Afghanistan – Days 6-9 – Bamiyan & Band-i-Amir

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Day 6 was used up getting back to Kabul, flying in Afghanistan is not exactly straightforward, there’s a lot of uncertainty and messing around before you get in the air. Once you’re flying the views are fantastic and for the first 20 minutes we followed the road to Jam, the trip which had taken us 15 hours by car.

abandoned Russian tank

Next day it was only an 11 hour drive to Bamiyan, a trip which took 6-1/2 hours back in the ‘70s. The route to Bamiyan is littered with ancient caravanserai and much more recent Russian tanks looking as if their crew just parked them by the roadside and walked away. Once a tank is stopped it’s clearly all but impossible to shift.

Small Buddha nicheBamiyan … well we all know the sad story of the Taliban’s crazed destruction of the great Buddhas in 2001. Today their empty niches look reproachfully out on the valley, but what a beautiful valley it is and there’s plenty more of interest apart from the missing Buddhas.

From Bamiyan it’s only a couple of hours along a much better road to the beautiful lakes of Band-i-Amir. Writers are keen on announcing that no description can ever prepare you for the sheer beauty of these lakes and guess what? They’re right. Like so many visitors in the past I was awestruck by the incredible blue of the main lake – Band-i-Haibat, the ‘Dam of Awe’.



leaping French motorcyclistsAlso looking awestruck by the lake were François and Arnaud, two French motorcyclists who had arrived overland from Europe. Their website has a link from the Lonely Planet France website and they were using LP guidebooks.