The old walled city is not really amazing but I did get to meet a few interesting characters.
Family anecdotes are rarely of wider interest, but an eyewitness report from a real live tourist in Iraqi Kurdistan is out of the ordinary. The laid-back Lonely Planet guidebooks, which give advice on trekking on Tajikistan, avoiding warlords, jihadists, and opium growers, are short on solo travel to Iraq:
You would have to be mad.
My imprudent son has done it, and his account on his pseudonymous travel blog is here.
The bottom line is that Arbil is an unsafe and lifeless dump by the standards of the places “Arabin” has spent the last six months in: of Urumqi, Osh, Khiva, and Batumi. Independently, we know Kurdistan has a unusual degree of political freedom, against which it is exceptionally corrupt. By itself, we would see it as just another of the flyblown Stans. It is only a beacon of order and civility by the crazed standards of the horror into which we – the USA and its British accomplice – have sunk the rest of Iraq.