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69 Days, 24 Countries, 350 Euro – European Road Trip Gone Wild, the Finale?

European Road Trip

 

Travel brings up a lot of mystifying emotions. How could I feel genuinely connected to the people of Armenia, even without any prior knowledge of their historic plight? Or with the man I spent an evening with deep in eastern Turkey, proprietor of a secretive a bar in a city of strict Islam? Sadness for the Roma people throughout the Balkans, who after centuries have not yet found a home where people treat them as equals? Why do I feel such intense pride for Yotsko, my new Macedonian friend I met in Plovdiv, Bulgaria? Such staunch camaraderie with the Armenian border guards who, on my birthday, decided to not only waive all border fees, but then pay for hotels, meals, and everything else for the next few days. In Mostar, I caught feelings for the war-injured junkie who showed me through a bullet-hole-ridden decaying and abandoned bank tower used as a sniper den during the Bosnian War. I felt completely a part of the Istanbul family who showed such concern at my cold, supplying me with medication, chocolate, and sincere concern every minute I was there. This is all within just the last few weeks. I haven’t mentioned the Georgians that are already my friends within the first 24 hours of being here in Tbilisi. Or, even how I got to Tbilisi.

You may remember my good friend Larissa, the Blonde Gypsy, from such adventures as “just jump in General Tito’s bath and hold the shower head like you’re making an important phone call“. Together, we are incorrigible. When I heard that Larissa would be back in Europe, I prepared for another joust of incorrigible-ness. We were reunited in our favourite section of Europe – the Balkans – this time in Bosnia. The reunion was celebrated over a fine bottle of organic Rakija, with appropriate meze. By the next morning, we had decided to drive my 350 Euro, twenty year old, Renault hatchback –  from Sarajevo, Bosnia to Tbilisi, Georgia. Four thousand kilometers. From Europe, to Asia. The long way. We would head off the next day, by “around 11 or 12, I guess”.

It didn’t seem the slightest bit ridiculous.

European road trip #yogypsy

This was the #yogyspy route – a road trip to end all road trips. Until we start our next road trip.

european road trip

At around  ~2700 metres above sea level, somewhere between Bosnia and Georgia, this really is the road less travelled.

Sunrise in Cappadocia, Turkey

Sunrise in Cappadocia, Turkey

Abandoned winter Olympic bob-sleigh track

Abandoned winter Olympic bob-sled track winding through the mountains above Sarajevo, Bosnia.

Former bank tower, former sniper stronghold. Mostar, Bosnia.

Former bank tower, former sniper stronghold. Mostar, Bosnia.

crowds in istanbul

Istanbul. I just needed to pop down to the supermarket for some milk.

bulgaria road trip europe

Meanwhile, in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Tbilisi Georgia

High above Tbilisi, capital city of Georgia, we are planning the next adventure.

vardia cave city

Plenty of opportunity to just sit and take in the spectacular views, this one in Georgia. Oh, next to an ancient cave city called “Vardzia”.

ani turkey

The city of Ani has been abandoned for several centuries. It was once the capital of the Armenian Empire. It’s not easy to get to.

European road trip

The gang. Phillipa, Larissa, and Nancy. Well done, ladies.

the blonde gypsy

Phillipa and Larissa. I have a thousand photos of these two. This one, I ambushed them with a flash on the streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia. They are the best travel partners you could ever want, and that makes a massive difference to a journey. Today, the gang is one-down. Larissa is now in the Ukraine. The next journey we three take may surprise you all.

 

 

Nancy, the plucky Renault Clio, has indeed been driven for another four thousand clicks. Phillipa held shotgun and Larissa was in my rear vision mirror, keeping the back seat simultaneously warm and cool, all the way from Mostar, to Kutaisi, Georgia – the prologue and epilogue towns of the main event. We tripped through Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia. At one point, according to our GPS, we accidentally skirted across to a remote part of Azerbaijan. Sorry, my bad.

Remote highways. Narrow and bumpy back roads kilometers above the earth. Giant metropolis’s, dusty unknown towns. Lush forests and barren other-worldly landscapes. Rain, sunshine, heat, snow and cold. It’s been a month of incredible diversity of cultures, people, food, and experiences. I couldn’t count the number of kind gestures, meals, phone numbers, and simple hand shakes I’ve been offered. From people of varying ethnicity’s, religions, and cultures. It was a wild ride. We arrived safe and unscathed in the Caucasus – a part of the world I can’t believe I’m in, and plan on spending enough time here to do it justice.

After around 11,000km’s on the road, it’s time to slow it down, and get to know a place.

