The English section was started in December 2014. Prior blogs are avilable in German language only.
All blogs we have published so far can be found in the Archive section, sorted by calendar year.
Before the border to Georgia we pass an endless queue of trucks that have to wait here for hours. The entry is however absolutely problem-free for us and immediately after the barrier a lot of tractors are waiting to sell everything what one needs, or not.
We change our remaining Turkish Lira to a course that brings tears to your eyes and buy a SIM card and a mandatory car insurance for 30 days. Then we leave the nevertheless somehow ordered border chaos behind us and drive on to Batumi. The city lies in the south west at the Black Sea and has experienced an unprecedented investment boom in the last years. Numerous new hotels and a 7km long lake promenade have been built and the number of tourists has multiplied. We stroll at subtropical temperatures some hours through the old town and walk through the parks, but then we continue a few kilometers north to the beach where we stay a few days.
Cappadocia is an old settlement area whose surface is characterised by numerous valleys, gorges and rocky cones, so-called fairy chimneys, which rise into the sky as a result of erosion. The structure was determined 60 million years ago over centuries by numerous massive volcanic eruptions. Wind and weather have created characteristic shapes over thousands of years and have created a huge fairytale landscape. Already in the 4th century before Christ the area was settled and the people created caves, churches and complete underground cities in the soft tuff rock.
First we visit the Ihlara Valley, a 15 km long and up to 150 m deep gorge in the southwest of Cappadocia. Already at the approach we pass the first rock church. In the valley itself there are about 50 rock churches and numerous cave buildings that were created in the 7th to 11th century by Byzantine monks. We go down a staircase with 400 steps and from there we follow a signposted walk along the river. Some of the rock churches and their walls and ceiling frescoes are still very well preserved and at the end of the tour you can cool your feet in a café, whose tables are built into the river, before going up the 400 steps again at 35 degrees.
Not far from Canakkale lies Troja, one of the most important ancient cities in the world according to the travel guide. Right at the entrance there is a 10m large replica of the Trojan horse into which you can even climb. However, the tour through the complex is rather disappointing. After all, the earliest excavations are dated to 3700 B.C. and it is still being diligently dug. But you have to bring a lot of imagination, or a very pronounced archaeological interest, in order to be able to imagine what it was like in former times. The best thing to do is to watch the movie with Brad Pitt again, which helps the imagination a bit.
We stay a little longer in Romania which is a real surprise country for us. In Transylvania, better known under the name Transylvania, the settlement with German settlers mainly from the Rhine and Moselle area began in the 12th century. Only after the fall of communism at the beginning of the 90s did a massive wave of emigration to the Federal Republic of Germany and also to Austria set in. The people are all very friendly and in many places German is spoken which makes communication a bit easier.
Our next destination is Sighisoara or Schäßburg. The place-name signs and the tourist information are in Romanian, German and Hungarian. There are kindergartens where German is spoken, a primary school and a grammar school where German is used as the language of instruction. The school even offers the German Abitur, which is recognised by German universities. The unique historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and really worth seeing. The city's fortifications are still very well preserved and the Stundturm, with a height of 64m and a wall thickness of 2.4m, is the city's landmark. It is simply fun to stroll around and you can also visit the house where Prince Dracula is said to have lived. But you have to be able to endure the tourist hype that is made of it. Anyway, you can still imagine what Sighisoara looked like when German colonists founded the town around 1200.
On Pentecost Sunday, June 10th, we start the second part of our trip around the world in an easterly direction. It is wonderful summer weather and we spend a few days "holiday" at the Gleinkersee in Upper Austria. The small lake is picturesquely situated at an altitude of 800m, surrounded by mountains with numerous hiking trails. In the morning we have the lake almost for ourselves. We enjoy the days and have a good time.