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Chronicles from the Caucasus

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Sep 9th, 2009, 09:20 AM
  #1
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Chronicles from the Caucasus

Tomorrow I head out on my next trip: Georgia, Armenia, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. I’m stopping briefly in New York and Istanbul, before the trip really starts at Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast on Tuesday.

In the past, I’ve sent trip reports to an email list run from my website, and recently I’ve posted here as well. But now I’ve moved (belatedly) into the new millennium and set up a blog and a Twitter account. There’s some pre-trip stuff on the blog, and I’ll try to keep it up-to-date, but since I’m traveling with a very small “internet tablet” tweeting (I think the verb should be twittering, but too late now) will be easier.

There’s so little interest in the Caucasus on Fodors that I’m not planning to also post here for Georgia and Armenia, so for the few who may be interested, here are the addresses:

mytimetotravel.wordpress.com
mytimetotravel at Twitter
thursdaysd is offline  
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Sep 9th, 2009, 10:42 AM
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Have a safe trip!
Marija is online now  
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Sep 9th, 2009, 11:49 AM
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I LOVE your website... sigh if only i could figure how to do that sort of thing.....
Safe journey
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Sep 9th, 2009, 12:16 PM
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I look forward to following along on the blog. I'll also follow you on twitter (I'm @wired2theworld if you want to follow me back).

If you don't mind, check back in here on the post every once in a while and let us know when you've updated the blog.
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Sep 9th, 2009, 12:50 PM
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Bon Voyage, thursdays! Have a wonderful trip.
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Sep 9th, 2009, 01:33 PM
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Thanks everyone!

Smeagol - for my original website (wilhelmswords.com) I hand-coded the HTML (I was still a techie back then) and it was a bit of a pain. That's why I haven't updated it lately! But wordpress.com makes it really, really easy to start a blog. If you go with their default format all you have to do is type. I did pick a different format, and put up my own header picture (the Himalayas seen from Darjeeling), but even that was pretty straightforward.

Kristina - have done. Love your background!
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Sep 9th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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very nice, i will follow along.. bon voyage
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Sep 9th, 2009, 02:47 PM
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Thanks.That background is a photo I took in Rome's Campo di Fiori. I knew your background looked familiar; I've seen those mountains from the other side (Nepal).
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Sep 10th, 2009, 05:59 AM
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"I've seen those mountains from the other side (Nepal)" - wish I had! Maybe next year.

I'm packed and ready to go, trying to figure out why the luggage seems to have gotten heavier since last time.

I'm finally going somewhere off the map - Google maps shows NO roads for Georgia, just a few of the cities, not including a couple I'm planning to visit! But it has roads for Armenia and Azerbaijan, right next door - weird.
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Sep 11th, 2009, 07:45 AM
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Hi Thursday--- FodorsTravel is now following you on Twitter (hey guys, you can follow us too at www.twitter.com/fodorstravel/). Looking forward to your updates!

Hope you consider adding some of your thoughts/observations here... definitely would be great to have current feedback from that corner(s) of the world available to other members.

Best of luck to you!
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Sep 11th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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Loving your blog so far, I do wish you would post here.
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Sep 11th, 2009, 11:11 PM
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Excellent blog.
I will follow along....have a great trip...it should be enjoyable. You have picked an interesting set of countries to visit. Looking forward to your updates.

New York was having great weather until today (Friday...rain), but NY is wonderful anyways.

Bon voyage.
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Sep 12th, 2009, 12:19 AM
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Sounds like an AWESOME trip! Will def follow, safe travels.
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Sep 12th, 2009, 01:09 PM
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Happy Travels, Thursday!
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Sep 12th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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Hi Katie - that's so cool

Will try to do updates when I find an internet cafe. I'm traveling with a Nokia n800 - great for twitter but not for lots of typing! (I'm doing this at the Apple store on 14th - hate the keyboard!)
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Sep 12th, 2009, 09:18 PM
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Really interesting list of places! I'm following along too.
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Sep 15th, 2009, 10:45 AM
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Hello everyone, thanks for the good wishes!

The good news: I've made it to Batumi, along with my luggage, and am typing this from my B&B. More good news: I'm enjoying myself, but then I have a taste for off-beat destinations (not at dogster's level, but there).

Based on one rainy September Tuesday (hardly fair, I know), I wouldn't say this was currently a main-stream destination - even though Sheraton is building a wedding cake-style luxury hotel near the "beach". (Beach only in the English sense - it's all stones.) With the golden pyramid on top it looks like Sheraton is trying to outdo the quite new statue of Medea and the Golden Fleece perched on top of the very tall pedestal in the main square.

I'm not sure whether the desolate feeling of the waterfront boulevard is the result of the rainy off-season day (although Yalta was pretty lively in the off-season), or the after-effect of last-year's unpleasantness (no more Russian visitors, perhaps), or just a down day after the "South Caucasus III Youth Festival" that ended (thank heavens) on the 15th. But some places look like they've been closed for a while.

Nor am I sure whether the disastrous state of the roads in the "old town" section is the result of laying new pipes (which is certainly underway in a couple of places), or is normal. I never thought I'd write this, but these streets are actually worse than those in Moldova.

I'm hoping it will be dry tomorrow - there's a Roman castle to the south, and a Botanical Garden to the north, that I want to explore. But the English language brochure I was surprised to get from the TI says that this is one of the wettest places in the northern hemisphere. Hence the temperate rain forest.
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Sep 23rd, 2009, 10:29 AM
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Just caught up with you. Hope it's all going well at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Any updates?
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Sep 23rd, 2009, 11:40 AM
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Check here for updates:
http://twitter.com/mytimetotravel
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Sep 26th, 2009, 06:14 AM
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Thanks Marija. Still in Georgia. Plans disrupted by burst blood vessel in left eye (retinal not subconjunctival) and ophthalmologist didn't want me to go up to Kazbegi. Things seems to have settled down, retina is fine, but she thinks I need thinner blood. Now I have some kind of congestion.

Went to Telavi in the wine district (Kakheti), and leave for Borjomi (mineral springs and southern mountains) tomorrow, Armenia on Tuesday. Am keeping Twitter fairly up to date but am way behind on the blog, sorry.

Will post reactions to Georgia when I get back to Tbilisi. Quick summary - great scenery, great people, good food, wine needs work, infrastructure needs lots of work. Bring sturdy shoes and a torch! Serious budget destination - outside Tbilisi and perhaps Batumi, things can be unbelievably cheap.
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