How much awesomeness can you cram into one day in a country known worldwide as a war zone? A lot.
Its starts with a 6am bike ride through Kabul with photographer and fellow biker, Mikhail Galustov.
We spin our wheels through quiet Kabul streets towards the historic Darulamon Palace. Tony, Anna, and Warren joining us with the mini bus for a little early morning Kabul adventure. Warren snapping Tony snapping us.
Riding past Kabul’s Inside Out project that was put up the day before by a group of Afghan artists in three different locations around the city as part of a worldwide street art project created by JR.
Mikhail’s chain broke, so I took to the empty fields around the palace to play a little.
Chain fixed 20 minutes later, Mikhail joins my new biker gang.
We ‘bribe’ the Afghan National Army guards at the palace with a bike ride.
Alas, disc brakes didn’t translate. But the subsequent over-the-handlebars crash didn’t dampen the spirits. Tony’s hug probably didn’t hurt.
Once inside, Anna took a spin on the bike, and we all enjoyed riding up and down the rubble-strewn halls.
We’re riding our bikes inside Darulamon Palace?? Jumping photo is a must.
More exploration inside on the third floor discovers a floating artwork of crumpled iron of what used to be the ceiling.
Next we load up the bikes and drive past a second location of the Inside Out project by the walls by the river at the heart of Kabul’s old town. Its mid morning by now and the streets are packed.
Adventure builds up an appetite and a quick stop for some street food allows Anna to get in some good research for Foodie Underground!
Amazingly, the mini bus makes it all the way to Massoud’s Tomb in the heart of the Panjshir Valley, with only one mishap. Afghan resourcefulness ensures the repair work holds for the rest of the trip.
Massoud’s men stand guard at his tomb and willingly pose with Tony’s image from Kabul Stadium. A photo of a photo within the photo.
We set up a few of the Streets of Afghanistan exhibition as a test run. Using the incredible backdrop of Soviet tanks to brace against the wind.
With some help behind the scenes help from Mikhail.
The final staging is staggering beautiful and is a poignant farewell as our final public exhibition of the trip. If there is to be a future exhibition – a truck full of sandbags will be necessary to keep everything in place. or more people.
My rear tire is flat, so as dusk falls, Mikhail rides down the hill solo that I climbed two years ago going the opposite direction in my ride across the valley – he looked like he had a lot more fun!
Dinner by the river anyone?
Farm to table outside the front door make for the best kebabs.
A uneventful night time drive home punctuated by lots of conversation and couple stops for tea to keep our driver awake topped a nearly perfect day in Afghanistan. One of many over the past five years – but never with such an amazing crew of friends and colleagues.
photos by Tony Di Zinno, Warren Buttery, and Anna Brones