Afghanistan 1975 – 01/13 – Paris

Paris was the first stop on my second overland trip along the silk route. The trip two years before had been centered on India with Afghanistan as a country to be seen along the way. For his trip Afghanistan was the major destination. Unlike two years before the travel would not continue east to get back home. Kabul was to be the turning point for the return.

It has taken me thirty-seven years to get these photos into some sort of accessible form. These photos are the reason for this blog being started. I now think that a blog is not the best way to present such a large number of travel photos. But now the task is complete and I will have learned something from the effort, perhaps gained closure or come to understand what that word might mean. I can move on to other photos and self-assigned writing tasks. Now I have a blog as a natural outlet for those things that lend themselves to exposition in a blog.

Back to the 1975 trip and the photographs that ensued. In 1973 I took with me a compact 35 mm camera with automatic operation. I stopped working in Iran. I won’t mention the manufacturer because Canon has made a lot of other fine photo gear since then. This trip my camera was a Rollei 35 with a Zeiss lens and a Compur mechanical shutter. It had a light meter but it was not coupled to the shutter. If the meter failed I had plenty of latitude with the Kodachrome 64 I carried that would let me produce useful photos.

The first leg of the trip was Icelandic Airlines as it had been in 1973. The first European stay was in Paris. I purchased a Metro pass and did a photo tour of the city on foot from promising looking Metro stops. Paris produced many nice photographs. You don’t have to be Cartier-Bresson to bring back good photos from this city. Even if you don’t capture the decisive moment you have some nice pictures.

So we begin our trip in Paris with a collection of photographs of places that have been photographed thousands of times previously and from the time that photography was in its infancy.

0001 Paris 01 - Hotel California (Saint Germain)

Paris 01 – Hotel California (Saint Germain)    Somewhere it is written that any set of travel photographs must include a photo taken through the hotel window of each hotel visited. This is such a photo from the Hotel California – – the one in the area of Saint Germain.  I did check out and I did leave.

0003 Paris 02 - Along the Seine 1

Paris 02 – Along the Seine 1

0004 Paris 03 - La Tour Eiffel

Paris 03 – La Tour Eiffel    The photo includes the image of the quintessential French couple.

0012 Paris 04 - Arc de Triomphe

Paris 04 – Arc de Triomphe

0013 Paris 05 - Place de la Madeleine

Paris 05 – Place de la Madeleine – Under Construction

0014 Paris 06 - Pont des Arts

Paris 06 – Pont des Arts

0015 Paris 07 - Along the Seine 2

Paris 07 – Along the Seine 2

0018 Paris 08 - Notre Dame

Paris 08 – Notre Dame

0019 Paris 09 - Notre Dame

Paris 09 – Notre Dame – Buttresses, keep ’em flying.

0020 Paris 10 - Notre Dame

Paris 10 – Notre Dame

0025 Paris 11 - Luxembourg Gardens

Paris 11 – Luxembourg Gardens

0027 Paris 12 - Helicopter

Paris 12 – Helicopter      I never found out what was going on here but this helicopter managed to create a scene extracted from some sort of science fiction film.

The trip to the Musee d’Art Moderne produced some interesting images.

0006 Paris - Musee d'Art Moderne 01

Paris – Musee d’Art Moderne 01

0007 Paris - Musee d'Art Moderne 02

Paris – Musee d’Art Moderne 02

0008 Paris - Musee d'Art Moderne 03

Paris – Musee d’Art Moderne 03

0010 Paris - Musee d'Art Moderne 04

Paris – Musee d’Art Moderne 04

0011 Paris - Musee d'Art Moderne 05

Paris – Musee d’Art Moderne 05


Afghanistan 1975 – 02/13 – Istanbul

Istanbul is another photographer’s paradise. It is a vibrant, modern city that still retains architectural and cultural elements from civilizations past. It was the center of the Ottoman empire and, as Constantinople, made its mark on Christianity every bit as much as did Rome. Its connection with its past can be understood in the common reference to the mosque located near the Galata Bridge as “the New Mosque.” The mosque construction was completed in 1665.

Istanbul is really the starting point of the overland route to India. Here, at the juncture of Europe and Asia, travel becomes slower and far more interesting. The food becomes remarkably good as well. Istanbul is the place to start to acclimate the traveler to the style of life in Asia. It is a city where it is very easy to stay longer than you had planned.

0031 Istanbul - mesjid 1

Mesjid 01 – If you have an interest in Islamic architecture Istanbul should be near the top of your list of places to visit.

0034 Istanbul - mesjid 2

Mesjid 02

0035 Istanbul - shopping

Istanbul offers unlimited opportunities for shopping.

0036 Istanbul - hotel window

Every hotel stay has to generate the photograph of the view from the hotel window.

