In 1989, as the Berlin wall was about to crumble, German airline executive Gunther Holtorf and his wife Christine were setting out on what was supposed to be an 18-month tour of Africa in their Mercedes Benz G Wagen. Twenty-three years and 800,000km later, Gunther and Otto (as the car is now affectionately known) are still going strong.
In what must be the definition of Wonderlust, Holtorf has now visited 200 countries including North Korea, crossed the Sahara desert and has even made it 5,200m up Mount Everest, all without a major breakdown.
There is something incredibly inspiring and hopelessly tempting about such an open-ended trip. The only limit to where you can travel next is your imagination and perhaps the ferry timetables. There won’t be any holiday-blues, when the overland holidays never end.
The Middle East – the ‘Cradle of Civilisation’ – where religions are born and legends created. Not only an epicentre of early culture and tradition, but also a hub of rampant modernity where skyscrapers rise from the desert and ruins resonate with sound of holy prayer.
Where the smell of spices mixes with perfume and leather in the bazaar, whilst a story-teller spins an ancient yarn under a starry sky.
It’s this kind of romantic vision that today forms the guidebook backdrop to Middle East adventures.
But you can’t just turn up in any old town and expect an adventure straight out of the Arabian Nights.
When it comes to the Holy Lands, it helps to know where you’re going and what you’re doing. So, if you do fancy heading that way in the near future, here’s a few places to get you started.
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