Saturday, June 11, 2005

To you, who have made my journey (so far) unforgettable.

I have send this message to everyone who I have met along the
way. That's why it's in English. I decide to put it here as well. It is quite a long story but I think I have done a good job telling the story in a interesting way,
but that's for you to decide. I hope you like it.

How it began

During the year of 2004 a creepy idea started growing more intense. It
was the idea that my future was set and already decided. I didn't like
the idea. It made me feel frightened. Fear of missing out on things.
No regrets is one of the rules I live by. So, on the 12th of July 2004
just before I was about to leave work and head for home, I decided
that things had to change and I was the only one who could make the
change. I wrote my girlfriend, with whom I have been with for 8 years,
a letter in which I described her my feelings. It was not only the
feeling of fear. It was about a lot of other stuff too. My girlfriend
is the sweetest girl ever, however, when I arrived home, I gave her
the letter. Tears fell. I broke her heart. I was very very sorry about
that. I hate to hurt other people, but I had to.

We split up. We sold the house. I lived with my friends and family. Started
finalizing work for my employer for I had to see new stuff. Travelling
is a great way to do just that. I got a big time off from my employer
and got rid of my car. Italy is my favourite country. Therefore my
travels had to begin there.


I took a plain to Milaan on the 14th of January 2005 with no
particular goal. Not quite true. In December 2004 I did a snowboard
teacher course for 2 weeks. I love to snowboard. During that periode I
also learned some basic Italian. After arriving in Madonna di
Campiglio I discoveried that my skills of the languase weren't
sufficient for me to be able to teach the ways of snowboarding. So I
went out for a Italian language course in a little village called
Marina di Castagnetto. Together with a Swedish couple and an English
couple I spent 2 weeks there learning a lot of Italian.

During a visit in Pisa (I just had to see that leaning tower with my
own eyes, right?) I met a girl who likes to take matters into her own
hands. She walked up to me while I was sitting next to the tower. A
Danish girl called Stine. We chatted. We stayed at her girlfriends
place. The next day we went to Firenze which concluded in her having
to go back to Geneva where she was for an internship at CERN.

Geneva and Denmark

Being back at the language course and thinking of Stine made me decide
to go to Geneve. I went by train. I stayed at her apartment, had a
good time, smoked water pipe, did some snowboarding and had some nerdy
discussions about physics. After a couple of days she had to go back
to Denmark, because her internship had finished. She owns this funny
little red car. A Ford Fiesta from 1987. It is a great car. We used it
to drive to Denmark together where she lives in a dormitory in Lyngby.
This is few kilometres north of Copenhagen. However we didn't go there
before meeting her parents in Esbjerg where we stayed for a couple of
days. It was a bit awkward to meet some girl's parents after only 3
weeks of travelling. They were very nice. After that we went to Lyngby
where I stayed with her at the dormitory for a month. Her student
friends at the dormitory were very nice to me. I had a good time
spending time there chatting, hanging around in the kitchen, drinking
beer, sowing a kite, going to an opera and a lot more.

Back to Holland

Stine had to go to America for another internship. She gave me her car
which is off course a really nice thing to do. She has been in Iran
for about 6 months and told me that I should definitely go there.
Having this car and the story about Iran made me decide to go there by
car and to go on to India. I drove back to Holland where I spent 2
weeks with friends and family and arranging stuff for this travel. I
equipped my car with a 220 volt device and a vault (safe) mounted in
the trunk, got some vaccinations (to few however, because I didn't
have enough time) and bought a GPS device. For the purpose of writing
stories and keeping al my pictures I also brought my laptop, which I
could keep in the vault. I drove. My car became my home. It has even
got an Ikea drawer box with 4 neat drawers wherein I keep and separate
all of my stuff.


