For a while, I’ve been hoping to take an adventure travelling through an interesting part of the world, and as I’ve researched various destinations, I’ve become more and more interested in the Middle East as a destination. When I left the engineering program behing in January of 2005, and got a real job, it became a realistic possibility.
So, the plan is now for me and my girlfriend, Kathy, to leave in February or March of 2006 and take 6 months to travel from Cairo, Egypt, to Budapest, Hungary. Kathy is really wanting to go back to Salzburg, Austria, one of the highlights of her only previous overseas trip, so if we’ve still got some money at that point we might continue on. In fact, if money holds out, we might even make it overland all the way back to London, but I’m not planning on it.
- So the plan is:
- Egypt – 4 weeks
All the basic sites – Valley of the Kings, Karnak, and the Pyramids of course, but we’ll probably also take a boat trip on the nile, head out to at least on of the western oases, and hopefully spend a day or two in Alexandria.
- Jordan – 3 weeks
The highlights of Jordan that I’m looking forward to are a camel trip through Wadi Rum, seeing Petra, and travelling up the King’s Highway
- Syria – 3 weeks
I think Syria is the country I’m most looking forward to. I don’t know too much of what to expect, though everyone who’s been reports how wonderfully friendly and hospitable everyone was. The research I’ve done on Syria just utterly fascinates me, and I don’t think there’s any one site I’m looking forward to nearly as much as just being in a place as ancient and unique.
- Turkey – 4 weeks
Aside from the basics of Istanbul, Cappadocia and the less visited Sanliurfa (aka Urfa), I don’t really know what else I want to see in the country, but with a month, I’m sure I’ll find lots of cool things to do. It was Turkey that originally piqued my interest in the middle east.
- Greece – 2 weeks
Returning to the more expensive parts of the world, we’ll be in Greece briefly, hopefully travel through to a couple of islands. There’s no particular sites that I’m looking forward to in Greece, but it should be fun.
- Bulgaria – 3 weeks
Prior to trip planning, I knew nothing about Bulgaria. I still feel like I don’t know a lot, but that’s kind of the point of going, isn’t it. There’s mountains and monasteries and apparently the cyrillic alphabet (used in Russian and as far away as Mongolia) originated here.
- Romania – 3 weeks
Romania brings up images of Dracula, of course. Another country where I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m sure it’ll be great.
- Hungary – 2 weeks
Finishing the official and budgetted for plan in Budapest, which is a city that everyone really raves about. Still a little unsure as to what we’ll do while we’re there, but the fun is in the finding out.
Obviously I’ve put a lot more thought into the middle eastern portion of the trip than I have the eastern european portion, but regardless, I’m committed to not sticking to a plan. For the whole distance, we’re trying to keep our options as open as possible, to stay longer if we like, or leave sooner if we get tired of a place.