Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nino Ratiani's Guesthouse, Mestia

While in Mestia we were taken care of in a most motherly fashion by Nino. She fed us the local Svan cuisine, did our laundry, drove us around and called the police when we were caught in the storm.

This is her organic garden from which she cooks. She also makes her own yogurt and cheese.

This is Nino on the far right, with friends.

Nino Ratiani's Guesthouse in Mestia, Georgia

What They Wore... At The Airport, Mestia

Army chic.

Leaving Svaneti or The Royals in Peril II

It's very easy to leave Svaneti on a Tuesday. One just has to hop to the local "airport" (a field of wild flowers) and board an airplane to Kutaisi. It went like this:

We checked in and waited for the plane.

The check-in desk, complete with water resistant fruit patten tablecloth.

The plane arrived.

Mandatory cigarette break before take off. That's our pilot in the camouflage uniform.

And we took off... not before many silent prayers.

What They Wore... The Villagers, Ushguli

Ushguli, Svaneti

We took a day trip by jeep to Ushguli, a nearby group of four villages. Its a UNESCO World Heritage Site, worthy of the title and complete with medieval towers.
Cows, pigs and chickens roam freely in the Svaneti region.

A Hiking Adventure or The Royals in Peril

In complete innocence we ventured on a 7 hour hike to the Chalati Glacier. All was well and the views were spectacular.

Three hours later, as we began to ascend the glacier through a forest, it began to rain. Rain turned to hail and we turned back. As we huddled cold and drenched in an abandoned hut with a suspiciously bloody floor, we were waved into shelter by the border police (wet and topless!).

They took care of us thoroughly, making us a lunch feast and pouring us endless amounts of Chacha (locally made vodka). As time passed the cabin filled with other lost souls including a group of local teens who had trekked to harvest vegetables found only at the top of the mountain. 10 to 12 shots later (we can't remember...) the rain stopped and we found ourselves hoisted onto an open truck zooming back to town. Another bumpy and memorable ride, Rena especially made many friends...

What They Wore... Our Driver

Love the tattooed rings. Must get one...

Mestia, Svaneti, Georgia

We arrived in Mestia after a long haul from Batumi. It took two hours on a Marshutka (public van) packed with people and the suspicious smell of fish. We then transferred to a bumpy five hour taxi ride due to the unpaved road. But oh, it was worth the soar bottom!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Black Sea, Batumi, Georgia


Crossing the border was more complicated than we expected. Our passports were stamped and we were let into Georgia only to wait hours for our bus and luggage to be processed. Seven hours, two beers and 25 new Azeri friends later... We were welcomed into GEORGIA!

What They Wore... At the Border

Monday, June 22, 2009

Baklava of the Week... The Grand Finale!

As our journey through Turkey comes to a close our hearts yearn for new sweet horizons. The last Baklava of the Week is dedicated to a special friend and an avid baklava enthusiast. A local Black Sea twist we give you... Custard Baklava! A true blend of east and west. We will continue to follow our sweet toothes further east to the Caucasus Region. Next time in Georgia!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Çifte Minareli Medrese, Erzurum

What They Wore... Elegant in Erzurum

Ani, Turkey

We took a day trip to the deserted former Armenian capital with some new friends.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What They Wore... Green in Kars

Breakfast in Kars

Simit is like a bagel. Mixed with grape syrup (the secret ingredient) and covered in sesame seeds, it is sold everywhere.

What is THIS?

Any ideas?

Mt. Arrarat, Doğubayazıt

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Check out our Poll!

We want to know what interests you and what you would like to see more of! We are open to suggestions! Please vote.

The Royals

Do You Like My Hat..? Hoşap Castle

The view from the castle.

The Cheese Market in Van, Turkey

We recommend taking a stroll to the market after a famous breakfast Van style at Evren Kahvalti Salonu.

What They Wore... On the Bus in Mardin

Mardin, Turkey, Reservations Needed

Mardin is beautifully situated on a hill facing the Mesopotamian plane, across the Syrian border. To our astonishment, it has turned into a holiday destination for vacationing Istanbullus; it is in the middle of nowhere and exorbitant! We were amused when we went to dinner only to be turned away by the snobby and grumpy gay host. It took us a while to muster our royal calm and we realised we needed to transform back to "Non-backpacking Tom and Rena" (we can be King and Queen of the snobby and grumpy, so don't mess!). All in all its a great town for a day trip, but be sure to come emotionally prepared.

Baklava of the Week!

Birthday Assortment (clockwise from the top left):

1. Dolama Baklava. A mix of crushed pistachio and various nuts rolled in thin flaky pastry and swimming in sugar syrup...
2. Tulumba. An egg and flour puff. The baker couldn't explain any of the other ingredients but there was definitely loads of sugar!
3. Şekerpare. Our favorite! A semolina pastry topped with a pistachio and drenched in syrup!

For Rena's birthday, we pigged out on a bit of each. At this rate, we'll never be Kate Moss...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What They Wore... The Men of Diyarbakir

Vests and pocket watches are very "in" amongst the elderly gentlemen.