Travels in Afghanistan

Travel Destinations — By on October 24, 2007 at 7:32 am

Tourists are not exactly abundant in Afghanistan these days. But that didn’t stop Cassie Biggs from organizing a trip there as a single Western woman. And not only did she go to Afghanistan, but she also had an amazing travel experience there, which she recounted in this Associated Press article.

I’m at least 40 minutes into my flight — glass of white wine in one hand, book in the other — when it suddenly dawns on me that this is no ordinary vacation: I’m going to Afghanistan.

Like many people, my image of Afghanistan has been shaped by what I read and see in the media. Women in blue burqas, fields of opium poppies, fierce-looking turbaned men, and tanks churning through dust.

That may well be true, but what I found on a weeklong trip was a surprisingly green country with incredibly welcoming people. Often peeping from beneath those enveloping burqas I saw strappy high-heeled sandals and crimson-colored toenails.

I climbed the ruins of 12th century citadels, sacked by Genghis Khan, sat in sunlight beneath a canopy of apricot and apple trees in the Panjshir Valley drinking cardamom tea, and explored the empty niches of 5th century Buddhas famously blown up by the Taliban in Bamiyan.

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