I began my walk out of Istanbul with a postcard-sized piece of paper in my pocket showing a squiggly line from there to Edinburgh, thinking I could take it out and point whenever words failed in communicating what I was doing. The maps below show that squiggly line with fewer smudges and a lot less clear plastic tape.
Click on the three detail maps above to see the route I walked as a red line, the places where I passed a night as small dots along that line, and capital cities as labeled circles.
The general outline of the route was: from Taksim in Istanbul along the Bosphorus, over the Istranca hills to the Black Sea coast at Burgas, along the Balkan Mountains to Sofia, up the right bank of the Danube to Belgrade, across Slavonia to Zagreb, over rising ground to Ljubljana and then into the Alps, following the Austrian-Italian border until Innsbruck, the Jakobsweg pilgrim route to Liechtenstein, and the Via Alpina Green Route to Grindelwald. From there I swung north to the Black Forest, passing through Freiburg on the way to a series of French cathedrals – Strasbourg, Reims, Paris, and Amiens – and the English Channel at Calais. The Channel was the only stretch of the journey I was unable to walk, but I did my best to atone by pacing the deck of the ferry the whole way across. From Dover I crossed to the west coast of Britain via Canterbury, London, Oxford, and Bristol, and then followed the mountains north through Wales, the Lake District, and the Scottish Highlands, until I reached the northernmost brink of mainland Britain at Dunnet Head. I had already passed through Glasgow and was concerned about the onset of winter, so I completed the journey by returning to Glasgow by bus and walking the last stretch to Edinburgh from there. The last step was at the top of Arthur’s Seat.
My route passed through parts of Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Germany, France, and the UK – twelve countries, six or seven of which I crossed from one side to the other, depending on how one judges my trajectory across France.
Towns and cities of note along the route, most of which are not labeled on these maps due to space constraints, include Istanbul, Malko Tarnovo, Burgas, Sliven, Kazanlak, Kalofer, Sofia, Zaječar, Smederevo, Belgrade, Vukovar, Đakovo, Požega, Pakrac, Kutina, Ivanić-Grad, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Bled, Jesenice, Villach, Mayrhofen, Innsbruck, Bludenz, Feldkirch, Schaan, Altdorf, Meiringen, Grindelwald, Interlaken, Thun, Rheinfelden, Freiburg, Strasbourg, Metz, Verdun, Châlons-en-Champagne, Reims, Paris, Amiens, Azincourt, Calais, Dover, Canterbury, London, Oxford, Bristol, Machynlleth, Bethesda, Bangor, Conwy, Liverpool, Preston, Ambleside, Keswick, Carlisle, Gretna, Lockerbie, Glasgow, Fort William, Kyle of Lochalsh, Kyleakin, Ullapool, Tongue, Thurso, and Edinburgh.