Today’s Blogtember post: If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do? (bonus points for fun photos from Pinterest, but don’t forget to cite the source!)
Wow. I’m so not sure what I’d do if I could take three months off. Me, and the OH had an idea of cycling the West coast of the USA to Vancouver Island when I finished the PhD. However, I’d really like to explore Europe a bit more. It’s closer; we wouldn’t have to fly and as much as I like BC, I’m not such a big fan of california. Of course, the OH would also have to take the time off! As this is completely, make-believe, I have decided that we can cover all of these places and have magical powers that will transport bikes and gear from place to place.
So, the plan would be to start in the south and meander north. That way, we would stay with the good weather. I’ve always been curious about Armenia and the States between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Right now, they may not be the safest of places, but as this is imaginary, I’m going to say they are.
Albanian church ruians by Orta Zyzit village. Source: Wikitravel
We would start in Baku, Azerbaijan and cycle across the country to Armenia. From Baku, we would travel to Shamakhi, which is an ancient city that started in the 5th Century BC. There seems loads to do around there, including exploring the Gulistan Fortress. From Shamkhi, we would travel westwards to Qäbälä. Turning north, we would go to Şäki, and then hopefully find a boat that would take us across to Ganja. From there, we would travel through to Armenia. Hopefully by then our legs would have started to work properly as Armenia is a very hilly/mountainous country!
Gulistan Fortress. Source: Wikitravel
Sheki street view. Source: Wikitravel
Armenia sounds amazing. I’m not particularly religious, nor do I really like sight-seeing, but I get the impression that simply being in Armenia is a totally historical and cultural adventure. Armenia was the first ‘officially’ Christian country and there are many monastries to attest to this fact. However, its architencure and scenery that I find interesting – and Armenia has that in buckets. Apparently, it also has climbing. Although, it appears to be with ropes and I’m not so fond of that.
Armenia. Source: Tourist-destinations.com
Armenian Church. Source: Wikimedia; Konrad Kuhn
Symphony of Stones-Khosrov Reserve. Source: Noahs Travel
Cycling in Armenia. Source: Natoura
I think I’d treat Turkey as a rest. We’d travel through and explore it, but either hire a car, or take some other form of transport to get to the Mediterranean side and get a ferry up to Greece. On the way, I’d like to explore the eastern Anatolian regions, as we would be coming from Armenia. I think we’d stop in Van, and go to Ani and Nemrut Dagi mountain to look at the statues on the top before heading into central Anatolia. Here, I’d like to see Cappadocia, which looks really cool! I would also expect there to be some climbing too. Urfa is an old/ancient city in the southeastern Anatolia region of Turkey. It looks beautiful and Middle Eastern in architecture. We’d then travel to Pamukkale which has amazing thermal spas, stay there for a couple of days and then make a move to Greece and back into Europe.
Cappadocia Houses. Source: Wikitravel
Pamukkale thermal baths. Source: Wikitravel
Urfa. Source: gmdergi.com
I’ve never been to Greece. Everyone says that I should go. I would love to explore the islands and hop between them on a boat. I’ve been so interested in the history of the place that exploring would be one long learning experience. The food is some of the best that I’ve ever had too. I would leave the itenerary completely open and just see where the wind takes us. We would be back on the bikes again, and would probably try to keep to the south of the country so that we could then take the ferry across to Brindisi. So, these are some pictures of things that I would like to explore.
Navagio Bay, Zakynthos, Greece. Source: Classic Adventures via Mike Gerrard
Matala, Crete Greece. Source: Classic Adventures via Carrie & Mike Groff
I’ve been to Italy many times. My brother lives there, and I’ve gone at least once a year for the last couple of years. I think that exploring it by bike would give a totally different perspective. As Italy is pretty cycling mad, I hope I would survive the experience. Also, the food is pretty damn awesome. My sister-in-law comes from Italy, and I love her region of Puglia. The food, the people, the wine are all fantastic. Not so much the roads, but I recall seeing many cyclists so hopefully I wouldn’t die! I’d like to explore more to the south, as I’ve never been. The scenery is beautiful and I would love to go back. The coastal roads are so beautiful, and I’ve explored some of them but I’d like to explore more. I’d like to finish a day in Santa Cesarea Terme.
Piedmont, Italy. Source: A Luxury Travel Blog
Cycling in Puglia. Source: A Luxury Travel Blog
Santa Cesarea Terme. Source: Fabrizio Arati
I think by the time that we arrived in Italy and explored the southern part of it, there would be no time to do anything else! We’d probably have to find our way to Rome and make our way back home. It would be an amazing trip though. And of course, we’d somehow manage to bring climbing stuff with us as well.