So as I near my 100th actual real life country, I thought it was a good time for a post on my personal favourite passport stamps from the first 99 countries on my route. It has been a long journey through the years, weary long and slow border crossings, huge visa delays, forms filled in incorrectly, overstaying of visas etc. There are some countries that now don’t give passport stamps anymore, some borders that don’t feel like borders but still the joys of a passport stamp and the entering of a new country always excite me. Any excuse for another entry in my Travel Collectables series. Incidentally (and perhaps ironically) some of my top 5 stamps are not even countries, but just cool stamps I’ve had! These are my top 5 so far, just the passport stamps, not the visas (which will be a separate post for visas).
1. Port Lockroy, Antarctica
I’d already been in Antarctica for a few days by the time we reached the British Base at Port Lockroy and it was now time to head to the Post Office, post some postcards and get my passport stamped. It was on Remembrance Day 2010, a moment I’ll never forget. Make sure you have a Visa for Antarctica though, as you don’t want to get kicked out amongst the icebergs!
2. Republic of Uzupis
The self proclaimed zany Republic of Uzupis was one of my most recent passport stamps. This country has its own money (the Uzas), its own beer, its own flag, entrance sign and border, from Lithuania. Even though Uzupis is still within the city of Vilnius! I enjoyed exploring the key sights of arty Uzupis.
3. Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan
My favourite thing about the Iraqi Kurdistan stamp is the date. We flew into the capital city, Erbil on New Year’s Eve ready for the huge new year party and what a party it was – New Year’s Eve in Iraq. Despite what you might think, visiting Iraq is easier than expected – you can certainly visit the Kurdistani part of Iraq without a visa, either overland or by flying into Erbil or Sulaymaniyeh, as we did.
4. Machu Picchu, Peru
It was always a dream of mine to hike the four day Inca Trail all the way to Machu Picchu in Peru and what an adventure it was. This is another stamp I love because of the date. We arrived into Machu Picchu on Christmas morning with the mist coming up. It was simply amazing. It was the 25th December 2010 which is stamped on my Machu Picchu passport stamp. I’ve written a detailed storyline of my Inca Trail on 25 different articles, starting with Day 1 Part 1.
5. San Marino City, San Marino
I think San Marino City is the only place on my travels where I paid to have my passport stamped. It’s not essential – you can cross the border from Italy no problem without a passport but I wanted it as a souvenir at the time so I headed to the post office. San Marino is also the world’s oldest Republic and a cool country to backpack in. Sorry the photos a bit faded – this is the only one I had – the passport ink ran out in a lot of my old stamps.
So as I renew my passports, apply for a few more visas, I can’t help but wonder where my next passport stamp will be. As ever. It excites me to travel the world and pick up more travel collectables along the way.
Where have you had the quirkiest or coolest passport stamps from (not visas)?