The amazing Nagorno- Karabakh adventure

DSCF10457 people sharing 6 days of adventure! At first we hitchhiked to Yerevan. We entered Armenia through the most remote border point and continued with marshrutka all the way to the capital. We couch-surfed at Reza’s place in Yerevan and partied until morning when the first marshrutka took us all the way to Stepanakert where we issued our Nagorno-Karabakh Visa for the rest of the days. We were suggested to stay at Ashot’s place so we were given the dormitory at the basement where we spent two cold, entertaining nights with vodka and late night planning. We all thought the ghost city of Agdam would be an amazing idea for the next day. And so it was! A massive snow storm covered the debris as soon as we arrived making it almost impossible to explore the abandonments the way we wanted. Big surprises were kept for the following days.

 

The day after we visited Shushi covered with snow with an impressive church in the center of the town. Then we followed the 4km walk to an ancient tree everyone told us about. Burying our footsteps into the fresh snow only with sneakers on, we were more than relieved to finally manage to reach the tree and spend some time exploring its beauty. We booked a local driver and made all our way to Dadivank where we spent the night at a homestay provided by a kind lady. The morning after we visited the monastery of Dadivank and then we drove hoping we will reach the abandoned Sanatorium. Unfortunately, as the driver got lost we ended up in some hot springs barbequing and showering with old local men until the late afternoon when our driver would normally take us back to Stepanakert.

 

This never happened as we ran out of gas on the way and had to sleep over at the lady’s in Dadivank again. We spent one of the coldest nights at the lady’s place after having been helped by a local policeman who drove us back to the village. The morning after our driver was still waiting for someone to purchase gas from when suddenly an old Volga from 1965 stopped and suggested that they take us all the way back to Armenian borders. We accepted and found ourselves together with the two drivers, total 9 people, riding this amazingly dangerous old car sliding on the snowy peaks of the Caucasian mountains. The rest of the way back was by hitchhiking to Georgian borders and then Tbilisi meeting various local drivers on the way eager to share their interesting stories. An amazing adventure that won’t be forgotten soon!

 

More photos on our Nagorno- Karabakh adventure can be found here.

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The Great Caucasus adventure begins

Georgia

Tbilisi  

Old Town TbilisiJust after midnight we finally reached that Old Town hideaway. The weak moonlight revealed the dilapidated exterior of the 1860s building. The collapsing wooden stairs were helpful enough for making our way up to that lovely wood-columned verandah where warm chai and even warmer smiles were waiting for us. The host was awake full of energy and curiosity. The moon accompanied the magic mumblings of the night and the stars were the spectators to our late night confessions.

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The sunrise found us sunk into our soft mattresses. The wind whispered sweet melodies to our sweaty bodies. The city was awake and so were we. Soon enough, we found ourselves wandering around its old balconied houses and quirky paths resting our bodies at its leafy squares. We made all our way up to the hills to dig with our thirsty eyes inside the confusing mixity of its shabby Soviet apartment blocks which were rubbing shoulders with its old stone churches and eye-catching watchtowers.

view from Nariqala fortress

You could hear the beating heart of the city from the Nariqala fortress when looking down to the villagelike neighbourhoods strung along the Mtkwari river. On our way down imaginative smells of khachapuri tickled our stomachs. Our appetite was captured by the various fresh baked cheese pies which became the perfect keep-me-going meal for the rest of our Georgian trip.

Mtskheta

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Early clouds embraced the morning sky.The hanging wires were soon leaking raindrops of melancholy. We got off the marshrutky and we found Mtskheta soaking uncorroded under the grey sky.A short walk up the hill for a deep breath of fresh air and the near mystical significance of the city for Georgian culture was soon understood.

The Jvari church we so much awaited to see was visible from the cliffy hilltops with its silent blessings weaving spiritual plots in the air. All we did was enjoying the timid sunbeams making their way out of the thick clouds on the tiled rooftops, the Cathedral and the river crossroads setting an alluring panorama blown away by the humid wind.

Davit Gareja

IMG_3977Early afternoon and our wine talks convinced our untamed spirit for a long ride near the boarders of Georgia with Azerbaijan.One of the most remarkable Georgian sites, more than 15 monasteries spread over a wide remote area was now our destination.

IMG_4007The mountains were embracing tightly the monastery caves and the harmonious horizon was uniting the remote wilderness of the sight. Muddy paths of unexplored beauty led us to the way up to the stone chapel where a well- deserved view was finally reached.

Kazbegi

IMG_4836IMG_4950IMG_5032The Georgian Military Highway was hiding a gem somewhere between its first 65 km from Tbilisi. Ananuri fortress was standing there with its churches like an ephemeral oasis that escaped from the Middle Ages. Sublime architecture and fine views made it for the rough ride that was expected for the rest of the journey.

And here we were. The relay race between the mountain sides seemed endless throughout our whole way up to the Tsminda Sameba church.

2200m and the higher we hiked the smaller we looked but the bigger we felt. The sturdy muscles of the wind were squeezing our remaining energy.

But when we arrived the wind of freedom was offered open-handed to our soaking bodies. Dark, misty and sharp the Caucasus was spreading all around us. A feast for the eyes.

More photos on our Georgian adventure can be found here.

Ride for life

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five senses

For the wild flowers dressing up the backbones of the velvet valleys

And the wooden houses breathing up the hills in arrays

For the lonely roots carving the paths to the woods

And the tasty goods changing the health of your moods

For the golden noons colouring the curvy clouds

And the thirsty adventurers making their greedy rounds

For the blessing gestures made by a flying bee

And the bleeding sunsets drowning deep inside the sea

For the secret lyrics written with the tempo of the pouring rain

And the hidden compositions made out of the sound of the leaving train

For the white magic in the morning light

And the eternal mystery caressing your innocent sight

For the peace in your volcanic heartbeats

And the passion in your intrusive hoofbeats

Life has the meaning you give it

Ride across the line and live it

I am on my way

with the past behind and the future ahead

with the past behind and the future ahead

It all started with my stimulating boredom.

In Athens- chaos and innocence entwined, in Munich- all preppy and fixed, with a lot of strange feelings and confusion smashed inside my fist.

Oh dear! Rubbing along and against, pushed back and forth i finally made my way til here.

It was a long way passing from west and east, crossroads where i refueled my melancholy and trained my beast.

In Tilburg- wild naked nature and good will, foggy student mornings calm and still. The flatland of static motion and winter wind of blossom. All the thorny splinters blown away. I am on my way.

In Manchester- post-industrial depression disguised in pop melodies of urban tales. Cloudy minds and rainy hearts craving for stylish gales. I am on my way.

In Tallinn- quirky abandoned past negotiating with a challenging present squat for an experimental future wasteland. Scary nostalgia wrapping its medieval flesh, blurry boldness extinguishing its sharp post-soviet nest. I am on my way.

And now in Brussels- an all white sky embracing its many fears, plain quaintness and easy kindness but also hidden ears. A melody that is echoing in every corner of the slum but is only heard by some. I am on my way.

Gifted or cursed, we all run, it is a civilised scum or a bright promising sun ?

I still want to run, adventure is my own sun, this is all i wanna become !

I am on my way.