Two years ago I was celebrating my 150th country visited in Iceland. That’s only 25 new ones in 2 years, as reaching new countries at this stage is getting increasingly difficult. Now I finally reached my next milestones: Iraq.
So I arrived in Erbil, in the Kurdistan région of northern Iraq 2 days ago in one of the worst times of the year to visit, in mid-August. This means 45 degrees temperatures in the shade… But it I’ve seen this before and since it’s dry heat, it doesn’t seem that bad. I am sitting in its incredible 7000 years old citadel as I am writing this. It feels incredible to be here, as of all the countries I’ve visited, this is most probably the oldest historical site I have seen! Just 2 weeks ago I was stunned by the beauty of the ancient Romain city of Timgad in Algeria, which is about 1700 years old… And this place is more than 4 times older! It’s really hard to put this into perspective in my mind to be in such an ancient place that has seen so many civilizations before me.
Most people will ask me if I am scared to be in Iraq? Not really… I did my research very well before coming and I know where to go and where not to go. It is true that it is not the best time to visit, as Mosul, which is just about 100km away has just been liberated, and the government’s assault one of the last ISIS strongholds of Tal Afar coincidentally started yesterday. But from Erbil in Kurdistan, it is pretty safe and quiet and all foreigners I’ve met yet feel absolutely safe.