Top: World's first 360-degree Panorama of Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia, Feb 24/2009, from 12 separate photos...

Saturday, 30 June 2007

The w()rd: Let's talk Turkey

Because that's where I am at the moment, en route to Cyprus after 23 hrs on a bus, which got me to the ferry terminal 1/2 hr late for the day's crossing (no one's fault). ;Scuse me ıf my typıng,s a bıt messed up, but I thought I,d emulate the frustratıons of a dıfferent keyboard layout for you.

Some notable place names in Turkey:
Batman ('nuff said)
Hayrat, home of the infamous hayrat (insert your own story here, best one wins a prize)
Of. Just Of. Origin place of such famous phrases or uses (here presented in their original versions) as:
- What are you thinking, Of?
- Is this milk a bit Of?
- the On/Of switch
- Of to the races
- The Sound of Of music
- poised to take Of

I also passed by Tarsus, birthplace of one Saul (later Paul), who wrote most of the New Testament though he was a major enemy of the Christıans before that. Have to stop there next time.

Another fascinating sıgn I noticed is for the Elif Un Fabrikası (Transl.: Elif Un Factory), where everything is unmade, undone, all words beginning with un having their origin here.

Finally, Final Tea comes from this part of the world - its name evoking strange feelings that this cup of tea would be my last. Such a Final name, isn't it?

Thursday, 28 June 2007

The Elusive Ushba, Svaneti, June 2007

In the 2.5 weeks of this last trip to Svaneti, the weather was fairly cloudy much of the time. It kept things cool for the walk, which was useful; and made for some very atmospheric photography. But it also meant that Mt Ushba was hidden most of the time; we saw her well only in Etseri, before the walk started, and again here, as it was ending.

This was the last morning of the walk, and our only camping day, on the pass between Ipari and Mestia, spectacular views from both sides. The little spring-fed lake is about 5 minutes' walk from where the tent was pitched, both tent and lake away from view of the roads. I had gone to get water for cooking, but I hurried back to the camp to fetch my camera when I realised that Ushba had come into view (the twin peaks just right of centre). As well as shooting film, I used my cellphone's little 2 MPixel camera, so this again is a sneak preview of better things to come.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Mestia, Svaneti, June 2007

Sneak preview - a cellphone timer shot of Jeff & me & the Nightmare (before she escaped us the first time & earned her name) at the entrance sign to Mestia, capital town of Svaneti. Just a snapshot, much better things ahead - but something to whet your appetite for photos of the 111-km, 7-rolls-of-film Svaneti walk. Also, a demonstration that Georgia, with its own alphabet (top left) is NOT in Russia. Again.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

A New Svaneti Link

For those especially interested in Internet links to Svaneti, here's a good one I've just found:
They're trying to develop (or I should say redevelop) Svaneti as a trekker's and general tourist's paradise. 20 years ago it was crawling with tourists, I'm told, but the breakup of the USSR and of Georgia itself was especially hard on this region. So people remember the good old days, but need help getting back to them. This site looks like a big step in the right direction. Good background material as well.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Back from Svaneti

Dear viewers,

On June 21 I returned from the mountains, back into internet contact in Tbilisi. (Well, Mestia does now have a free satellite internet station, NGO-based, but I could only use that once on the trip.) More news to follow, along with the usual daily postings you have come to expect from me.


Back from "A Walk on the Wild Side"

After several weeks of absence, leaving pre-drafted posts for friends to post for me while I was away from the internet, I'm back. 111 km of walking through magnificent Svaneti with a friend, our baggage on a horse which eventually earned the name Nightmare. There's plenty to show and tell, including material from 7 rolls of film and about 1/2 hr of video footage from my cellphone, some of which I hope to post to youtube and link to the blog. But first I'm soon off again, to Cyprus for about 3 weeks of holiday with family. As my situation in Tbilisi is curently "between apartments", with all my stuff in limbo/storage until mid-July, blog posting might be expected to be a bit thin for a while. But never fear - I do actually have a lot of extra material ready in the wings to keep you entertained until the new Svaneti images are ready. So stay tuned, faithful