Anatolia, Kazantip and the southern Caucasus

Yours truly is writing from a tranquil village claiming to be the highest in Europe (first big question mark this statement raises is whether Georgia is part of Europe); at 2100 meters surrounded by snowy mountains it is surely impressive. A good place to gather my thoughts and recap the last couple of weeks.

I spent the first two weeks in Istanbul playing music (at home or in the streets), making long walks, chilling in the apartment where I was the guest of Jess, Caoimhe and Dave, and badgering various authorities and bureaus to obtain the visa I so direly needed. Good house parties, drunken evenings and chillings with the various occupants of the Mystic Simurgh hostel where, initially thanks to Marcus’ residency there, I soon became a regular. My love admirably withstood the 20 hour bus ride to Istanbul to join me for an unforgettable last week in Istanbul, which was the third and probably not the last time we saw each other on this trip. Never imagined how little you can actually see of a city in a week.

After rushing my love to her bus back to Albania I managed to put off missing her by having a great goodbye music and drinking session with people I had grown to love, followed by Diamantis (the Greek sailor who gave me a ride in my last blog, for my less-than-avid followers) arriving to take me on a road trip to the east.

On the back of his motorcycle we crossed Anatolia in two days, meeting up with Russian travelers and journalists Iliya and Marina. With the four of us we drove into Georgia and to the Kazantip festival on the coast of the black sea at Anaklia. Originally hosted in the tiny town of Kazantip in Crimea, it was held in Georgia for the first year this summer because of the Russian annexation. It is a 10 day electronic music festival with hedonistic morals, loads of vodka, the most beautiful girls you have ever seen, excellent DJ’s and 24h parties. People just sleep anywhere on the festival, hammocks, pillows and mattresses everywhere and you get a Visa to get into the official Kazantip Republic, Alternative to Reality (as it is called).

After more than two days of Kazantip, time constraints forced us to move on, taking the motorcycles on a awe-inspiring trip into the southern Caucasus, which brings the story full circle. The road here may or may not feature: cows, horses, pigs, rivers, boulders, trees, the aforementioned animals in dead state, donkeys, old Georgian women and material people build roads with.

Next will be Tbilisi and then into Armenia and the republic of Nagorno-Karabach. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, amuse yourself with the following bonus question: how many pig livers do I have in my hand?


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