A day outside of this city
Spring is here! The weather is beautiful. Travelling outside of Erbil is blissful, the mountains, clear sky, open road, and green scenery makes this region a heaven. While driving to Harir, which is approximately an hour and 20 minutes away from the city, I was mesmerized by the beauty of Kurdistan. On my way there, families had come out together for a picnic to enjoy the stunning weather, little children were playing with kites, and for a millisecond it all seemed like a dream – a nation subject to multiple genocides and ethnic cleansing campaigns is gradually healing the heart of its soil.
Just before reaching Harir, there were local stalls selling ‘made in Kurdistan’ products; Pomegranate salad sauce, sunflower seeds, sweets and other goodies. It was beautiful for many reasons – people often complain about the lack of locally produced products, and second because we’re finally at that stage in our history where we are rebuilding the region’s structure.
Seeing reconstruction sites on the way, new ‘shortcut’ roads’ being built puts a warm smile on my face, knowing that we’re getting closer and closer to our goals. There is a double-sided road being built from Erbil city to Kore. I was able to catch a glimpse of it, when completed it will cut down my journey to Harir by at least 20 minutes because the route will not be going through Shaqlawa and Masef – the roads of which are rather busy.
The few things that come to mind while travelling would be the lack of attention given to the environment by locals. Litter on the roads, and pavements covered with Pepsi cans, and empty crisps packs. When we preserve the environment, and our cities, we are preserving our future. We do ourselves a disservice by being careless during trips, picnics and other outdoor activities when we litter, and ruin the beautiful image of Kurdistan.
What this region needs is more tour guides to help locals go hiking (yes, people go hiking!) and more importantly information about each village. As I passed the villages on my way to harir, Dawdawa, Shenawa, Sesawa, Xrwatan and many more incredibly beautiful villages I couldn’t help but wonder what the history of these villages are. For instance, ‘Shenawa’ simply means greenery, which means there must be a reason why this village came to be known with such a name.
My trip was delightful; it was a journey into the past and back to the present. I really believe that we have to get away from this city sometimes to really get an image of where we are, and what we are surrounded with. At times, Erbil can be overpowering, and we lose a sense of reality, as well as the things that matter most. Taking a day or two off gives us back that sense of optimism, and reenergizes our curious souls.