Pakistan is beautiful. My Instagram-account was breaking the Internet when I was posting pictures from my last Pakistan-trip. But for some reason it doesn't seem like an attractive destination to travel to, even though it has a lot in common with India (which is a very popular destination).
I've been to Pakistan a bunch of times since I have relatives there. Because of this I've gotten the opportunity to check out Sialkot, Quetta, Islamabad, Sahiwal and more. But visiting your family is quite different from visiting a country. My ancestors are from Kashmir, and I'm extremely attracted to the northern parts of Pakistan. Unfortunately, none of my relatives live there. There are so many places I want to see, that I haven't, YET. Like Gilgit, Swat, Hunza etc.
The positive side of visiting familiy in Pakistan, thus not travelling as a "tourist", is that I get to experience the real thing. The negative side is that I don't get to do all the touristy stuff because it's always too hectic and so many people to meet. Nevertheless, I do get to experience some cool stuff. Like that time we made the poori-man come to our backyard and make this delicious dish for us.
If you ever get the chance, try it! Poori is deep-fried bread. It's fluffy, a little salty, and can be served with choley which is curries mixed with chickpeas or as we ate it; with halwa, a sweet dish typically made with semolina, ghee, flour and sugar (but there are many ways of making this). I wouldn't call it a healthy breakfast, but damn, it is so good! You'll be able to find this on the streets as bakeries often set up stalls of Halwa Poori for breakfast.
Some other highlights from my Pakistan-visits is when my mom, my cousin and I went to Faridia Park in Sahiwal, located in Tariq Bin Ziad Colony. Beautiful flowers, some weird people to observe, and just the time-out I needed that day.
And of course I have to mention the rickshaws, I have loved riding them ever since I was a kid.
Yet, there is more beauty to be seen. And the kind of beauty I'm talking about is mountains, valleys, lakes and the wonderful people in Pakistan who are full of hospitality. Even though this country doesn't get the attention it deserves when it comes to the tourism business, it did top a list of the world's best travel desination for 2018, last year. British Backpacker Society described it as "one of the friendliest countries on earth" and talked about the amazing hospitality and breathtaking natural beauty in Pakistan.
Even though this makes me happy and proud, it also makes me a little sad. I should know more about the country where my parents are from!
So, I'm considering travelling to Pakistan in 2019, with a friend who did 7 months of Doctors Without Borders in Karachi, and we've been talking a lot about going to the north. I've also considered travelling alone, but I'm not sure how to plan something like that, 'cause I'm pretty sure that to travel alone, as a female, who also has a Pakistani heritage, would be difficult. With two people it's easier, especially since we both have contacts in Pakistan who can help us out or hook us up with the right people. Anyway, I hope this dream comes true, so that I can get a little closer to my roots, and so that I can break the Internet again.
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