The words and photos here on this page may be few, but the experiences on this road trip were many.

It was either this brief article, or a novel.

Nate.

PS, sometimes, people become jaded by travel. But, sitting atop the mountain that overlooks Tbilisi, enjoying food and drink with friends, all that Phillipa, Larissa and myself could talk about is what the next journey will be. This will not be the last adventure/collaboration between Yomadic and The Blonde Gypsy.  #yogypsy

PPS, I will be writing a few destination specific articles on some of the more incredible sites and experiences from the last month. I would love it if you would choose to have the next article sent to your email. My email followers are my favourite followers. You get larger photos, and you will have a direct line to me. You will never get spam, and I will never share your email address with anyone.

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22 Responses to 69 Days, 24 Countries, 350 Euro – European Road Trip Gone Wild, the Finale?

  1. Caitlyn Nov 13, 2013 at 5:51 am #

    Absolutely brilliant photos and what an adventure! I’ve loved keeping up to date with where you guys are and your crazy adventures. Starting to think that I need to get myself to Georgia at some stage…

    • Nate Robert Nov 13, 2013 at 6:26 am #

      From what I’ve seen so far, Caitlyn, Georgia is a pretty special place. And yes – it’s been an adventure for sure!

  2. Nate Nov 13, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    Bigger photos!?! I’m in on the email list. Another great recap and blog. Any thought on uploading all your photos to Flickr or something similar?? I’m sure i’m not the only one that would love to see the massive amounts of photos that never made it to your blog or Facebook.

    • Nate Robert Nov 13, 2013 at 6:43 am #

      Sign up Nate, would love to have you onboard the email list (this must be confusing for people reading these comments, us having the same name)… I have thought about Flickr or something similar – I’ll give it some more thought. One thing you’re right about – there are massive amounts of photos that never make it online. Seems a shame, I will have to do something about it.

      • Nathan Nov 13, 2013 at 6:47 am #

        Just signed up and I will post under “Nathan” so as not to confuse people :) . I look forward to seeing what you do with all your photos.

        Take care.

  3. Franca Nov 13, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    What a trip Nate! You’re right, everything is so much nicer when you have the right travel partners. Looking forward to know about your next adventures as a ‘travel team’ :)

    • Nate Robert Nov 13, 2013 at 6:40 am #

      It makes a massive difference, Franca, travelling with good friends who have the same travel “style”. Stay tuned for the next adventure ;)

  4. Adelina Nov 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Lovely photos! Sounds like it was an amazing trip. I would love to drive through the Balkans one day. Soon hopefully :)

    • Nate Robert Nov 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

      Thanks Adelina. The Balkans makes for some spectacular driving – as does Turkey, Armenia and Georgia.

  5. Irv Nov 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    I’ve spent a little time in Zagreb this year (for non-photo business) and found your work whilst researching my first trip. Always beautiful photos and unending enthusiasm. Inspirational. Thank you.

    • Nate Robert Nov 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

      Hey Irv, such kind words, thank you. I don’t set out to inspire, but I must say it feels good when I do. Nate.

  6. Turner Nov 13, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    God I loved this road trip you and Larissa went on. I am jealous. Wish I could have come. So many Stans and out of the way countries few bloggers go to. Looks like it was a sweet ass journey.

    • Nate Robert Nov 14, 2013 at 3:42 am #

      Turner, this one really was epic. Wait until you hear some of the stories…

  7. Don Nov 14, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    Incredible – I can’t wait for the next instalment! I’d love to hear a bit more about Mostar if possible. Best wishes, Don

    • Nate Robert Nov 14, 2013 at 6:50 am #

      Cheers Don… I will see what I can drum up with regards to a Mostar article.

  8. Marie Nov 14, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    Have followed your blog for a few months now, starting as I was warming up for my trip to Serbia and Belgrade. Have now been here for four weeks and have four more. Really enjoyning your blog and the pictures thankyou.

    If you are coming back to Serbia within soon, maybe you could offer me a ride to some places I would love to see but cant reach without a car like Đavolja Varoš and the Bosnian pyramids? I offer good travelcompany in return :-)

    • Nate Robert Nov 18, 2013 at 5:38 am #

      haha.. that’s an offer I can hardly refuse, Marie ;) Make sure if you see me heading back towards Serbia, you contact me.

  9. Bram | Travel. Experience. Live. Nov 16, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    Wow, fantastic pictures and what a great great road trip. It was a joy to read!

  10. Mags Nov 17, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    What an adventure! You’re very lucky to have friends you want to spend that much time with!

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