A few months ago my sister asked me what my next travel plans were. When she found out I wanted to come to Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan and Egypt she excitedly asked to join.
We flew to Erbil from London Stanstead via Madrid and Istanbul. We landed a little after 0100, after about 20 hours of travelling. Passport control was extremely straight forward being British, all we had to do was hand over our passports, have our picture taken and a scan of our thumbs then the passports were returned with a 30 day visa inside. We walked straight through departures and out to find a taxi.
The first taxi driver we spoke to quoted $30 and refused to haggle the price as it was company policy, he did however recommend we jump on a free airport bus which would take us to another terminal which might have cheaper taxi’s. We took his advice and got off at the other terminal, the first driver we spoke to here was again charging $30 for the 8km journey to our hotel but again he was very helpful and walked us to where we could get a cheaper taxi. Finally we had the correct driver and paid him $15 (still expensive but the cheapest option) to take us to our hotel.
Despite seeing road signs for Kirkuk, Mosul and Baghdad Erbil seemed a million miles away from the dangers of those cities. Our hotel was expecting us and was thankfully still open at half 2 and we were quickly given our room key. However when we opened the door the room had other peoples belongings in. As the man at thew desk spoke hardly any English we had to physically show him what was wrong. He was very embarrassed but found us a new room in a couple of minutes. Both of us were too tired to do much other than reply to a couple of messages and then go to sleep.