69 Days, 24 Countries, 350 Euro – European Road Trip Gone Wild, the Finale?
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.
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.
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.
PS, the final part of the road trip (yes there’s more!) is right here. Or you can start at part one, right here.
23 thoughts on “69 Days, 24 Countries, 350 Euro – European Road Trip Gone Wild, the Finale?”
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…
From what I’ve seen so far, Caitlyn, Georgia is a pretty special place. And yes – it’s been an adventure for sure!
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.
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.
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.
I like the confusion ;) Cheers Nathan.
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’ :)
It makes a massive difference, Franca, travelling with good friends who have the same travel “style”. Stay tuned for the next adventure ;)
Lovely photos! Sounds like it was an amazing trip. I would love to drive through the Balkans one day. Soon hopefully :)
Thanks Adelina. The Balkans makes for some spectacular driving – as does Turkey, Armenia and Georgia.
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.
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.
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.
Turner, this one really was epic. Wait until you hear some of the stories…
Incredible – I can’t wait for the next instalment! I’d love to hear a bit more about Mostar if possible. Best wishes, Don
Cheers Don… I will see what I can drum up with regards to a Mostar article.
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 :-)
haha.. that’s an offer I can hardly refuse, Marie ;) Make sure if you see me heading back towards Serbia, you contact me.
Wow, fantastic pictures and what a great great road trip. It was a joy to read!
It was a joy to take part in, Bram!
What an adventure! You’re very lucky to have friends you want to spend that much time with!
I do feel very fortunate, Mags.
I wish to Europe starting from georgia by bus.is it possible.