Leaving the Caucasus

July 19, 2010

After several weeks perusing the Caucasus for all they’re worth, I’m heading back to Budapest tomorrow. I’ve got a plane that departs Tbilisi at around 10 in the morning.

It’s a little bittersweet, as Tbilisi is a great city, and I’ve met many good people here, but I’m also really excited to get back to Belgrade. From Budapest I will take the train to Belgrade, which will also be quite nice after who-knows-how-many days of minibuses careening through mountain roads.

I have a veritable boat-load of pictures awaiting upload which I will probably do upon arrival in Belgrade, it seems like a fitting segue between part one and two of my travels.

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Back in Tbilisi

July 10, 2010

The week out in Lagodekhi was quite relaxing. I’m now in Tbilisi getting prepared for a trek into the High Caucasus around Kazbegi (several kilometers from the Russian border). The plan is to hike part-way up Mt. Kazbek (a little over 5000 meters), then just hike around until I get bored. After that, it’s back to Tbilisi, then on to Yerevan. I’ll probably be flying back to Belgrade from Yerevan in a week or two.

After several hours on a plane, a hectic taxi-to-marshrutka transfer, 6 hours of rocketing past dilapidated industrial hulks reminiscent of a more prosperous past, passing semi trucksĀ at breakneck speeds on hairpin mountain roads, and dodging various livestock wandering the highway, I’m in Tbilisi. I met up with my friend Tom, and we will be heading back to his town (Lagodekhi) this evening. I will be camping up there for a week or so and returning to Tbilisi after that.

Probably no Internet access where I will be, so this is it for a bit. Expect pictures when I return!

The Road

July 3, 2010

A bit of a misleading title as I’ll actually be flying… but after a long-ish hiatus in Istanbul I’ll be heading east tomorrow. After much searching for a land route, I balked and bought a plane ticket.

Apparently this season in Turkey is very popular for people to be heading east via bus or train due to the end of school and a mass influx of people to their hometowns in the east. Georgia is pretty far away, and getting there by land would be at least as expensive as the plane ticket I found, plus it takes an upwards of 30 hours. Instead, I depart from Ataturk airport tomorrow at 1300 for a two hour flight straight to Batumi on the Georgian coast.

I’ll be heading to Tbilisi ASAP since a friend of mine will be there picking up a friend from the airport Sunday night, I may be able to hitch a ride with them up to Lagodekhi near the Azerbaijani border.

Stay tuned for fascinating details from the Caucasus.