0037 (51) Istanbul - fish market

You are close to fresh fish anywhere in the city.

0040 Istanbul - travel planning

I thought it remarkable to run into Jim McDonough in Istanbul. I had met him on the India overland trip two years previous. He is in the left of this photo where we, along with the Canadian travelers we had met, are sorting out the next leg of the journey.

0042 Istanbul - the tourist

The Turk seated on the left seems to be looking askance at the overland traveler who has paused for a photo opportunity.

0046 Istanbul - sharpening

Knife sharpening was readily available in any part of the city. Measuring you weight was another common sidewalk offering.

0047 Istanbul - transport

Diesel fueled vehicles coexist with horse power.

0062 Istanbul - mesjid 3

Mesjid 03

It’s hard to edit the photos from Istanbul into something that is a nice fit for a blog entry. Here are another ten photographs from the harbor area.

0048 Istanbul - Harbor 01

Harbor 01

0049 Istanbul - Harbor 02

Harbor 02

0051 Istanbul - Harbor 03 shine

Harbor 03 – If your shoes need shining, that is another service readily available on any major street.

0050 Istanbul - Harbor 04 ferry

Harbor 04 – The ferry routes are inexpensive and a joy. The traveler does not need a route schedule. Any place you are taken to will be worth spending some time.

0052 Istanbul - Harbor 05

Harbor 05 – This photo from near the south end of the Galata Bridge shows the New Mosque, constructed between 1597 and 1665.

0054 Istanbul - Harbor 06

Harbor 06

0058 Istanbul - Harbor 07

Harbor 07 – The Galata Bridge is a floating bridge. This is one of the few bridges on which you can become sea sick.

0053 Istanbul - Harbor 08

Harbor 08

0057 Istanbul - Harbor 09

Harbor 09

0056 Istanbul - Harbor 10

Harbor 10


Afghanistan 1975 – 03/13 – Trains

The route from Paris to Istanbul and most of the travel across Turkey was by train. In 1973 I was able to do the Istanbul to Trabzon connection by boat. Nice modes of travel – neither of which are available at my destination. Afghanistan is land locked and never managed to install much rail line.

0029 Orient Express

My traveling companion on some of the last miles of the Paris to Istanbul train. After I had been fasting for most of the trip he offered me some of his Slivovitz. That made the next few hundred miles something of a blur.

0063 Turkey-Iran

The Turkish countryside as seen from the doorway of our train.

0065 Turkey-Iran - railway siding discussion

I don’t know what was being discussed here on the railway siding. The stops in the small towns along the way made for a pleasant break in the train travel.

0066 Turkey-Iran

The train through Turkey is not as restful as the boat on the Black Sea but it surely beats the bus ride.

Afghanistan 1975 – 04/13 – Bus/Iran

No stopping for fellow travelers to buy carpets in Mashad as on the previous trip. Iran was transited quickly by bus, yielding few photographs.

0067 Turkey-Iran - tractor

It was Bill and Eric (as I recall) that were fellow radio people from Canada. Here, Bill poses with a Turkish farmer who passed by where we had stopped near the border with Iran.

0068 Turkey-Iran - border 1

There was a bit of jostling for position as we neared the Irani border. We all got off the bus while the driver did an off-road maneuver.

0069 Turkey-Iran - Passengers

Here’s a look at the crowd headed to Iran on the overland route.

0071 Turkey-Iran - Teheran

Amidst the sights of Teheran I chose to photograph this communications tower. Iran has been more technologically advanced than its neighbors for quite some time.

0073 Turkey-Iran - Pepsi

In 1975 in Iran you could say, “Pepsi please.” You had to be careful about using other words at the time. Mossadegh or SAVAK were words not to be used in public in the heyday of the Shah.



Afghanistan 1975 – 06/13 – Herat

Herat is a good word to use to check the presence of auto-correcting spell checkers in your word processing application. Most of them would like you to use the word Heart. I guess the spell checkers were all set up before Herat got much mention in the West.

0087 Afghanistan - Herat

Herat 01

0089 Afghanistan - Herat

Herat 02

0090 Afghanistan - Herat

Herat 03

0091 Afghanistan - Herat

Herat 04

0092 Afghanistan - Herat

I have just one Herat photo that is not of the Citadel. The Herat Citadel has been recently restored and does not look the same any more. A visit to do before and after photographs would make a nice trip.



Afghanistan 1975 – 07/13 – Kandahar

I didn’t expect that I would be returning to spend much time in Kandahar. The city is represented by only three photographs here and was primarily just a place to rest a few days between long bus trips across the southern route between Herat and Kabul. I’m writing this in Kandahar where I will be working at the NATO base for at least another nine months. The country has seen the Soviets come and go, gone through a period of civil war, and seen the lengthy presence of foreign forces since these photos were taken. I don’t expect to be venturing out to do the classic before and after pictures nor will I be doing the trip to Kabul by bus while in Afghanistan on this visit.

