Feature: Season in the sun
Heading for the hills makes for a great summer break from the devastating heat of the cities and plains where load shedding is driving everyone without a generator absolutely bonkers!
Most people decide to visit the cool heights of Murree where there is plenty of fun for all of the family, irrespective of age, both on and off the very busy streets.
Shopping and eating seem to top the holiday or day trip agenda and, during the summer months, picking up locally grown fruit from street vendors is the increasingly in thing to do.
And the choice, tiny plums known as ‘cherry-plums’, large juicy plums, scrumptious apricots and, in a little while, local apples too, are all superb and very healthy snacks, as are traditional treats like corn on the cob and some amazing sweet things, including fruit chaat and piping hot, sugar coated doughnuts.
Street vendors, many of these are Afghan children who live a nomadic life with their families and spend the summer months camping out in multi-coloured, patched together cloth tents in the forest, spend their long days selling plastic windmills, balloons, beaded bracelets, slices of fresh coconut and anything else they can think of to the colourful array of tourists crowding the popular Mall Road, where people have so much fun doing this and that and generally just hanging out.
For those with more than Mall Road in mind, there are expeditions such as riding the cable car near Pindi Point. You can get there by being towed along in a brightly painted trailer which leaves from the lower end of the Mall or, in completely the opposite direction, you can walk or even take a jaunty horse ride, up to Kashmir Point and take a scenic chug-a-lug around in an awesome little carriage-pulling train on wheels rather than on rails.
Lots of visitors get a great kick out of festooning themselves in the handmade garlands of wild daisies for which the hills are famous. These intricate flower garlands are woven by
local people who first go up into the mountains, early in the morning, to harvest as many daisies as they need before rushing home to weave them into the beautiful pieces of artwork they offer to people in the streets and along roadsides all through the area.
When the sun is high in the clear mountain sky, as it is in between monsoon showers, lots of people have a wonderful time rooting through the heaps and heaps of incredibly sunhats on sale at shops on the Mall Road and the selection, frilly feminine ones right through to ornate cowboy hats, is mind blowing.
For good, clean, simple holiday fun and fresh air Murree has always been hard to beat and it hasn’t changed in this respect so make your plans and head up there as soon as you possibly can!