The town of Akhaltsikhe itself doesn’t offer too much excitement for the visitor, but it serves as a jumping off point for Vardzia and Sapara. Continue Reading »
Many Georgians seem to sing the word Borjomi, THE Georgian mineral water and spa town, with a longing in their voices and a hands over their hearts. What we learned is that most people haven’t visited in 20 or 30 years…some things have changed since the time when Borjomi was one of the most famous spa towns in the Soviet Union, a place for the elite to drink the waters and recover from all the drinking, smoking and poor eating the rest of the year. Continue Reading »
I tell you, the Svanetians are crazy. Their brains are deficient in oxygen.
- A Tbilisi resident describing how the high altitudes of Svaneti have affected its people.
Svaneti, the high Caucasus mountain region in the northwestern corner of Georgia, has a long reputation of fierce independence characterized by the 12th century defensive towers that still dot many of its villages. More recently, Svaneti has been feared as outlaw territory where bandits and escaping terrorists from nearby Abkhazia, Chechnya and Ingushetia took refuge as locals holed up in their homes with guns at the ready. Continue Reading »
Once an Olympic site contender, the ski village of Bakuriani fell on tough times after collapse of the Soviet Union. A Georgian multi-millionaire is now attempting to reverse time by pouring cash into the improvement of skiing facilities and construction of new hotels and guest houses. Continue Reading »
Every inch of our map of Georgia seemed to covered with little icons marking churches, monasteries, ancient settlements, caves, mountains, towns, villages, and vineyards. We spent close to a month in Tbilisi, and here are a few of the nearby sights we experienced in that time. Continue Reading »
“The driving here is something special; only India is worse.” – Anonymous, on the rules of the road in Georgia
The more we travel, the more stories we collect about Georgian driving habits. For example, one of the Mongol Rally teams traveling without a map of Tblisi, decided to hire a taxi to show them the way through the city. After a harrowing bob and weave through town, “rather like a video game,” the rally driver asked the taxi driver for a hotel recommendation. The taxi driver, thinking they were looking for prostitutes, replied “How much time do you need? One hour? Will that be enough?” Continue Reading »
While putting the finishing touches on our website, we spent a considerable amount of time at internet cafés in Tbilisi, Georgia. At one café, we noticed a semi-private room set up with couches, comfortable chairs and computers outfitted with webcams for video Skype calls. The typical configuration: children and grandmother crowded around the computer and Mommy or Daddy on the video screen. So, what’s going on here? Continue Reading »
As we continue along the Silk Road in Uzbekistan, our minds often take us back to Turkmenistan, whose ancient history is longer and remains underground, unexcavated and unreconstructed.
The few clicks across the Caspian Sea brought us to a world of visual stimuli significantly different than that of the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). This is what we’ve always envisioned when historians speak of the iconic Silk Road and the Orient. Continue Reading »
Where do you find a $200,000+ Aston Martin V8 Vantage sportscar followed by a clunking white Indian Ambassador? In Turkmenistan, of course.
In Uzbekistan, we’ve also come across small cars covered with stickers and driven by Westerners desperate for the next mechanic or gas station.
What’s all the fuss? Awareness, fundraising and rallies. Continue Reading »