At 7am the streets of Yoshkar-Ola were dark and empty. As I shuffled over dirty snow and treacherous black ice, the only sound was the bickering of ravens overhead. The shops on ulitsa Kremlyovskaya – Apteka No. 67; Evroset; Moda 21 vek – told me that I had arrived in provincial Russia. Except that ul. Kremlyovskaya is also Kreml urem: street signs and building plaques are written in Russian and Meadow Mari, the most widely spoken of the four Mari dialects.
I made a beeline for the peculiar buildings in the distance. … More Letter from Yoshkar-Ola (Republic of Mari El, Russia) – for The Calvert Journal
Zorats Karer means Army Stones in Armenian, but they are also known as Carahunge – Speaking Stones, for the whistling sound that fills the site when strong winds blow through the holes. The best guess is that the rocks were placed 7,500 years ago; at the time that Stonehenge was created the army stones had already been standing in Sisian for over two thousand years. … More The Mysterious Zorats Karer Stones – for Caravanistan
For my first few days in Armenia my mind was elsewhere. I was searching for signs of the two worlds that overlap in the South Caucasus, where wild Eurasian land is punctuated by the Cyrillic – and the shambles – of the post-Soviet space… … More Postcard from Noravank monastery, Armenia – for Elsewhere Journal
Taking the train between Yerevan and Gyumri was going to be the highlight of my time in Armenia – especially the journey through Ararat province. But on the day I went, Mount Ararat was hidden by clouds. Instead, the best part of my trip was the beautiful sight of white storks gliding above the farms and fields next to the train, and making their nests on top of the station buildings at Masis and Etchmiatsin. In Armavir province, hoopoes fly next to the train tracks. … More Five things that will surprise you in Armenia – for Wandelion
Khor Virap monastery, 30km west of Yerevan on the border with Turkey, for the vivid and important story behind it – and the beautiful sight of Mount Ararat looming over the church. In Yerevan, the Sargis Muradyan gallery (on Isahakyan street, near to ‘Cascade’) is a great place to spend a free hour. … More Just back from… Armenia
Expedia Sweden got in touch with me this week for an interview about my travels. The post appears in the Möt en resenär (‘Meet a traveller’) section of their blog at expedia.se – the English version comes after the Swedish, on the same page. … More Möt en resenär: Talking travel with Expedia Sweden
“The adrenaline fizzing in my blood dulls my judgement. I am not as scared of the man in the ugly green uniform as I should be. But I don’t bother him: it’s pointless to look for thieves after dark in a labyrinth of creepy housing blocks like Kryukovo. … More Escape from Moscow: A night with the Russian militsiya