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

European Road Trip

 

T

ravel 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.

It’s simple. I 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.

It didn’t seem the slightest bit ridiculous.

 

European road trip #yogypsy
This was the 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
Nancy.
the blonde gypsy
Sarajevo.

 

Nancy, the plucky Renault Clio, has indeed been driven for another four thousand clicks. Phillipa held shotgun, keeping the seat simultaneously warm and cool, all the way from Mostar, to Kutaisi, Georgia – the prologue and epilogue towns of the trip. 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.

Nate.

PS, the final part of the road trip (yes there’s more!) is right here. Or you can start at part one, right here.

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

  1. 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…

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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. 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’ :)

  4. 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.

  5. God I loved this road trip you and Phillipa 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.

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

  7. 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 :-)

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