with big holes.

The scenery is monotonous and there seems to be little pollution. It is common knowledge that Anatolia is the poorest part of Turkey and that becomes more and more obvious the longer one drives through the country side.

We first arrived at a small town called Erois, at the Lake Van, from there we proceeded along the lake to Ahlat and Tatvan.

It was 10 o'clock in the evening when we arrived in Tatvan and had to look for an accommodation as so many times before. We found a place that looked quite suitable but unfortunately it did not have any vacancies. We parked the vehicle at the roadside and looked around by feet. Soon a young man sitting in front of a shop asked us whether he could be of any help. We told him the story about the occupied hotel.

He said not to worry, accompanied us back to the hotel, talked to the man at the front desk and then put his arm around me and showed me the room. I did not mind his arm around my shoulder first but when it moved further down to the waist and I found his other hand playing with his testicles I realised what was meant and freed myself.

I had made a new experience but we did not have a room at almost 11 P.M. 

However lucky as we often have been, a few young man with small motorcycles stopped as we were standing beside the car wondering what to do.

They spoke fluent German; obviously children of families who had worked in Germany where they learned the language. They offered us to guide us to a hotel of better quality a bit outside the town. So we went with them. After reaching the hotel we thanked them for their kindness and they drove off.

This time we were not lucky as the hotel was fully booked, i.e. we were on the road again searching for a hotel. We drove back into town found a hotel after all, which even bad space to park our vehicle, just outside the reception. The room was dirty and the sheets obviously had not been changed for weeks. But at least it was a place to stay for the night. We had a meal, a few good whiskies, the first after a few weeks, and went to bed at around 12.30 p.m. Because the room was so dirty we did not take off our clothes but went to bed fully dressed even wearing our boots. At 2 o'clock in the morning somebody banged at our door. Who might that be in the middle of the night? It was the police, two men accompanied by the receptionist. We were sitting on our beds, half drunk, half drowsy. We were requested to produce our passports and again it was Roy's passport that was carefully checked and then returned to him without any further questions or remark. Instead of leaving the room after the inspection, they yelled at each other for about 10 minutes.

For the next day we had planned to travel as far as Kayseri to see a friend of a friend who had lived there about 10 years ago and who was now living in Tokyo . But Kayseri is about 14 hours drive out of Tatvan. One has to travel via Mus, BingoI, Elazig and Malataya. The road is winding through a mountain area at an altitude between 1.500 - 2.000 m. The sun was hot but there was a nice cool breeze.

After 12 hours only we reached Kayseri where we soon found the hotel belonging to the man we were going to look for. We introduced ourselves and were invited to a cup of Turkish coffee. Of course, I had to tell him about his friend in Tokyo and so we chatted and chatted for quite some time before we occupied our room, the first reasonable and comfortable one after a long time.

There is a little episode to tell about some anxious people in the hotel. I was wearing a short brown leatherjacket which reached just over my hips. Since weeks I had a knife in a holster at my belt. After some time sitting there with the owner of the hotel, one of his servants came and spoke to him, as we learned later at the request of some guests who knew him well. He asked me to show him what I had under my leatherjacket looking like the grip of a pistol! Some people were afraid that I was an undercover Turkish police man because no other people were allowed to openly show their guns!

The next day we went sightseeing in and around Kayseri. We visited Urgup and Goereme which are famous for their spectacular tuff formations. Three million years ago a volcano erupted and covered the plateau with tuff and over the years winds and rain eroded the landscape creating surrealistic formation. Remnants of early Christian settlements from around the 4th century A.D. can still be seen; chapels, houses and storage rooms are carved into the tuff formations and thus harmoniously merge into the landscape.

We made a few farewell photos the next morning and we left for Istanbul where we wanted to have a rest. It takes 12 hours for about 750 km to get from Kayseri to Istanbul . We passed Kirsehir and Ankara . In the Ankara area one can already feel the European influence as far as housing is concerned.

