Dawn. The wilds of Buckinghamshire. After a shower, I limber up, Tyson Fury-like, for the gruelling walk ahead. Deep breath, let’s do this!
Thanks for your kind birthday messages. I'm not big on birthdays and usually bury my head in the sand and shut down FB. But this year was spent in semi isolation - albeit happily - and it was especially good to hear from friends and family.
What a final fortnight in the Middle East - hiking through Jerusalem and Bethlehem finishing up with a splash in the sea by the Gaza Strip. I stayed all over the place - a Kibbutz dormitory, a derelict house in an Orthodox Jewish village and a Palestinian Peace Hostel.
Having dipped my toes in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and now fleetingly, Israel, I wanted to try and simplify the Syrian war, one which many seasoned hacks describe as the ‘most complex' they've ever witnessed..
Greetings from Jerusalem! Since reaching this part of the world, the atmosphere has been so high octane and fascinating I don't really want to sleep - just walk, talk, write, walk, talk, write...Which may explain my ramblings on the war in Syria at the end of this post for anyone with the stamina.
Lots to report including hitting 500 days and 6000 miles.
Hope 2020 has got off to a cracking start for you all. I certainly had a White New Year with snow everywhere - but this was more than made up for the incredible warmth and generosity of the rural Turks.
Ho... Ho... Hope this finds you in the festive spirit! Did you know Santa comes from Turkey? Total mileage walked is now 5722 miles (9208 kms). Here's the last few diary entries of 2019...
Sadly, due to insurmountable long term visa issues, my Russia dream is kaput, so I'm now taking a Middle Easterly route and the good news - I am still in splendid, snow blasted Turkey, a place that has really won my heart.