Monthly Archives: August 2012

Love at First Sight

Love at First Sight

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As soon as I arrived in Istanbul, that very first day, after our tiring 16 hour bus ride from Trabzon, when we got dropped off by a clueless taxi driver at a side street off of İstiklal Avenue and had to walk for another kilometer, and ask a kebab stand owner for directions, I had already fallen in love with this city. Bam! It’s happens so fast. It’s the same feeling I got when visiting my home city again, St. Petersburg and first stepping foot in London. Just like those places, Istanbul immediately felt comfortable and home-like to me. Once again I thought to myself: “Wow, I can really live here.”

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Capture the Colors

Capture the Colors

We were nominated to take part in Travel Supermarket‘s Capture the Colors Contest by Caroline and Josh at Traveling 9 to 5. Since we’ve been on our Round the World trip starting in early May 2012, we’ve taken over 7500 pictures, many of which are on Flickr. It took some time to go through and select the best of the best, but it was great going back to relive our memories. Enjoy!

White

The Greek Islands are a photographer’s dream. The mountains, the Agean Sea, and the traditional white buildings are a recipe for great shots. The most photographed village in Santorini is Oia, which, coincidently, also has the most beautiful sunsets.

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Georgian Cuisine and Culture of Eating

Georgian Cuisine and Culture of Eating

We had a unique perspective on the food in Georgia. We were staying with a family in the mountains outside of Kobuleti. Only the father, Gela, was working. Hatuna, the mother was taking care of the house and cooking all the time. Grandma and grandpa were tending to their land – they had three cows, about 10-12 chickens, and loads of fruit trees. They also grow their own veggies and even tea!

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Georgia – the land of beauty, passion and poverty

Georgia – the land of beauty, passion and poverty

First off, I should remind you that Georgia was not on our itinerary for this trip originally. While traveling through Russia, we met a great couple who described their recent trip to Georgia. They were hosted by a family in the mountains outside of town called Kobuleti. After they shared their vivid impressions, we HAD to change our plans and check out the mysterious and intriguing Georgia. We were overcome with excitement after hearing their stories so we changed our itinerary by nixing Bulgaria and adding in Georgia. We traveled to Georgia on a heavy duty ferry boat that mostly transports trucks with imports and livestock along with truck drivers a few passengers like us on the boat. I describe this experience here.

Traveling to Batumi by boat was worth it for the view, if nothing else, that opens up right before your eyes as you approach the port. A truly awe-inspiring view: green mountain peaks, clear blue water, panoramic view of the Batumi skyline and dolphins greeting us:
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Communist Cruise

Communist Cruise

Given that air travel is the most expensive part of this trip, we try to avoid it as much as possible. Also, we are always on the look out for adventure so we decided to take a ferry to get from Odessa, Ukraine to Georgia. It’s a working ferry: mostly carrying various imports, livestock and vehicles. There is room for some passengers who are mostly truck drivers traveling with their vehicles to Georgia. Clearly, we had to try to get on the boat and experience it for ourselves. Getting on it was an adventure in itself, which Aaron wrote about is his post here.

Check-in
We had to get on the ship the day before we actually sail, which was rather disappointing to us as we spent the 4th of July on the boat docked in Illichivsk port. The tedious process of passing through customs was done in the “hurry up and wait” fashion as we were lead from one boring room to another:
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UKR Ferry Ticket Gauntlet

UKR Ferry Ticket Gauntlet

One of the things we wanted to try on this trip is traveling by ferry. Based on our itinerary, we had a couple good options – either from Iceland to Scotland or somewhere on the Black Sea. We didn’t have any luck on the Northern Atlantic, so the Black Sea it was.

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