Travel articles about the Caucasus region - Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan

When Georgians and Beer Mix

When you toast someone or something in Georgia with a beer, it's more like a curse than a traditional toast for good health and prosperity.I wonder, How many Georgians are drinking beers and clinking to Russia, Putin, and Medvedev right now? … [Read more...]

Marshrutka Monologues (or, Why We Travel the Way We Do)

Kyrgyz Marketing

I thought Americans liked to travel in comfort. I don’t know why you take a marshrutka. You should take the marshrutka. There you will meet the real people. -- Two competing local views on whether or not we should subject ourselves to long-distance rides on marshrutka minivans, the dominant form of public transport in the Caucasus and Central Asia. … [Read more...]

Golden Camel Awards, Part 1: Food and Markets

Camel Crossing

Welcome to the first and only Golden Camel Awards, a camel’s eye view of the best and worst that Central Asia and the Caucasus have to offer!While most people don’t travel to the Caucasus and Central Asia solely to explore the cuisine, we had our share of pleasant eating experiences there. We also occasionally felt the wrath of a post-Soviet culinary hangover. … [Read more...]

Reflections: Crossing the Caspian Sea

Your trip across the Caspian may provide some of the scariest and most fulfilling moments of your entire journey. -- A veteran journalist we met in Tbilisi, Georgia who had seen it all in the former Soviet Union.Although we are posting this from Pingyao, China, we dial back a few clicks to the beginning of our journey in Central Asia in an attempt to adequately … [Read more...]

This Land Is Not Your Land

Caucasus Map

Before this journey, our experience with the disputed regions in the Caucasus - Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh - amounted to a few news articles and flashpoint body-count news tickers drifting across the bottom of our television screens.Something bad had happened, people had died, but we never truly appreciated or understood the details. … [Read more...]

Kutabs and Kebabs: Azerbaijani Food

Colorful Kebabs

Given that Azerbaijani culture and language is Turkic in origin, it's not surprising that its cuisine also carries a strong Turkish influence. Doner kebabs are so prevalent on Baku's streets that you'd swear they were Azerbaijani by origin.One thing is certain though. Azerbaijanis like their meat, with shashlik (barbecue) as the style of choice. One meal took us … [Read more...]