A little Maldives experience in Erbil

Hello Loyal Reader!

Today, after five days at a friend’s village house overlooking majestic mountains and the breath-taking river in Rezan, a two-hour drive from the heart of Hawler (the new tunnel is magic. I swear). It feels as though I am packing to return home from a Maldives trip.

Much needed time for us after three months in quarantine/ self isolation – Erbil, Kurdistan

No exaggeration.

We have breakfast on a sini outside- local yoghurt, honey, and panir all with chai, did I mention home-made nan? Two chais too.

By day it is the warm sun and cool waters. I could sit for hours listening to the water flow under the shade of a tree with ripe fruits of some sort. If I really wanted to I could dip my feet in the cold flowing water. Replace the coconut water with mastaw mixed with local, organic, shbnt (dil), ice and a bit of mint, If you really like add a book into the picture and there you go, Maldives?! the feeling of. 


In the evenings it is a cool breeze calling for a cardigan. You feel closer to the stars than you could ever dream of in the city; the moon here is not white, it is exactly the colour of a slice of Swiss cheese. The kids run around freely with their tanned shirt lines and red noses from the day’s fun. They smell like sun cream. The weather, and its breeze and fresh waters give my youngest’s curls a little bounce as she runs. Just as they would when on holiday.

The kids run around, climbing trees, they follow insects into their hiding homes and they help the elders pick fruits and vegetables from a local farmer’s land.

The Rubar hotel, Rezan, Erbil, Kurdistan Region. A few minutes walk from here it is safe to swim in the waters

we walk before breakfast, after breakfast, before dinner, after dinner, and we bike ride. All in nature. We spend our days in flowy, colourful jli kurdi, men in shirts and shrwal. Simplicity and beauty at its best.

If we invested just a little more in our tourism sectors, we would never need to spend thousands of dollars for every trip we take outside of Kurdistan for a week to ‘refresh.’ The most exotic experiences, breath taking views, mouth-watering food and dreamiest weather is right at our doorstep. We yearn to discover corners of the world, when we are yet to see our own little heaven less than 120 minutes away.


More than three months in quarantine! Do you know what it means to a student-mum of two? No, you will never know what it is like. These five days have been my vitamins life, energy, hope, optimism, and it has fed by soul just a Maldives trip would have (not that I have ever been).

The drive is a Kurdistani experience

We yearn to travel the world when pieces of heaven lay at our doorstep. I have made a self-promise to discover every corner of Kurdistan this summer.

My retirement, my dearest reader, will take me back to the mountains. I just know it,

Until my next little adventure

Lots of love from

My Nest in Kurdistan,

Sazan Mandalawi,

One thought on “A little Maldives experience in Erbil

Add yours

  1. This sounds such a beautiful place. Is it open to people from abroad (UK) to visit and is it safe?
    Would like to find out more please.


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