What on Earth have I gotten myself into?

Hilversum Travel Blog

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Ancient routes of the Silk Road

The trip I am thinking of undertaking in 2010 isn't your average sort of trip (or at least, I'd like to think so), so this won't be your average sort of blog.

Rather than starting my blog on the day of departure, I'll be keeping a record of my preparations during the 10 months before departure. They might come in useful for anyone who also thinks about heading into this direction. If not, then hopefully it'll put a smile on your face.

The Route

Of all the parts in the world I haven't seen yet (which is still most of it, really) the highest on my list is the Himalaya area. Another place I am dying to see is Iran, which has been high on my list ever since a colleague of mine came back from Iran raving about the country.
Looking at possible routes to combine Iran with the Himalaya I stumbled upon the Silk Road, a series of ancient interconnecting trade routes between the Mediterranean and the Far East.

So the idea for a route came quite simple: start in Istanbul and then follow the general Silk Road route to Southern China, from where I'd turn southbound across the Himalayas into India and on to SouthEast Asia to wind down a bit.

So I entered my general idea of a route into a Travbuddy blog and the resulting map was just mindboggling. I am about to traverse half the world! Overland! Yikes!

The Silk Road part is actually the vagest still, as it will depend on what kind of visas I can get for the "Stans". Guess we'll have to wait and see. As long as I can get to Kazakhstan, as I am really interested in that country. No, not because of Borat, but because last year I went to Mongolia, and Kazakhstan is said to be like it, but with even less tourists.

Okay, I lied, it is because of Borat...

The idea of India freaks me out, really. It has been on my list for many years as it is one of those places you "have to do". But on the other hand I don't really like crowded places. And they say India is crowded... really crowded. So I have no idea how long I will stay there. I'll be travelling with my mate Ed through the Ladakh region for a couple of weeks, but I have no idea if I can muster to travel the rest of the country as well. That said, I have some colleagues in India who I have been working with for four years, so I really look forward to meeting them in real life.

As for Istanbul, well there are several ways to get there. I briefly contemplated the Orient Express, but decided it would put too much a dent in my budget, so I thought of taking the boat out of Odessa instead. Sounds kinda cool, no? To sail across the Black Sea to Istanbul. And besides, I've been told the Ukraine is a nice country as well, so the current plan is to simply hop on a train in my hometown of Hilversum and take the overnight to Berlin and then on to Kiev.

Kiev to Kuala Lumpur... that does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

gejah says:
lijkt mij een hele mooie reis!!
Posted on: Aug 11, 2009
edsander says:
Mate, if we're going to do the Rumtse-Tsomoriri trekking we need to cut down on sheesha's and shape up. It's going to be incrededible in many ways (including incredibly hard). ;-)
Posted on: Jul 28, 2009
_francine_ says:
And goodness... I know you haven't even left yet, but - be safe, 'bro. I need you to come back in one piece to drink all the booze I owe you -)
Posted on: Jul 28, 2009
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Ancient routes of the Silk Road
Ancient routes of the Silk Road
photo by: Biedjee