"My virtual shelf of actual travel memories" josephescu's Profile
In broad terms, my travel memories are a collection of fragmented pieces, events and sights, with me walking aimlessly through various places, letting my sense of time and purpose dissolve into the hubbub around me. I often try to hide my eyes behind the camera for the illusion that I can take and carry the flavours with me.
Off the beaten track exploration in Southeastern Anatolia or, in the politically incorrect meaning, the Turkish Kurdistan, with its feel of last frontier ambiance amid a rough landscape with jacked peaks, scorched plains and historic towns echoing exotic resonances and adventures. Away from carpet shops, bus parties and tacky resorts, I wandered at the social dynamism in Malatya, felt as a misafir (guest) in Kurdish Diyarbakir, discovered a tucked away charming jewel – Savur, before drinking in Mesopotamian views and flavours from Mardin, Urfa and Harran.
For the time being, only some photos here.
From Yamuna to the Oxus and beyond, as my fellow travel put it, magic places where people, civilisations, cultures and weapons have been mingling since the dawn of history, this has been one bloody good voyage, maybe the most interesting and challenging so far.
After a short “acclimatisation” in Punjab (Indian side and then Pakistani one), we left Lahore and headed to the ruins of ancient Mohenjodaro, paid respects at the holy shrines of Multan and soaked up the flavours of the renegades in Peshawar and then crossed the Khyber Pass and its Tribal Areas en route to Afghanistan. A serene day in the tormented Panjshir Valley interlude our experiences with anguished Kabul, prior to strolling around two of the best kept secrets of Central Asia: the town of Herat and the remote Minaret of Jam. Afghan wanders could not have ended in a better place than the remains of ancient Bactria, cradle of civilisations. A quick passing by rejuvenated pearls of Central Asia – Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva in Uzbekistan added another dimension to this epic voyage.
For the time being, only some photos here.
2006 has definitely been a good year. And I’m not referring to the taste of the grapes, the harvests or the stock exchange indexes….as these may be less relevant in the context…..but to how official holidays (such as easter, x-mas, new year and others) and the weekends have fit together in the calendar, thus making a lot of days off, one after another. This, together with the wish to escape the frenzy season holidays, were enough to make me take the next step forward – 3 weeks in the the Far East:
Nepal – Kathmandu, Pashupatinath, Bodhnath, Swayambhunath, Patan, Bhaktapur, Chitwan, Bandipur, Pokhara, Tansen, Lumbini
India – Varanasi, Agra, Delhi, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Pushkar, Jaipur
United Arab Emirates - Umm al Qaywayn, Sharjah, Dubai
For quite some time after the 1990’s I used to look west to the “promised but forbidden lands” of the occidental civilisation, while I thought of the east as a blurred, huge and dull space, whose bad reputation I often associated with the savageness and brutality of the former soviet union. It was not until two years ago that I realised how wrong I was and how strong prejudices can be. Since then, I planned a short trip to Moldova, which I had to postpone again and again for various reasons. Last rescheduling was due to a Moldavian friend working in Bucharest telling me “you have to see Chisinau in spring to understand the poetry of this city”. And so I finally did – a long weekend to a forgotten land, ignored by most Romanian travellers despite of common historic roots. To see what I discovered, go to the little pages I managed to build on Moldova, Chisinau and Soroca.
After suddenly realising I can take 2 weeks off in late August 2006, armed with a map and thanks to the powers given to me by the online air-ticketing services, I decided upon Caucasus – close enough, not quite Europe and therefore appealing and vaguely exotic, easy-to-get visas and last but not least, reasonable flight schedule & price from Austrian Airlines.
And now I’m sorry I could not take a month off, as there were so many places I missed. The ones I managed to see however are listed below:
Azerbaijan – Baku, Suraxani, Sumqayit, Sheki
Georgia – Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Sighnaghi, Davit Gareja, Kutaisi, Gelati, Motsameta, Kazbegi, Ananuri
Armenia – Yerevan, Garni, Geghard, Echmiadzin, Zvartnots, Sevan, Sardaparat, Metsamor
UNDER CONSTRUCTION - links to my Caucasus pages will become available when pages look reasonable enough
I try to share some things about my native country beucase of two reasons: first - travelling during the week-ends keeps me in shape, and second - many places seem either under-represented or presented in a rather subjective manner
- Bucharest - still in need of a lot of work, though
- around Bucharest: Mogosoaia
- Brasov, Bran, Rasnov, Prejmer and Harman - following a long weekend in Brasov in mid july 2006
- Campina - a smart typical Romanian town
- Fortified Churches in Transylvania - an interesting chapter i opened, and which i will try to improve in the coming months
- Why do churches in Romania bear flags? - a fenomenon i recently noticed, and which i will try to document and explain
One of the main symptoms of the “travel bug” (also referred to as “the itchy feet” disease) is the hysteria and persistence with which the patient thinks about future destinations as soon as he/she returned from the previous escapade. Fortunately for some, no effective treatment has been reported yet.
As for me, passing a “travel bug” test would be irrelevant, since I started plans for my next trips even before arriving back home. Here is a list of my leisure travels abroad so far:
1988 - Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Austria, West Germany
1989 - East Berlin
1997 - Poland, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Turkey
1998 - United Kingdom, Belgium
1999 - Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Andorra, Vatican, Malta, Belgium, France
2000 - Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg
2001 - France, Spain, Portugal, Italy
2002 - Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia
2003 - Austria, Switzerland
2004 - Ireland, United Kingdom, Bosnia & Herzegovina
2005 - Finland
2006 - Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nepal
2007 - India, United Arab Emirates, Moldova, Greece, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan
2008 - Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Gabon, Turkey, Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh
2009 - India, Turkmenistan
and i also dream of:
- dark side of AFRICA
- Bhutan and Burma- in april or october
- Mount Hagen festival in Papua New Guinea - august
- Mongolia - summer time
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