The winter sun was just strong enough to keep me warm while waiting for the shared taxi to leave. It was alarmingly quiet, but suddenly, we left, and in one hour, the driver steered his taxi up the steep road to Amedi. I was very excited: as soon as I had heard about Amedi, or Amadiya as it is also called, I was determined to see it with my own eyes. To my surprise, I found quite some snow in the streets while I walked to the southern edge of town. Amedi is built on top of a table-mountain, and the buildings occupy every inch to the very edge on all sides. When I stood on top of the cliffs on the southern edge of town, I could see a mountain range with snow in the distance, and rugged, bare landscape between them and me.
Walking back to the other side of town, a bunch of well-dressed school kids followed me, practicing their English, and pointing out some sights. When I reached the northern edge, they had disappeared, and I now looked at yet another mountain range. I meandered back through town, passing a slender minaret and the market where I saw plenty of traditionally dressed Kurds, before I left town. I followed the road to the south, which was virtually empty, and since I was walking towards the sun, I started feeling warm. I looked back frequently, and the plateau on which Amedi is built, was always a little further away. Just before I reached the foot of the mountain range to the south, I was surrounded by sheep, and the friendly shepherd tried to strike up a conversation, and with sign language, even managed to let me know that he had two suns and two daughters. He seemed to ask what I was doing, but how would I ever be able to explain that I was merely zooming out for a better view of Amedi, and that I would walk back again - just for fun?
When I walked back towards Amedi, I saw my shepherd friend in a distance, waved, and took a dirt track heading west. I wanted to try to walk around the base of the plateau of Amedi, without really knowing if this was possible at all. The track gradually deteriorated, and ended up being a one-person trail. I was still going in the right direction, and was rewarded great views of poplar trees in their winter suit, and glimpses of the skyline of Amedi high above me. When I struck a dirt track again, I knew my plan would work out; I crossed the river, hiked up to Sulav. It turned out to be a collection of largely empty restaurants, some shops selling honey, nuts, and other stuff. I saw a waterfall, and followed a path up the mountain, past cascades. This was typically a summer spot: I was the only person around, and all the bars, ice cream parlours, and such, were closed. I walked the busy road towards Amedi, turned north, as I wanted to get a better view of the mountains under a delicate layer of snow. The road turned quite steep, and was still under construction. There were no real views of Amedi from here, and as it was getting dark, I headed down. The sun was about to set behind the mountain range in the south when a car picked me up for the ride back to Duhok; fully satisfied, but hungry as hell.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Amedi (Iraq). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Amedi. Read more about this site.