Gori is not far from Tbilisi and only famous for being the birthplace of Stalin. Long time no see Joseph!. There is a Stalin Museum, located in the Stalin Park, on the main city avenue named… can you guess it? Leon Trotsky? Milton Friedman? Nope, it is the Stalin Avenue.
As the museum doesn’t make any attempt to judge, neither I am going to do here. There you can find random stuff about the State Capitalist leader: statues, carpets, his train, lots of pictures, his pyjamas… As well, many Stalin souvenirs in the surroundings shops.
Another thing nearby you can see (or avoid) is Upshtilike cave city, just saying.
It has been already one week of traveling so let’s see how I am doing with my travel goals list:
The free wifi network “Tbilisi loves you” will greet you as you arrive at the airport (great for sleeping btw). The same lovable network will follow you around the city center, to make sure you don’t miss on the latest news in Venezuela, your friends’ meals on FB, or your Tinder matches, if that is your thing.
Soon I could see some of the familiar features of former Soviet countries cities: krushyovkas, marshutkas, ladas, leafy big avenues, deep underground with a lady in a cabin by the escalator, supermarkets with a larger variety of vodka and beer than food… That makes easier figuring out how things work. Sure there are some nice differentials particular to the Georgian landscape: khachapuri in all shapes and sizes, good food, and smiley people that even seem kind of happy.
Overall, Tbilisi is a pretty pleasant city. It has an interesting nightlife, you may just go out for a beer in the evening and be back at sunrise. There are many chances that friendly Georgians will assault you armed with chacha. I was expecting chacha to be like vodka or tequila, but it plays in a different league, closer to absinthe I would say. Chacha loves you as much as Tbilisi, just in a different way. Tbilisi is like the sweet lover you hold hands with in the park, while Chacha is more like the priest that approaches a kid with sweet talk and then… all of a sudden… becomes another isolated case.
One day I visited Sighnagi, in the wine region. There I had a guesthouse for myself to chill out and take a break from the chacha life. I was told the place is good for a couple of hours, but that is too optimistic, I would say more like half an hour. Going for a stroll to the nearby monastery may keep you busy a bit longer. It’s a pretty village and locals are certainly an endearing, laid back bunch. Sighnagi is good if you go, life goes on if you don’t.
Why? Like German girls, these hairy creatures don’t shave. Yaks have been known to inadvertently shove people off the path and down the steep slopes while hiking, a dumb way to die.
Why? Will stand in the middle of the road and not move if you are driving a car. Try to get out to take a pic and they will run away as. They provide sleigh rides to tourist and end up on the plate for dinner. Some people admire how they adapted to the cold weather, but if they were smarter they would have moved somewhere warmer.
Where? Puerto Natales, Chile
Why? Kind of big sloth that got extinct because he was too lazy to move for food. They hug gringos.
I have a few pending posts to write about Sweden, England, Mexico, Mallorca… but will leave them for now to focus in South America where I am currently travelling.
And I will start by translating something I wrote in Spanish for a contest to win a trip do SA (original with pics). I missed the price just for a few votes (got 112 and the winner over 1000). My presentation was clearly the best but most voters are stupid and I didn’t have the media support, you know how the so called “democracy” works. Well, I am in SA anyway. So here the crap I wrote:
It seems that there are more people in this contest than in the job center line in Spain, but, if Rajoy won an election and Arbeloa a World Cup, I stand a chance. It is about time that South Americans can enjoy my awesomeness as others did in many places. I do not like to brag, but I was in more than 60 countries and can play the triangle. Among my experiences: living with remote tribes in Mentawai and Sulawesi (Indonesia), drinking vodka for breakfast with Kyrgyz nomads, cycling in the Karakoram highway, Nordkapp, eating tortilla in Betanzos, 3 weeks trekking in the mountains of Nepal, hitchhiking the Pamir Highway, remote Burma, Laos, Iran, Oman, Tajikistan and more … I have a blog year compiling stories from one year in Asia, which used to have about 100 readers per day (10 from friends and 90 from bots I created to feel appreciated). This is the most liked post on FB.
Not yet sure you will vote for me? Here you have the list of things I want to achieve there:
Party at Rio Carnival and get as many STDs as I can
Visit Machu Pichu and Uyuni without taking a single picture
Strengthen the commercial exchanges between Colombia and my native Galicia
Open a phone call center in Ecuador
Ride the Panamericana on a bicycle and the Austral Road on a donkey
Buy toilette paper in Venezuela
Many volunteering projects, permaculture, sustainability, wwoofing and all that shit
Live along Guyana tribes
Steal an Argentinian guy’s girlfriend
Wear Evo’s jumper
Find Paulo Coelho. Kill him. “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
This is the list of the best beaches/beach destinations I have been to. They are mainly ranked according to the beaches themselves, but I took into consideration the attractions around as well. Although I could fill this list almost entirely with SE Asia ones I gave extra weight to others for more diversity. If you have any suggestion fire up in comments.
