Tag Archives: georgia

it’s not just in my head

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Packing. Waiting. Looking out of the window. Waiting. Eating. Exercising. Drinking tea. Waiting. Someone is playing dance music somewhere, possibly downstairs. I am not even sure if it’s music at all. The only thing I can hear is the beat rumbling through the concrete. It mirrors my heart. The taxi ride to Baghdati takes thirty […]


parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

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The city is as sleepy as a folk ballad. Maybe that is because of the heat. Or maybe it’s because Kutaisi isn’t the capital anymore. The last time it played that role was 900 years ago. There is a monastery called Gelati on a hill nearby. It was built during a time when Kutaisi was […]


the hills that I once walked through

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Going from Tbilisi to Kutaisi by train takes four hours. It’s a modern train. There is a small tv screen in every carriage, but it’s not switched on. I sit across from two young men with soft, handsome faces and beard stubble. Both are wearing earphones, both are looking at their phones. Next to us, […]


splashdown

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It’s not you: It’s the things that are floating around in the blood, clouding the soul. The anxiety. The fear. The darkness. To them I’d like to quote Gagarin: “The path of a cosmonaut is not an easy, triumphant march to glory. You have to get to know the meaning not just of joy but […]


into the grey

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I got up at four and fumbled with my luggage for a while, then I hopped in a cab. Thirty minutes later I was at the airport. It turned out to be just like any other place in Georgia – there were street dogs hanging around outside: The flight was delayed for one hour. Two […]


Mayakovsky, hero and enemy

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I took a walk through the village of Baghdati today. There was a special reason why I had come here, and it was this guy: Vladimir Mayakovsky. One of the most gifted poets of the early Soviet Union, he was initially a fervent believer in Socialism, but he later became disillusioned with the reality of […]


cows and pictures of the dead

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I couldn’t hang out in circuses and swimming pools forever. So today I packed up my stuff and walked out of Zestafoni: Someone had apparently been trying to make the road a bit prettier by painting murals on some of the walls: This echoed some of the older murals that the Soviet Union had left […]


backstroke

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The hotel I was staying at consisted of four rooms that were located on the top floor of a gym. I walked past the weight room and the exercise rooms every day, but I never went in. I didn’t want to lift any weights or do aerobics or take part in a karate class. Here’s […]


unhatable clown

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Zestafoni is a quiet little town in the west of Georgia. They say it’s a place where not much ever seems to happen. Today was different, though. Today, the circus came to Zestafoni: “Are you planning on going?” the people at the hotel had asked me. I had said no. I generally didn’t like the […]


rain in the dark

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I woke up, packed my stuff, sat down for some tea with Inga and Gela, and then I said goodbye: I knew the day wasn’t going to be short and easy. But I had no idea just how long and difficult it was going to be. The road kept following a river through the valley, […]


Matthew 10:14

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When I left Surami, the air felt a bit warmer than the day before. And yet I could see that the fireplaces and the ovens and the radiators were hard at work: I thought how nice it must be to be there, inside one of those buildings, doing nothing, just enjoying the warmth. But I […]


She-ra is NOT a pickle

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I had bought a jar of pickles, and I devoured one after the other: And then it dawned on me, how in English there were two words for one and the same thing, just in different states like water and ice: cucumber and pickle. One is a fresh vegetable, the other one has been stored […]


(ancient) ruins

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I woke up at five thirty in a hotel room, looked out of the window, saw that it was raining in the dark, and went back to sleep. When I started walking it was already nine thirty, the rain had stopped, and the road was very quiet: There was a dead dog in a puddle […]


a tyrant who hides and a beggar who doesn’t

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When I started walking in Gori I turned to the north, towards the white mountains in the distance: And when I had left the city behind me, I continued walking in that direction for another half hour or so: It was then that I realized that I wasn’t going to find him. Stalin. He had […]


The Price Of Independence

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Gori is so small that you really can’t walk around without passing Stalin every once in a while: So today I walked past him, and I went through a few back alleys with some weird graffiti: And then I reached the fortress: It was on a hill in the center of the town, and when […]


Stalin’s birthplace

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Both my pairs of long pants were in the laundry, so I went out in my shorts with a pair of long johns underneath: It looked ridiculous, and children would point at me in the street, but at least I didn’t have to go far – the Stalin Museum was only a few blocks away: […]


viruka

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The good news: My big fat winter sleeping bag was with me, so the night hadn’t been too cold for me. The bad news: everything was wet. The tent, the sleeping bags, the therma-rest – it was all covered in dew: I decided to start the day with some sightseeing. So I bought a ticket […]


1-1-0-0-0

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For some odd reason, this had been a formidable night. I felt refreshed and happy when I got up and went to the kitchen to boil some water for my tea: Nino and Nugsari, the owners of the guesthouse, showed me a place with pictures of their son Ramazi, who had been hit by a […]


just as lost

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The world was still wet, but at least it had stopped raining. So I said goodbye to one of my favorite churches ever and got on the road: It was quiet. There was hardly any traffic. There were hardly any people. Even the villages seemed empty: Once I saw a cross by the roadside: And […]


what I found in a flame

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The rain had never really stopped. And it was devious, too. Sometimes it would pause for a few minutes, just enough for the puddles to become still and for the people and the dogs to come outside again: But then it would start all over again – drip-drip-drippity-drop as if there was never going to […]