Here’s my travel round up for April!
I’m writing this round up from a secret, undisclosed location, somewhere in the Caucasus.
I’ll be able to give you more details later, but for now- mainly for visa reasons and potential ramifications- my location will need to remain top secret!
Needless to say this last month has been jam packed full of all manner of mad adventures and travel exploits.
After two months in Turkey and Cyprus I finally managed to drag myself away from the land of the Kurds and crossed the border to Georgia. I’ve made it to the Caucasus!
And I saw the black sea for the first time. The beaches are a bit pebbly.
Georgia has been magnificent.
I drank cheap beer on Batumi boulevard and revelled in the glorious wine on the sunny coastline.
And then I unofficially left Georgia in search of the lost land of Abkhazia.
It’s technically illegal, I think, to visit- Abkhazia is a breakaway territory, ‘officially’ a province of Georgia, but they declared independence after a few wars and lots of violence. It’s a pretty contentious place, but the Georgians didn’t stop me visiting and the Abkhazians were welcoming. The only problem was that everyone spoke Russian, although I can now ask for a beer in Russian, which I guess is a good result.
The Russians named a fruit juice after me too.
In Abkhazia, I saw the old Riviera of the Soviet Union, a place once revered through the USSR for its beautiful promenade and incredible scenery.
Now, Abkhazia is a crumbling relic of its former glory days, but tourism is on the up after a longish period of stability and for the traveller, it’s as far off the beaten track as you can get without parachuting into ISIS held territory in Syria.
Oh, and there was a space monkey rehabilitation centre. More on that to come.
After flaunting my stuff in the Soviet Union’s première getaway locale I made it safely back to Georgia and delved into the snowy mountains of Svaneti, in search of the Chaladi Glacier.
I found it. And I found the old towers the Svan people used to live and fight in.
Back at lower altitude, I explored Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. It’s one of THE most pleasurable and enjoyable cities I’ve ever visited. Go there. Now.
Not really wanting to ever leave Tbilisi, I dragged myself away to head South, to Armenia.
In Yerevan I found it was Armenian Genocide Memorial Day. I walked with thousands of people to the memorial and laid a flower in remembrance of the victims that died under Ottoman rule during and after the First World War.
And now I’m in a secret location.
Keep following the blog to find out where!
Richard Collett, April 2016