The journey has started
Istanbul (Turkey) to Erzurum (Turkey), Jun-16-07 / Jun-21-07
Finally, after more than a year of preparation our journey has started. We are on our way! At the moment of writing, we are at the bus of Istanbul to Erzurum (East Turkey), a ride of 19 hours. Perfect times to sit back, relax, and realize that we are finally on the road. Over a year ago, we decided to go and travel over the world for an undefined number of year, just because it has always been a dream to do so. We think it is great to explore the world without time pressure or a tightly scheduled plan. Obviously, we are taking our backpacks with us and we are travelling on a small daily budget. This is the way of travelling that we like most. Using public transport, staying in small family run hotels and eating in the same restaurants as the locals do, is the way to get to know the country more in depth. Moreover, a small travel budget forces you to travel more slowly, and that means that you have more time available for the different places you visit.
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul at sunset
The real preparation for our journey started in April 2006, when we put up our house on sale. From that moment on, everything we did was in the name of our journey. We sold the house in October 2006 and that was the time that we decided to leave in June 2007. We also decided that we wanted to start the journey in Asia and not Africa or Latin America. The reason is that we did not travel in South East Asia before, with the exception of Myanmar (Burma). On June 16th 2006 we said goodbye to our family, and with tears in our eyes we took the flight to Istanbul. This beautiful city along the Bosporus is the start of our long cherished journey. We stayed four days in Istanbul and used the days mainly to take a rest, after the busy months we had before. We made some wonderful strolls through different neighbourhoods of the city, took some ferries across the Bosporus and had some wonderful dinners. After four days of relative luxury in Istanbul, the journey really starts with a 19-hours bus ride to Erzurum in the far east of Turkey.
A delicious kebab, available everywhere

From Erzurum will we travel to the Turkish border town Dogubayazit from where we will cross the Turkish-Iranian border. We decided consciously to visit Turkey in more detail later on in our journey. The reason for travelling fast to Iran and Pakistan is to reach the North of Pakistan before the second half of August, to do a trekking to the K2-basecamp. It is not possible to do the trekking later on in the summer because of the higher risk for avalanches, as result of the higher temperatures. But ok, these are future issues. At this moment our main concern is to ‘survive’ the 19-hours bus ride to Erzurum. This is tough enough, especially when you know that somebody just put off his shoes in the bus, resulting in a bad smell. The smell is so bad, that even the eau-de-cologne odour sprayed by the bus crew kicks the bucket. The journey has started!

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