It just happened to be that my friends from Holland where out for a
week of snowboarding in Les Deux Alps. A crazy and fun week. I did 85
km/h on my snowboard only to be overtaken by my crazy friend Sander
who did 104 km/h on the ski. Special thanks go out to Sander because
he bought my house very soon after I put it on the market for sale.
This is one of the things that made my journey possible. The next week
I joined my brother and a lot of other climbing friends from Holland
200 km to the south in Chateauvert for climbing. We had great fun and
did a lot of climbing. I climbed my first 7b and 7c in the rocks. Also
my first 7a+ on sight. The climbers amongst you might know about these

To Turkey

When my brother and the rest headed for home after a week of climbing,
I remained alone and drove through Italy where I wanted to visit some
places I visited years ago with my ex-girlfriend. I also stayed in
Venice (my favourite city in Italy) for a couple of days. It was here
that my GPS device broke and I had to send it to the UK for fixing.
Using the traditional way of navigation I succeeded in driving through
Lubljana (Slovenia), Zagreb (Croatia), Belgrado (Servia) and Sofia
(Bulgary). I stayed in all of those places not longer than half a day.
All together it took me 2 weeks to go from France to Istanbul. It is
quite a distance and it frightened me a bit that I did it in such a
short time. I felt some kind of restlessness and whenever I would feel
like that I would hop into my car and drive on. I was very glad that I
got rid of this feeling in Istanbul where I stayed for 3 weeks.


I stayed at the Antique Hostel for the whole 3 weeks. It is an
excellent place to meet people. The people that I have met and the
things I have seen and done there are almost to much to mention but I
will give a short summary:
- I met a teacher with her class of Turkish girls. She and her student
did a good job, because I had no problem talking with a lot of them.
- Somebody brought to my attention that drawing is fun. I gave it a go
and I loved it. It resulted in some nice drawings too. Thanks Alan.
- I got ripped off with the incredible amount of 1000 Dollar in a
place with some lovely girls (they later appeared to be hookers). At
the time I was drunk. It was a very typical story. And I might have
told you about it. Anyways, 2 weeks later I did some efforts to get
money back. It worked. I got back 500 Dollars.
- Got rid of my restlessness.
- Amongst other things I visited a Hamam, the Yerebatan Sarnice, the
Topkapi palace
- Took a boat over the Bospurus and another one to the third of the
Princess Islands.
- Went out to Taksim for a couple of times.
- I met Olga with whom I had a very good time with my last days in Istanbul.
- Got my Iranian visa.
After meeting a lot of interesting people and too much uninteresting
sales men and most importantly being so that the Iranian embassy
finished my visa, I decided it was time to move on to the south of
Turkey and get a little and meet more people and also some diving.


Coincidence brought me to Oludeniz. A mindbogglingly (learned that
word from the book 'Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy', which I highly
recommend) beautiful place for paragliders and also non-paragliders. I
decided to skip the diving and go for a paragliding course which
eventually would allow me to fly solo. I got a free tandem flight to
check wether I would piss in my pens which altogether wouldn't make me
very suited for the sport. I didn't. Actually I was quite at easy
running from the cliff sloping into the void about 1900 meters above
sea level with a beautiful view on the blue lagoon

After 10 days of not much exciting going on and reading 'The TAO of
conversations' (which I recommend even more… really. You should read
it. It is written by Michael Kahn) and a paragliding course that had
not yet begun, I met Ben, Magluf and Bertrand. They went the next day
for climbing near Antalya. After some complicated brainwork I decided
to skip the paragliding and to join them. The paragliding course was
too fucking expensive anyway and I found the tandem flight not as
thrilling as I expected it to be. Next morning we left for Antalya.
Normally only I fit in my car, because I got an absurd amount of
luggage. All my luggage including that of the 3 other guys had to go
on the roof. It was a funny sight.

