Oh, if our passports could talk! A quick look at the numbers and some stories and lessons behind my newly-fattened American passport.
This is it. After this, no more.
– An American embassy employee in Berlin hands back my passport with a third – and undoubtedly final – set of extra pages.
What do you think of when flip through your passport? Countries visited? Number of visas and passport stamps? Possibilities? Continue Reading »
Three years. Yes, we are aware that this is an insanely long time to be on the road and living out of backpacks. So before we attempt to enlighten you with our travel secrets, we reflect.
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“Bogartin’ on Gordi!”
That’s what Russia is doing in Gori, Georgia – at least according to Angelo Moore, the lead singer of the ska-funk band Fishbone. Our conversation with Angelo takes place at the be2gether summer music festival , on the border of Lithuania and Belarus.
Even so, Angelo had a bit of trouble placing Lithuania and Belarus – and Russia and Georgia, too. But who wouldn’t?
Check out the video. It gives a taste of the be2gether festival atmosphere and finishes with Angelo’s take on international affairs. Continue Reading »
Last Friday, I had the good fortune to make it across the Czech Republic, Poland and Lithuania alive on a 20-hour bus. And I did so just in time to attend the 2nd annual gathering of be2gether, a summer music festival on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border. Continue Reading »
When you toast someone or something in Georgia with a beer, it’s more like a curse than a traditional toast for good health and prosperity.
I wonder, How many Georgians are drinking beers and clinking to Russia, Putin, and Medvedev right now?
Find out what happens when Vladimir Putin’s nickname sounds like the English word for a part of the female anatomy… Continue Reading »
We met Leila (center) in Zugdidi, Georgia over a year ago. Like so many others, she and her friends at the market have probably been evacuated recently. Continue Reading »
Before this journey, our experience with the disputed regions in the Caucasus – Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh – amounted to a few news articles and flashpoint body-count news tickers drifting across the bottom of our television screens.
Something bad had happened, people had died, but we never truly appreciated or understood the details. Continue Reading »
When you get there, you’ll meet the Afghan at the telephone pole.
These instructions given to us in Mestia by the Svaneti Mountaineering Tourism Center left us baffled. Is our mountain guide a member of the Mujahideen who’d lost his way and made his home in the mountains of Georgia? After all, in Svaneti just about anything seems possible. Continue Reading »
Podcast: Play in new window
As the first tourists to take advantage of the Svaneti Mountaineering Tourism Center (SMTC), we planned our arrival in the town of Mestia to coincide with the organization’s inaugural party. Because of our exceptionally long ride from Zugdidi to Mestia, we barely arrived in time for the opening speeches, including one which singled us out and unexpectedly turned the local crowd’s attention to us. Continue Reading »
Some cities seem to exist in two dimensions, best taken in with a camera from afar. Not Tbilisi. Its turbulent history is a veritable bullet list of invasions, destructions, occupations, and reconstructions. As a result, it tends to reveal itself in layers, both architecturally and culturally. Labyrinthine and tactile, Tbilisi invites visitors to dig into it like urban archaeologists intent on determining its composition and its narrative. Continue Reading »