Someone asked me the other day about some of the highlights – here’s some of them, excluding my time in Crete:
- Best journey – sitting on the back of a scooter, wearing full backpack, getting a lift from Olympos up to the main road. About 11km of narrow, winding roads, on a small scooter. Certainly a lot more fun than the minibus, although perhaps not quite so safe…
- Best country – has to be Turkey. Nice people, nice place, so much to see and do. I could (and will) go back and spend a lot more time there. Just a nice, relaxing, low stress place to travel. A little more expensive than I expected, but I imagine that will only get worse if/when they ever join the EU, which I hope they do. Jordan would be the second-best country I think – again, it’s the people that make it. After all the hassle of Egypt, it was so nice to be in Jordan.
- Best town – Goreme, in Cappadocia, Turkey. If I didn’t force myself to leave when I did, I could still be there. Just a crazy landscape, with a lovely relaxing town to base yourself in. Heaps of good, well-priced places to stay in too. Go to the Kose, and get Spotty the dog to take you for a walk through the valleys.
- Best experience – getting a haircut, shave and massage in Turkey. My head has never been so well looked after. I’ve never had a haircut involving a lighter before. I don’t know how many different steps were involved in the complete procedure, but it’s not that expensive, and such a cool thing to do. Cut-throat razors certainly make for a smooth shave.
- Scenery – would have to be in the Sahara, just feeling lost amongst the vastness of it. You start to understand why the Arabs think of it as a sea. Just a feeling of vastness, and terrible power and beauty. Second place would be Cappadocia, for all the weird land formations.
- Graeco-Roman sites – Leptis Magna in Libya is pretty hard to beat. A huge city, with only part of it uncovered. The ampitheatre is particularly well-preserved.
- Best city – on this trip, but outside the Middle East would be San Francisco. In the Middle East, Istanbul was awesome. Amazing location, with huge oil tankers cruising right through the middle of the city.
- Best bar (outside Crete) – Spitfire Bar, in Alexandria. Like a Bangkok bar, but without the girls. Quoting from their business card in front of me ‘If yoy come to Alexandria, dont miss to drop into the “Spitfire Bar” where you will find good drinks And any kind of Music.’ Quite. I liked their system for keeping track of how much you’ve had – rather than throw out the empties, they create a pile just for you, then count them up when you go. So much easier than paying per beer.