Climbing near Antalya

Quite soon after arriving on the climbing camp Jositu 20 km west of
Antalya, we realized that we just found climbers paradise. A very
clean, cosy and nicely priced (3 eur/night) camping surrounded with
beautiful rocks to climb on a convenient distance. Some not further
away then a 2 minute walk. A lot of nature, beautiful little rivers
and a lot of trees and green surrounding us. Basically we did some
serious relaxing, climbing and dog hut building. The dog was very
pleased. Me too, because I climbed a 7a+ en 7b+. After 2 weeks or so
Magluf decided to go meet his sister whilst Ben and I found that we
have tanned en toned our bodies in such a way that finding ourselves
some nice ladies shouldn't be a problem.


Magluf went to Bulgaria where he spent 5 days in prison. Ben and I
drove to Olympus. After arriving there we did some investigation about
where to stay. We chose Bayram's. Usually we sat there at a
strategically chosen spot in the middle of the relaxation area with a
good view over the people hanging around. Soon, we were accompanied by
2 fun guys from Denmark. Soren en Martin were also in serious need of
woman. Day after day we talked about girls, politics, religion, life,
relationships (and, according to Ben, the impossibility of having a
platonic one) and girls. It was great. I also met Nicola which made my
staying there even better. We also had a great time with a lot of
other people hanging around there. We went with a big group to the
chiameara fires.

On to the East

After 4 great days in Olympus we concluded our being together with a
couple of days in Antalya. And discovered that the partying scene in
Antalya is entirely not meant for 4 blond guys seeking fun. I picked
up my GPS device from the post office and just before I wanted to
leave for resuming my journey to Iran, I had a last look at my e-mail
and saw that Nicola was going to be in Konya that night. Being very
keen with that, I drove there and we met the same night. We stayed at
the home of a very sweet and friendly student in Konya. Nicola and I
decided to travel together further to the east. We found that
hospitality of the people increases and prices go down the further you
go to the east of Turkey. Via Sultanhani, al little place called
Hafik, Sivas, Erzincan we ended up in Erzurum, where Nicola took a
plain back to Istanbul.


Remaining alone again, which didn't bother me to much, I went on to
the border of Iran only to find that my car was not allowed inside of
Iran. I missed out some crucial kind of paper called a Carnet and they
didn't trust the fact that the car was not registrated under my name.
I left it at the border and went on by bus to Tehran. I Successfully
applied with the Pakistan embassy for a visa. I lived there for a
couple of days with some students in a dormitory and had the greatest
of time with them. I also celebrated with them the fact that Iran had
won the soccer match against Baihran, which means that Iran is up for
the worldcup in 2006. The celebration was big fun. A huge amount of
people on the main square in Tehran on Val-y-Asr street. Dancing,
singing, clapping, men holding hands, no fights and no alcohol. After
this I went back to the border where I hoped for my car to be allowed
using a letter written in Farsi by the students and a lot of
smiling….. It didn't work.


I haven't seen much traditionally visited sights of Turkey, but have
more or less chosen my destinations by the people I met and the fact
that I had to have my fixed GPS to a trustworthy Poste Restante. Off
course I saw stuff like blue musk, caravansaray and ehhhr…. some more
but they didn't excite me even half as much as the people I met and
talked with. And by people I also mean you. This is why I want to
thank you all for making my journey unforgettable. Talking with you
has made me learn a lot about me and you and much more. I realized
that who you meet is more important than where you meet them. This
amongst some other minor reasons (for example that my car was not
allowed into Iran) made me decide to make a 180 and head back for
Holland. I will take my time for it, just like I did until now.

I hope you have had and will have a great time with your own journey
wherever it has led you until now. Mine hasn't finished yet, so I will
keep my website with stories up to date. As you might know it is
written in Dutch, but there's a translate button (poor English while
it is computer-translated) on the right hand side. If our paths are
likely to more or less cross and you would like to meet, just send me
an e-mail.

Be open-minded, open-hearted and you will have the time of your
life....forever and meet interesting people along the way. Take care
and have fun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

chris je zit aan een meer dat wordt vissen
je vader