Tag Archives: journal

Signagi: Georgia’s city of love (and wine)

Located in the middle of Georgia’s famous wine region, overlooking fertile valleys and gazing up at the high Caucasus in the distance, lies the sleepy, tiny village of Signagi.

Outside high season, literally nothing is going on there. The streets were empty apart from a few locals wandering around. The restaurants that hadn’t already closed for the winter were filled with empty tables and wineries seemed surprised to see a tourist walk in. And yet I had a wonderful time. Continue reading Signagi: Georgia’s city of love (and wine)


A lonely start in Tbilisi

After my arrival in Tbilisi had left me with very mixed feelings, I decided to take sightseeing slowly. It had worked in Yerevan, after all: take some days to get used to the new country, the people, the vibe and the customs and then get to the more serious exploring.

My hostel was great, with good beds and breakfast pancakes served up until well after 10am. In the evenings, there were great views over the city, a rocking chair in front of the fire place and strong wifi. What more could I ask for? Continue reading A lonely start in Tbilisi

Smooth operators (and border crossings)

There is one morning marshrutka from Alaverdi to the Georgian border, and it passes through the city at 9am. While I slowly froze at the bus stop, a friendly taxi driver offered me a ride for ten times the price which, of course, I declined. Then he offered me to wait in his car because “I can see you cold” (nice try) and at 9:05am he insisted the bus wouldn’t show up. “If not come now, not come never!”

Sure enough we watched the marshrutka pull up five minutes later, me all focussed while trying to read the Armenian writing on the window and the taxi driver with a dead pan poker face. He would have gladly let the car pass by if he had the chance for it, and I dropped in my seat smiling to myself about that one golden rule: never EVER trust a taxi driver. Continue reading Smooth operators (and border crossings)

Throwback to Soviet times: the Debed canyon

My last days in Armenia were spent in the Debed canyon, close to the Georgian border. Rows and rows of grey Soviet blocks welcomed me to Alaverdi as the marshrutka drove down a seemingly endless winding road to the bottom of the gorge. The sun was setting and the last hour of the journey had been beautiful; slowly wobbling over a barren plateau and through tiny villages. Continue reading Throwback to Soviet times: the Debed canyon

So many reasons to love Yerevan

Where do I even start?

As I wrote before, my love for Yerevan was instant and because I stayed in the city so long, my sightseeing there went at a very leisure pace. I spent a lot of time just walking through the streets and sitting on benches in the many parks. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get any real sightseeing done, either. Continue reading So many reasons to love Yerevan

Cast away on Hormuz island

“Where is that #$@&%* of a driver?”
“What the hell was he thinking?!?”
“If we have to walk back to the port I’m going to f****** kill him!”

That’s pretty much what the conversation looked like while Merle and I were sitting on the beach, watching our tiny patch of shade shrink by the minute. Continue reading Cast away on Hormuz island

Deserts, canyons and nude swimming: homestay on Qeshm island

I had been recommended a trip to Qeshm island by many people. The first was a New Zealand girl who checked in my Tehran hostel when I was checking out. Then there were a couple of Germans, a Chinese guy and of course the lovely Suhaniya. So when I felt myself getting more and more tired of the cities, the daily harassment on the streets and the visits to mosque after mosque after mosque, my choice between Kerman or Qeshm was an easy one.

Welcome to Qeshm, where motorcycles are plenty, mosques are almost more plenty and everyone drives a Toyota (thanks to the Duty Free zone)

Continue reading Deserts, canyons and nude swimming: homestay on Qeshm island