0094 Afghanistan - Kandahar hotel room view

A classic tourist photo. This was the view from the hotel room window. I asked one of the people I work with if they could identify the hotel and they thought it was somewhere in Zabul. I thought the fort in the background would make it easy to identify the location.

0093 Afghanistan - Kandahar

Though not obvious, this photo fits the category of pictures taken from the hotel room window. No need to search out transport to the terminal when it was time for the bus trip to Kabul.

0095 Afghanistan - Kandahar

Somewhere in Kandahar



Afghanistan 1975 – 08/13 – Bamiyan

Bamiyan was the highlight of the 1975 trip. It was done as a trip out and back from Kabul. The pictures tell the story about the visit to Bamiyan and Band-e Amir.

0101 Bamiyan - breakdown

I forgot the reason for the required stop here – – if it was engine problems or a flat tire. This was a fairly pleasant place to walk around a bit. The elevation was already sufficiently high so temperatures were very pleasant.

0104 Bamiyan - running water

Pictured here is the running water available at the hotel. Not running exactly, but he was moving pretty fast to keep the water tanks filled.

0106 Bamiyan

After the previous trip and the places I had passed through in the rest of the country seeing this much water was impressive.

0108 Bamiyan

This sort of image is found in many locations a short walk out from the city. Bamiyan was a photographer’s paradise.


0109 Bamiyan

The hotel had a nice view of one of the Buddhas. This was what you saw when turning around after washing your face.

0114 Bamiyan - Buddha

Looking up at the Buddha

0115 Bamiyan

This is one view from the cliffs into which the Buddhas were carved.

0116 Bamiyan

Bamiyan village viewed from the cliff.

0117 Bamiyan

A nice landscape within the gaze of the Buddha.


0119 Bamiyan

The hotel has a nice view of the Buddha and the Buddha has a nice view of the hotel. This was from one of the vistas alongside the Buddha on the climb to the top of the cliff.

0120 Bamiyan

A slightly different view.

0121 Bamiyan

Looking east from the Buddha.

0122 Bamiyan

Bamiyan 14

0123 Bamiyan

Bamiyan 15

0124 Bamiyan

Bamiyan 16

0127 Bamiyan - cow

Cow and Buddha. This is one of my favorites.



1975 Afghanistan – 09/13 – Band-e Amir

Band-e Amir became Afghanistan’s first national park in 2009. A trip to these six lakes makes for a pleasant day trip from Bamiyan. There’s very little that text can add to these images from the summer of 1975. If you visit the lakes today you can rent a paddle-swan to ride around at least one of them. These spring fed lakes are always uncomfortably cool as I found in a brief dip in the middle of July. They really are the color hinted at in these photographs.

0129 Band-i Amir

Band-e Amir 01

0130 Band-e Amir

Band-e Amir 02

0134 Band-e Amir

Band-e Amir 03

0135 Band-e Amir

Band-e Amir 04

0136 Band-e Amir

Band-e Amir 05

0138 Band-e Amir

Band-e Amir 06

0139 Band-i Amir

Band-e Amir 07

0142 Band-i Amir

Band-e Amir 08

0143 Band-e Amir

Band-e Amir 09

0150 Band-e Amir - caravan

Band-e Amir 10 – Caravan


1975 Afghanistan – 10/13 – Kabul

My departure from Kabul reminded me that I had been here two years previously. Two years before, in my transit of Pakistan, I heard the news that the King had been deposed by his cousin. This time my flight to Tashkent was delayed because of activities commemorating that event. A number of fighter jets made low passes over the city. That is pretty scary stuff.

0153 Kabul

Construction underway in Kabul

0155 Kabul - Shar-e Nau Park

I think this is Shar-e Nau Park but there is nothing that lets me have a solid reference. Shar-e Nau Park was close to where I was staying and the most likely place to have taken this photo. Things change in thirty-seven years.

0151 Kabul - Sigi's

Sigi’s Restaurant – Crossroads of the West. This was where you put a note up on the message board if you were looking to share a ride to India or perhaps back through Iran to Turkey. Here you could meet your fellow hippy traveler, enjoy some pseudo- Western food, and hear European languages spoken. There is no evidence of it on Chicken Street any more and I never met anyone who could tell me where it used to be located.

0156 Kabul - Ariana Airlines

This Ariana plane was grounded for the commemorative events marking the second anniversary of deposing the King.

0157 Kabul - Aeroflot

This is the plane that was to take me to Tashkent as soon as the fighter jets had finished their low passes over the city.