This year, a long-kept dream of mine comes true!
Three dreams, to be precise…
Starting from 29th July 2014, I am going to travel overland from Germany to Iran, crossing the Balkas and Turkey. On my own!
Just me with my backpack and my insatiable curiosity. For this trip I’m gonna take at least 100 days – roughly a month each for the Balkans, Turkey and Iran.
The Approximate Route:
How did I come up with this?
In a nutshell: After reading a book about a German woman traveling in Iran and accidentally joining a free Turkish course at uni a couple of years ago, I decided to visit both countries one day. As I’m currently in the “limbo” between graduation and my first job, this is the last chance for me to do such a long trip in the near future. Looking at a map, I thought that Istanbul is not all that far from my hometown Munich – so hey, why not travel all the way overland and take in the Balkans?
Islam: So far yet so close…
Since my trip to Morocco I’ve become more and more interested into the ideas and beliefs of Islam. Only when I started research for this trip, I realized how close Islam is to Western Europe geographically. I’m curious to see how the practice of Islam (and my experience as a solo female traveler) differs in the various Muslim countries that I’m going to visit .
100 Days of Couchsurfing
I’ve been an active member in the Couchsurfing community since 2008, so of course I would like to stay with locals as often as I can – ideally I don’t want to stay in any hotel at all! What I love about CS is to meet locals and make friends, learn languages, take part in festivities and get an insight into the local every-day life! I just love it!
From A to B by hitchhiking, bus or train
I’m gonna try to hitchhike as far as I can – to me it is still the easiest and most exciting way to get around! From what I heard it is also pretty common in Eastern Europe. As soon as I don’t feel comfortable anymore, I’m gonna switch to buses or trains.
Part 1: Across the Balkans
Austria: Well, I might just skip close-by Austria but I decided to make my first stop in quirky Graz – I don’t wanna disappoint my dad who is Austrian 😉
Slovenia: I spent a great long weekend in Slovenia last year so probably just a quick lunch in Maribor this time.
Croatia: This country has been on my list forever! I am first gonna visit a good old friend in Zagreb, then visit the famous Plitvice Nationalpark and head down to the Adriatic coast for some beach fun in Split and Dubrovnik!
Bosnia and Herzegovina: The first muslim country on my trip! I’m mainly gonna stay in the Mostar area for some hiking, maybe visit capital Sarajevo for the 100th anniversary celebrations of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand (sorry, I’m a history geek) 😉
Montenegro: I’ll see how long I can put up with the masses at the Bay of Kotor and then check out the inland national parks for some hiking.
Kosovo: The newest country in Europe! Kosovo became independent of Serbia only 6 years ago, it’s gonna be interesting to see how the “new-born” has evolved since!
Albania: Did you know that until 1990 Albania was as isolated as North Korea is still today? Can’t wait to see what this country has to offer!
Greece: Not sure whether I’ll have enough time and energy to make a detour to Greece, but just south of Albania two top attractions of Greece are luring: Lefkada islands and Meteora.
Macedonia: From what I’ve researched, there’s superb hiking and a lot of culture. I’m excited!
Bulgaria: I chose Bulgaria as the country from which I enter Turkey – on the way I’m gonna visit Sofia, Plovdiv and the Black Sea coast.
Part 2: Turkey
I’ve been learning Turkish for 3 years, so I am immensely looking forward to spending a month in Turkey to hone my skills and meet locals. I’m gonna spend 1 or 2 weeks in Istanbul to get some rest and to study Turkish intensively. I really have no clue yet which route I’m gonna continue from there – I’ll probably avoid the border regions with Syria and travel along the Black Sea coast.
Part 3: Iran
Iran is my final destination and I’m gonna stay there till I run out of money I guess 😉 I would like to learn Farsi (Persian), meet the locals who are said to be so incredibly hospitable, see how it is to live under the Sharia, and eat saffron rice till I drop 🙂 The rough route is Tabriz – Teheran – Esfahan – Yazd – Persepolis – Shiraz.
I need YOUR SUPPORT for my big trip:
Do you have any (Couchsurfing) friends in these countries that could host me or might be willing to show me around?
Do you have any tips for places to see besides the ones I mentioned above?
If you can help me, feel free to COMMENT BELOW or drop me an EMAIL!
Featured photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dynamosquito/6185006218/