Day 7. I’m wearing thermal underwear. Suat is bringing me from Dogubeyazit to the border. I’ve been in Dogu before, and had some problems here, on my way to Australia by EV. Suat already helped me back then. Let’s see if we can enter Iran today. It think my chance is 5%.
The sights are again spectaculair
Exited Turkey. Now in the always weird no man’s land. So far so good.
Oké bad luck. Iran is still closed for tourists. It’s not a shock, as the omicron case didn’t improve over the past weeks I expected this. I anticipated this and have a plan B but need to double check if on that route nothing changed. Will announce new plans asap.
On the upside: I still have my visa for Iran so if they reopen in the coming period I can make my way back home via Iran and can spend more time in the country than the 4 days I had now. Winning!
In the dolmus back to Dogubeyazit
Already on a 18 hour bus that is part of plan B and I haven’t even been able to check if this plan is still possible. Im on a nuts race against the clock.
Here’s my new plan. I’m now on a bus to Iraq. From there I fly to Jordan. From Amman I can continue by land to Saudi Arabia. Catch a train and eventually arrive in Abu Dhabi by bus.

This involves flying as by land was not possible anymore. I’ve chosen the shortest air route.
This is really sweet. My friend Armin was waiting for me at the Iranian side of the border. His family had prepared a welcome breakfast and send this nice video. Hopefully I can meet them on the way back!

(Posted with permission)
Quick toilet stop earlier today. It’s special area Kurdistan. Not just the snow but the people, houses, colours, all are very characteristic. Can’t really explain it. Something you have to see probably
Arrived in Diyarkabir after a 9.5 hour bus ride. I’m starting to feel a bit exhausted from the rush of the past days. Although I’m spending most time on a seat, all the moving in between and now the stress of switching to a new plan, I can feel it. In 1.5 hours next ride to Erbil
The bus ride I did today and the ride coming up.
Coach services in Turkey seem to be the common way of intercity travelling. It’s well arranged. You go to terminal (Otogar), show your passport and you receive your ticket by SMS or voucher. All busses so far departed exactly on time. Tea and coffee served. Drivers change often.
Crossed the Iraqi border at 4am last night. Quite the experience. Had a PCR test but “expired” so had to do one there for $35. Gave a €50 note, got a $10 bill and local cash in return. Swab in my nose but could enter without the result. Visa was $70
On the right first passport check, left “Covid Test Lab”
Reached Erbil at 8.30. Spend 20 hours on the bus with no sleep. Feeling very weird right now. Kurdish Iraq really is Middle East. Can’t wait to see more of the city.

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More from @WiebeWkkr

8 Jan
Good morning! At 8 I was awakened by the morning sun and I haven’t stopped staring outside the Dogu Express since. Incredible landscapes! ImageImageImageImage
UAE newspaper The National also wrote a nice article ahout my trip.…
This is the @_DiningCar of the Dogu Express. They serve snacks, Turkish bread, tea of course, coffee but no warm meals. ImageImage
Read 13 tweets
7 Jan
Day 5. I’m in Ankara and just did a PCR test for Iran. It’s one of the challenges of travelling in these times.
Now I have some time to see the city. At 17.55 I’m taking the Dogu Express to Erzurum. I think this will be one of the highlights of the trip.
At Anıtkabir, Ataturk’s Mausoleum. Massive impressive complex. Image
I like it that most people on the streets in Turkey wear a mask. It’s not a rule here but people do it out of respect to others. Asian mentality, much more caring.
Unlike in Netherlands where the mentality is: not mandatory to wear a mask? Why do it?
Read 6 tweets
6 Jan
Good morning. It’s day 4 and I’m in Istanbul. Starting with a delicious Turkish breakfast. Cheese pide and menemeh
Just crossed the Bosphorus Bridge. I’m really in Asia now
At Sogutlucesme Railway Station now. Airport Security style check at the entrance.
Read 10 tweets
5 Jan
Günaydın Istanbul! Do I need to say more?
I reached the city around 6 this morning. Got me a chai and pide and rushed to the Bosphorus to see the sunset. Behind me is the bridge that connects to Asia. Quite unbelievable that within 48 hours I reached Asia from Amsterdam, by land
In my original plan I wanted to enter Iran on January 7 so should have continued today. As the border is closed until Jan 9 I now have 2 extra days in Turkey. So will spend 1 night here and tomorrow in Ankara for sightseeing.
So here is some news. The event I was supposed to speak at the Expo has been cancelled. Really a big let down, I have been preparing and looking forward to this for months and was well on the way.
I do still feel like continuing the trip and hopefully I’ll find another platform.
Read 7 tweets
4 Jan
Good morning from the Dacia Express. This is the day 2 thread!
Had a decent sleep although two times interrupted by police who came in to check passports and the train stopped a few times.
The best part was waking up: love to stare outside and see the cloudy landscape pass by.
I will be on this train until 4pm. Then I have 4 hours in Bucharest to get a proper meal and find the bus terminal. Keep following as I’m going to explore this train today.
Just went to the @_DiningCar. Looks pretty neat. Sadly they don’t take cards and didn’t have time to take out money so I’m surviving on some peanut bars my mom gave me. I thought they would come in handy.
Read 13 tweets
3 Jan
I'm gone! Amsterdam - Dubai by train, bus and ferry. In 10 days I'll try to cross 9 countries and the Persian Gulf to speak at @expo2020dubai.
Looking forward to my trip. Love slow travel, meeting new people and seeing the scenery gradually change.
This is the route that will take me to Dubai. It'll be an adventure for sure. Iran is closed right now and if it doesn't open on time I need to find another way.
Today's first task is to reach Vienna. Just one short stop in Frankfurt.
So far so good. Just crossed German border. Train is fully packed. Even people standing. Might be a lot people who are returning home from Christmas.
Read 17 tweets

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