Cons: Difficult to get there, don’t go, go to Bali instead 🙂
2. Railay – Krabi – Thailand
Why? Astonishing karst formations. Consist of 4 beaches: Pranang (probably most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen), West Railay (sunsets and bonfires), East Railay, and Ton Sai (caters to backpackers and climbers). Monkeys. Don’t miss the lagoon! More
Cons: As many places in Thailand, tourists, ranging from fake hippies to posh-luxury
3. Reynisfjara (Black Beach) – Vik – Iceland
Why? Epic Icelandic landscape, black sand, formations like the ones at the Giant Causeway, amazing rocks in the sea. Next to Vik village with its picturesque church. The pretty Dyrholaey arch is nearby and not far plenty of awesome waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes…
Cons: Wheater, cold water (I tried it at Vik). I was lucky and got a very warm sunny day for Icelandic standards (+18)
4. Tiny Island – Mentawai – Indonesia
Why? Remote inhabited island, palm trees, clear water, white sand, fish. More
Cons: Mosquitoes on steroids, malaria zone. Dont’t know the name of the island, Masalot???
5. Glyka Nera (Sweet Water) – Crete – Greece
Why? Secluded and quiet. Fresh water springs next to the sea. Good for camping or sleeping rough. Nudist. Goats!
Cons: Some pebbles. We got there at night and when we went back at day time didn’t look good at all for someone scared of heights like me, that was before Asia where I walked many much worse ones.
6. Tulum – Quintana Roo – Mexico
Why? Mayan ruins by a pretty tropical beach. Iguanas around. Nearby cenotes to visit. Tequila and mezcal. I had to add one from America 🙂
Cons: Guess it… Gringos
7. Praia das Catedrais (Cathedrals Beach) – Galicia
Why? I was born about 40 km from this beauty! Amazing rock formations.
Cons: Rain. People from Madrid visiting during summer time.
8. Koh Rong Island – Cambodia
Why? Crystal clear water. Sand so white that was hurting my eyes. Cheap beer. More
Cons: Development plans for the island threaten the calm vibe.
9. Weekuri – Sumba – Indonesia
Why? The beach is nice, but the amazing nearby lagoon is the main reason I am including this one, which may not be fair. More
Cons: Try to find the lagoon by yourself… no info anywhere, better go back to Bali 🙂
10. Random Beach – NordKapp – Norway
Why? I found by chance this pretty small arctic beach near the Nordkapp road toll. Spectacular fjord landscape. Midnight sun (or midnight rain).
Cons: Supercold water, I went for a short swim and my penis looked like regular size. End of June and there was still snow on the beach.
11. Haad Khom – Koh Phangan – Thailand
Why? Another pretty tropical beach, a quite on in the party island. Resident pig. People say that nearby bottle beach is better. More
Cons: Jews, sorry I didn’t mean to be racist, let’s say the presence of Hebrew tourists that live in Palestine
12. Akrotiri (Red Beach) – Santorini – Greece
Why? Red sand, red cliffs
Cons: The most touristy on this list, many from Britain or Merkelland
13. Koufunisia – Greece
Why? Koufuinisia is a small island with plenty of nice beaches and pretty spots like the hole in the pic, located next to a pretty nudist beach
Cons: Very few tourists when I was there, but I am afraid that’s not the case anymore.
14. Seven Sisters – England
Why? White cliffs
Cons: Pebbles and not many thrills apart from the cliffs. Londoners.
15. Komodo – Indonesia
Why? Big lizards. Komodo village nearby. Good snorkelling. More
Time was passing and I was getting comfortable with my life in the farm. I named one of the sheep “Relation” so I could say things like “I have a relationsheep” or “yesterday I was in a relationsheep”.
According to locals it was the best summer in many years, even too warm to sleep sometimes. Quite often I was playing basketball, beach volley (yes in Sweden!) or going for runs in a national park.
I kept cycling on the weekends and discovering beautiful spots in Skäne, like the Österlen area. On one of the rides, I found the new Vikings Valhalla, the Absolut factory.
Some friends come to visit and I went a few times more to Copenhagen and there were a couple of festivals in Malmö with some free gigs, like the lovely girls below.
Wow, I am one and a half year behind with my writing (talking about Abba’s land from Chile), I am becoming the master of procrastination. You may have noticed the site blog appearance has changed to make it responsive, still waiting to find a reliable web developer that can turn it into a proper site. I did since I got some analytics indicating that 65% of the blog readers are connecting from a mobile device, 39% of which read this blog while taking a dump and 0.8% while having sexual intercourse (0.2 % with me).
Everything was going smooth in peaceful Scandinavia as summer was starting. Genetically blessed locals turned to be friendly and welcoming, difficult to believe they are the descendants of ruthless Ragnar Lodbrok friends.
I kept cycling quite a lot and on another bike trip, I visited the amazing Nimis, at the micronation of Ladonia in the Kullaberg peninsula, where I spotted the rare Swedish zebra.
I liked so much the place that, after a strenuous bureaucratic process that consisted of an online application form where I have to enter my name, I became a proud Ladonian citizen.