Much to our surprise we saw many German cars with German license plates. I was about to tell Roy that it was amazing how many Germans are spending their holidays here in Turkey when I realised that all these cars were owned and driven by Turks, i.e. Turkish workers who were spending their holidays in their home country.

At around 4 p.m. we entered Europe by crossing the bridge over the Bosporus . The Western part of Istanbul lies in Europe whereas its Eastern part belongs to Asia. The Hilton Hotel was just the right place to have a break.

For the next 4 days we were busy with sightseeing, shopping and enjoying Istanbul 's nightlife. The city offers many points of interest. There are the mosques, the Blue Mosque in particular, the bazaars etc. and four days are certainly not enough to see, admire and enjoy everything, having in mind that the Osman Empire (the largest ever in the world) played an important role only few centuries ago. It was really a pity that our interesting - and many other words could be added here to describe it - adventurous holidays were nearing the end. Time was running and we had to proceed.

The next stop was supposed to be somewhere in Yugoslavia much depending on how far we could get, since we had two border crossings ahead of us, the border to Bulgaria and the Bulgarian-Yugoslavian border.

Furthermore we had to concentrate on the traffic because we had to drive on the so-called death road, used by Turkish workers from Turkey to Germany and vice versa. Many Turkish families acquire second hand cars and thus old cars in bad conditions but cheap and drive for days without any stop. The results are terrible accidents. We have seen a number of fatal accidents.

The first border check is near Edirne on the Turkish side. It has 8 traffic lines in each direction, so one can imagine the heavy traffic. There was no car inspection at all but only immigration which took quite some time because of the long queue.

The control on the Bulgarian side was even faster but we had to pay US $ 30 for each visa.

We crossed Bulgaria in 6 hours via Plovdiv and Sofia with only one incident worthwhile to mention.

First of all it has to be recalled that our vehicle looked at bit like a military one, also in colour.

In the countryside a small convoy of military vehicles with two open roof jeeps in front approached us slowly. The men in the two jeeps got up and saluted when passing us. What did that have to mean?

We could not help it but laughed. Did they think we were military personnel or even Russians? We never found out.

Crossing the border to Yugoslavia meant to show passports and to drive on.

A night's rest near Nis in Yugoslavia was not really one of the enjoyable ones.

As common in those days service had been a non-existing word in their dictionary. The waiters stood around almost in dozens but none got the idea to ask us if we wanted something. We had to call them several times before one could not avoid approaching us. This experience made me never consider that country as a holiday alternative.

Our next day’s journey led us via Beograd, Brod, Zagreb and Ljubljana to Klagenfurt in Austria, all the way up the death road, as mentioned earlier.

Near Klagenfurt we had same good food and beer at a lovely hotel built in the Austrian style. The weather was nice though the evenings were cool and we remembered the "good old times" in the wilderness and the heat.

The last day Roy and I travelled together brought us via Salzburg to Munich . We passed through beautiful countryside which is worthwhile to see and spend more time.

At a roadhouse on the highway to Munich we thought that at least the Landcruiser deserved a drink since we were not allowed to drink while driving. So we just poured a bottle of beer over its windscreen as a kind of “thank you” for not good but excellent services.

When we arrived in Munich , we could not believe it. No serious trouble, no puncture, no problems with customs, no problems with the car, no serious problems at all.

What was the reason for this luck? It was luck, that's true, but it was also a good vehicle, reliable equipment and careful preparation might have also added to it.

However, I believe the main reason was the right constellation and influence of our stars that blessed us all the way from India to Germany . Or have it been our guardian angels which were sent to look after us?

The pigeon flying always in front of us along the dangerous road beside the Indus on our way to and from Skardu made us a few times thinking of that.

Roy left in Munich and returned to Japan while I had to go for another 650 km to my hometown Radevormwald.

A friend of mine had alerted the local newspaper man and so I have been interviewed shortly after arriving at home.

The man asked me among other things whether I would make the trip again.

I responded that he should ask me the question in 8 weeks again.