First off, before I even start this post I have to let you guys know that I've never been to the Northern Areas of Pakistan. I remember heading over to Bhurban once and then staying over for an hour or two and coming back so I don't really count that trip as visiting the 'Northern Areas' - I've read countless blog posts about getting away, having 'stay'cations and how this sort of thing refreshes your system but I couldn't imagine how that would work out. I've been on two vacations during my life, one was to England where I explored London for a month, and the other was last year when I jetted off to Chicago and spent almost three months there. Coming back always made me miss these places beyond anything, BUT it opened my mind and subtly changed my thinking and approach to so much in life. While I had hoped the same would happen on this two night, three day excursion to Nathiagalli - I really didn't have the highest of expectations. I was heading over to the uber popular honeymoon destination for Pakistanis with my office fellows for a retreat which had back-to-back meetings and lots of psychical team building exercises as well. Expectation levels at this point were low, but I was very excited at the prospect of hitting the refresh button.
So, so glad to report I was wrong! I LOVED Nathiagalli, and explored as much as I could in the two days that I had even if it meant walking until my feet hurt after a full day of meetings and the sort. I don't want to seem like a bitch but what made Nathiagalli such a peaceful and rejuvenating experience for me was the resort that we stayed at - actually it wasn't the resort per se, but it's location! Simply stunning. I was constantly in awe, left with my mouth hanging open as I tried to take in all the majestic mountains that surrounded as, the pinecone tress, the curling roads - everything look picture perfect as if it was right out of a movie set. I know for a fact (though I can't prove it) that the air in the area definitely was purer, lighter and I may be crazy but gave me more energy!
Can you guys see that might mountain behind the trees? I had to sit down and look at it for a couple of minutes to take it all in, seriously.
The amount of greenery surrounding you from all sides, it's UNREAL!
Don't these roads look like they've come right out of a Hollywood movie, lets say - The Red Riding Hood?!
Guys, where else would you randomly come across scenes like this? A beautiful horse eating random leaves from random tress at the edge of a random road!?
So the resort that we stayed at was Hotel Summer Retreat, it's sort of a two part hotel. There's this, and then a 30 second walk and you have Hotel Green Retreat. They both work together, or under the same management and are simply the best (and priciest) in the region. For our stay, the teams rooms were in Summer Retreat and all the conferences, lunches etc were in Greens. Personally Summer had the better views out of the two.
While it's not the fanciest hotel to look at, I couldn't care less because the views it offered - breath taking! Below is the view I was lucky enough to see every morning when I woke up! WOW!
Right as I stepped out of my room to the terrace area, this is the sight that would welcome me. Now can you blame me for being late to breakfast every morning? Haha
I ate Pakoras there like crazy, seriously! There's just something about the chill weather that makes you much on these, and sip on the sweetest chai like crazy!
I looked up as we were eating our Pakoras, and this is the sight that greeted me?! I mean, what even is this beautiful-ness surrounding me everywhere? God, really is great.
On our first Pakora run, our driver drifted off for a bit so we sat outside the car to this beautiful view and ate pakoras like there was no tomorrow. Can you imagine, having a view like this, unobstructed, right before your eyes and munching on some salty hot pakoras, taking breaks in between to sip on some super sugary sweet chai - there's nothing quite like it.
I don't wanna go all religious on anyone here, but guys, surrounded by so much beauty, I felt so thankful all of a sudden. All I could think of in that moment was about how truly insignificant we are in front of the forces of nature that surrounds us - how we day in and day out taint the natural beauty that has been given to us. Khair - it was quite the moment and while I can't quite explain it in words - it's something that will stick with me for a long, long time to come.
I'm going to stop this post right here, before it gets even longer than it currently is lol - all you need to know about pricing, travel time, things to do and buy and eat etc will be in tomorrows post so stay tuned!