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A delicate -  Trek and Travels

Recommended  - Cntraveller.com

You wouldn't have believed it on a hot summer's afternoon last June. I was on one of 10 flights arriving in Srinagar from Delhi (that same day, Chief Minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad, announced that international flights would soon start operating from Srinagar's Sheikh-ul-Alam airport).

Having struggled to get a flight, I then battled for space with a sea of Indians escaping to the Himalayas from the monsoon heat on the plains. They travelled with their families, the little girls in polyester dresses, and junk food stuffed into plastic tiffin carriers, the hum of excitement like a swarm of noisy bees.

It surprised me, to see the terminal so busy with holidaymakers. It was even stranger to recognise the Kashmiri gentleman, Haji Khazir, standing beside me at the luggage carousel. In 1993, my boyfriend and I met him in Delhi. He persuaded us to visit Dal Lake, and we flew to Jammu and from there took a night taxi to the lake. This is the principal body of water around which Srinagar is built, and Kashmir's jewel.
We stayed for three weeks on Khazir's family houseboat, Lala Rukh.
Pictured: A trader rowing across Dal Lake, Kashmir

How can I thank you enough?

To everyone at Trek and Travels

I am writing straight after my houseboat and trek experience in the Kashmir Mountains because I can only describe the last ten days as the trip of a lifetime! The Lonely Planet guide to India describes Kashmir as the 'Valley of Paradise'. This is no underestimation.

I am a 35 year old teacher from Manchester, England and have just started on my 'gap year' to travel across Asia, Australasia and South America. As you know, I didn't consider Kashmir as part of my tour of India, mainly because of what I had read in certain travel books. However after much discussion with you I can now categorically state that my trip to Kashmir exceeded all expectations.

You took care of all the transfers from airports and once I arrived at the beautiful Dal Lake, a taxi boat ushered me straight to the houseboat. I am not used to such high standards of service, but everything I could wish for was taken care of. The trek I did (eight days) was nothing like I had ever experienced. Aside from the awesome mountains, the gypsies and wildlife - being waited on and fed three hot home cooked meals each day ensured my energy levels were kept up!

I have already sent loads of photos to family and friends of the glaciers, high peaks and even a snap shot of Mt K2! Many of my friends have trekked in many parts of the word but I seriously don't think any of them could compete with this.

What made this trip special was the attention to detail, being treated like part of a family and that everything that was promised was delivered. Everyone at the houseboat had genuine concern for my happiness and no request seemed too big. You clearly work very closely with your trekking and houseboat partners to make all this happen.

India marks the first month of my gap year. My only fear is that I may have peaked right at the start of my travels. I cannot see how anything can compete with this, so I just might have to book another trip with you to Kashmir soon after my gap year ends!

Your credibility as a travel agent is built upon an honest and 'no nonsense' philosophy. You want repeat business and you want your customers to talk about your services to family and friends. This, I can assure you is what I intend to do. This is also why I edited a separate film specifically for Trek and Travels which I am happy for you to show new customers.

If any of your future customers have any questions regarding a visit to Kashmir, I am more than happy to take any questions via email at kzannetou@yahoo.co.uk

Once again, thank you for creating the most memorable experience.
Kind regards
Kyriacos Zannetou
Manchester, England

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