It was the summer of 2014 that I got a call from someone on the grund in Erbil in desperate need of a ticket home to Norway. IS was about to capture Mosul, just 80kilometers away and she was afraid that they would continue further into the Kurdish region of Iraq. I did a quick search and found a ticket for 100euros. I almost couldnt believe my eyes. Never had I seen a flight that far, costing that little.
Tourism in the Iraqi city of Erbil has not yet picked up and when I did another search, 3 years later I still found the same price and booked a ticket for myself.
Since then the city has been very safe, compared to the rest of Iraq and has only suffered a two attacks in recent time-nothing more than the average European Capital and certainly less than cities like Istanbul which most people still would consider safe.
The Kurdish Areas in Northern Iraq are visa free for stays up to 15 days and their airport and roads are very developed thanks to the big amount of oil that has been produced in the area. Im starting to get excited about going there in just about two weeks, but the timing of my visit could have been better.
American and Kurdish forces have just started to push forward in Mosul and in a couple of months IS will most likely have been giving up Iraqs second largest city. This has made them upset and they have sent out warmings that tourist hotels and expat communities will be targeted. I’ll start by staying low and see how it feels there while Im on the ground. It sure it will be interesting!