Caucasus + Western Asia

Here you’ll find all the articles and short posts I’ve published about hitchhiking and hospitality in the Caucasus + Western Asia. I traveled in countries such as Georgia, Armenia, Iran, and Turkey mostly in 2014.

  • Georgia: my best friend whom I met at university comes from Georgia, so I visited there for the first time for New Year’s in 2012/2013. Then in summer 2014, I hitchhiked from the Netherlands to Tbilisi in five days to attend her wedding. After that, I traveled back and forth to Georgia from Armenia and Abkhazia, living in Tbilisi’s Vake Park with a band of cool people and absolute weirdos.
  • Armenia: I visited Armenia twice in 2014. Once with a Polish friend on a short trip, and once on my way to Iran.
  • Abkhazia: I visited this disputed territory after getting travel permission in Zugdidi. It was a strange place, but also incredibly beautiful. I had a lot of fun at Stalin’s Dacha and in Gagra.
  • Iran: after picking up my visa in Armenia, I hitchhiked around Iran for 28 days in October/November 2014. These were some excellent times!
  • Turkey: I’ve been to Turkey four times, of which twice with my family. The last two times I was there speed hitchhiking through to get to that wedding on time. The second time, after Iran, I had more time to explore between Van, Batman, Hatay, Mersin, Northern Cyprus, Ankara, Eskişehir, and İstanbul.

Because of the top-tier hospitality in the Caucasus + Western Asia, I’m longing to return pretty much every day I’m feeling a little uninspired.

Vake Park, Tbilisi: Concrete and Urban Decay in Autumn

I’m loving Vake Park (ვაკის პარკი). It’s such a huge city park in Tbilisi with lots of small elevations, sculptures, fountains, and concrete paths. And it’s all fighting the battle between culture and nature. Nature is trying hard to decay that shit and reclaim the concrete, especially in autumn now. I think it’s quite beautiful. More beautiful than the more universally-accepted Lisi Lake. Despite its sometimes shabby looks, there are still many Tblisites (Tblisians?) coming here to enjoy a walk and some fresh air. Old men who’d probably be really good at chess, grandmothers with their grandchildren bored in theContinue reading

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74 Kilometers of Potholes En Route to Tusheti, Georgia

I hitchhiked to Tusheti in northern Georgia with a random Czech traveler. The road was 74 kilometers long and it might just qualify for the road with the most potholes? Was the road one big pothole? Anyway, a four-wheel-drive vehicle was a requirement for even a short attempt at this road! I had started quite early in the daytime. This Czech guy showed up spontaneously at the same hitchhiking spot and we decided to join forces. During the long wait, he played my guitar awesomely. This made the wait quite good. You can see in the pictureI believe I tookContinue reading

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Khinkali! The Best Food in Georgia?

Khinkali is one example of the myriad of awesome food you can find in Georgia. Shrooms, cheese, potatoes, meat, and more are all represented in this dumpling. I ate these somewhere back in Tbilisi after hitchhiking around the eastern part of Georgia (Mtskheta-Mianeti and Kakheti—specifically in Tusheti) for a short while. I know my food photography leaves much to be desired. So just believe me when I say khinkali are scrumptious as hell! I’m quite overjoyed to be back in Georgia and finally hitchhiking around the country. I visited Tbilisi for the first time on new years eve 2012/2013. JustContinue reading

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Lisi Lake + Vake Park in Tbilisi, Georgia

Back in Tbilisi, Georgia. Went for a swim at Lisi Lake yesterday where this dog ruled the territory. It’s nice to come back to this lake. Afterward, my drivers asked me if I had a place to stay in Tbilisi. So they drove me from Lisi Lake to Vake Park, where they know people with whom I’d supposedly have things in common with. I am sleeping in Vake Park in my tent. There is a small community of travelers and people who protest the building of a new hotel there. Vake Park is apparently one of Tbilisi’s last green spacesContinue reading

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Tusheti Hills: Beauty and Hospitality in Omalo + Dartlo, Georgia

As you can see from this photo, the Tusheti region in the north of Georgia is pretty fabulous. I just spent a few days here at altitude in Omalo and Dartlo. To the north, the mountains form a natural border with Russia’s Dagestan and Chechnya—both places I’d absolutely love to visit. There are several hostels here and the owners of one just invited me to stay for free. That’s how huge hospitality is here. I encountered some young Georgian women here who were excited to hang out with me and show me around. They travel the difficult road to OmaloContinue reading

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