Backpacking in the Middle East: Top 5 Memories

Backpacking in the Middle East: Top 5 Memories

The Middle East holds so many tourist memories for me. While I personally love the region, I still don’t like (or understand) the term “middle east”, which should really include Mongolia right? It’s pretty middle! And pretty east!! Yet Mongolia escapes this moniker or bracket. But let’s call everything in the Middle, and East of Northern Ireland as Middle East and you’ll confuse people. China is Middle East, so is Paraguay, so is Central African Republic! Generally though we somehow think of it as Arabic countries. We became racist thanks to the liberals. No irony from my right wing Ulster heart tonight.

“In your head they are dying” – Dolores O’Riordan.

One of my favourite villages on this journey – Amadiya in Iraq.

From the welcoming country of Iraq, the whackpacking in Nagorno Karabakh, the wacaday journey to Karakalpakstan, we let love get lost in anger, chasing yesterday.

“We let love get lost in anger chasing yesterday” – Noel Gallagher.

1.Bahrain to Saudi Arabia Border
For me anyway, Saudi Arabia was once the hardest visa to get. That was until I got rejected by Elleore and didn’t go backpacking in Sealand in 2015. But in the same year, I managed to leave Bahrain yet not arrive in Saudi Arabia. It was a nice try as I drove onto the famous King Faisal Highway. I still have my Saudi money, Ayran and photos. But alas, I was never officially in Saudi Arabia. I’ll add this to my World Borders Series sometime.

At the Bahrain to Saudi Arabia border control

Bahrain to Saudi Arabia border

2.Hiking in Amadiya, Iraqi Kurdistan
Admittedly there was a bit of hitch hiking and taxis involved, but we still managed a cheap trip to gorgeous Amadiya, back in 2014. I loved the freedom and views from the top of the old city walls. A highlight from 12 days in Iraqi Kurdistan back in the day.

This is the view from the walls of Amadiya in Iraqi Kurdistan.

3.Understanding United Arab Emirates
At first I didn’t really get what “United Arab Emirates” really was. Officially I have had 3 visits to the country, and yes all leaving the airport with stamps. Yet I have only really backpacked 2 of the 7 Emirates. I was well aware of the Grand Prix out there though and my brother got some Ferrari world Abu Dhabi tickets a few years back. After a trip to Dubai and some Abu Dhabi tours, you might be ready to explore the other Emirates. I visited Sharjah in 2015.

backpacking in dubai jonny blair

Three Must Do Activities while in Dubai

4.Palestine Beer Festival
IN 2013, I was invited to a beer festival. Standard, yes. But in Palestine? Unusual. What buck eejits forget os that Palestine has Muslims, Jews, Christians all living side by side. And it did until “Israel” was created and walls were built.

Another random travel moment – being interviewed for the camera again at the Taybeh Oktoberfest in Ramallah, Palestine.

A free Palestine T-Shirt in Hebron

hebron backpacking

Backpacking in Hebron, Palestine: 2 sides to the same city.

5.Sunset in Kuwait
I’ve thrown in an oddball here with the country of Kuwait. I got my visa on arrival at the airport, checked into two great hotels for a hat trick of days and loved my time here. I was alone watching sunset thinking what a wonderful world.

One of many Mosques in Kuwait City

Backpacking in Kuwait

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