This trip has been about a year in the making. I have, at this point, a well documented obsession with Kurdistan. It has an often-hard-to-define charm, some sort of invisible charisma. That very magnetism was one of the leading factors in my actively seeking to return. I knew there was still so much more to be seen, and this trip is the culmination of that ambition to explore wider reaches of this amazing country I had either passed through briefly or not yet seen altogether.
I hope this post, or I guess this string of 3 posts (as this is part 1/3; only covering days 1 and 2 of 6 total) helps convey that truth. I don’t need to convince myself any further of the merits and beauty of this place, but I still find myself having to take that approach with others, who when hearing that I live in northern Iraq/Kurdistan try to contextualize it within shallow ISIS jokes or complete and unshakable closemindedness.
So to keep this simple, I’ll let the photos explain my passion for this place, and I’ll explain only as much as I need to. These photos are from many of the different vistas and highlights I had over my 1700 kilometer trip that at various points crossed over three of Kurdistan’s four governorates.
I left Duhok Saturday morning, October 31st, passing through familiar terrain and towns I’ve now been to a few times; including Zawita, Sarsink, and Amedi. Five kilometers east of Amedi, I was exploring new ground for myself.
I spent the night in Shaqlawa at the end of Day 1, having ridden 270 kilometers. Day 2 was Shaqlawa-Souleymaniyah.
I took many deliberate detours over the course of 6 days, on the second day I took an hour to drive through Rawanduz Canyon. I revisited Rawanduz a few days after, but wanted to catch a quick glimpse of one of the major tourist destinations of Kurdistan.
After Rawanduz I kept my route more direct…. And by direct I mean taking every long looping back road possible.