Family photo

Kid in Tmogvi, near Vardzia. Georgia.

I was just having the conversation about lucky shots with a friend of me. A lucky shot can also be a great photo. This photo is my best lucky shot I made so far. This photo was made to check if my exposure settings were correct before making a family photo of a Georgian family in Tmogvi. The mother was still gathering all the family members and this kid was the only one in place yet. Without looking through the viewfinder, I made this photo.

Now this photo is featured in my house printed on aluminum.

Armenia, a travel destination

This page contains some photos of my trips to Armenia. I hope to reach as much adventurous travelers as possible and inspire them to explore Armenia as well. Traditional media and press have been mainly writing about the issues Armenia has with bordering countries while nobody seems to know it actually has stunning scenery and a very warm hospitality. Everything you need for an memorable journey to this wonderful country.

My day-by-day travel journal for Armenia can be found here.

Don’t forget: sharing is caring 🙂

Click any photo below to start a slideshow.

World with reflections

I made a collection of ten photographs where not everything is as transparent as it looks.

De krook

Stadsbibliotheek De Krook in Gent. Ghent. Belgium. Library.

The new library of Ghent opened the doors this weekend. Once an abandoned site now features a modern building housing the city library of Ghent. However, it’s not all about books. The Krook is also the new center of inovation, science and technology. Art and culture is also represented making ‘De Krook’ an ideal place for bringing all people together.

Stadsbibliotheek De Krook in Gent. Ghent. Belgium. Library.
De Krook – Ghent

Georgia – Inspiration for your travel itinerary in Georgia

The famous sulfur baths are located under these picturesque domes in the Old Town of Tbilisi, Georgia. Travel Caucaus

Below is a summary of my trip to Georgia. This include the highlights only. It exists of two circular routes with Tbilisi as midpoint. You can choose to do one route or both.

I hope this summary might inspire you while planning your trip to Georgia. If you come here without plans to visit Georgia. Well, … It’s about time to make some!

Tbilisi

Narikala Fortress rising above the old town. The modern bridge is the Peace Bridge. Tbilisi, Georgia.
Narikala Fortress rising above the old town of Tbilisi.

David Gareja

 

David Gareja monastery complex

Signaghi

A few options here, depending on your time.

  • If you are on a tight schedule, try to reach Telavi.
  • Else, stay in Signaghi and visit the Lagodekhi park the next day. Sleep a second time in Signaghi (or again head to Telavi in the evening).
Sighnaghi - Georgia
View on Sighnaghi.

Telavi

Arrange transport to head to Tusheti. Leave in the morning. (It over 5 hours driving!)

Alaverdi Monastery

Make sure to talk with your driver about visiting the alaverdi monastery on your way from Telavi to Tusheti.

Alaverdi Monastery - Georgia
Alaverdi Monastery
The road to Tusheti

Tusheti

Stay in one of the guest houses or camp at the Green House (very obvious green guest house in lower Omalo). Make day hikes to the surrounding villages. You can catch a ride if you are lucky. But don’t trust on cars here in the mountains. Neither on electricity. You could rent a horse if you know how to ride one.

Keselo fortress in Upper Omalo - Tusheti - Southern Caucasus - Georgia
Keselo fortress in Omalo

Dartlo

Day hike from Omalo. Stay in Dartlo or return to your guesthouse in Omalo.

Dartlo, stunning village with typical towers in Tusheti next to the Alazani river.

Shenako – Diklo Fort

Another day hike from Omalo.  Return to Omalo.

Shenako village, Tusheti, Georgia, Caucasus, Mountains, Travel, Hiking
Shenako village

Tbilisi

A long drive from Tusheti. You’ll probably need to change to a minibus in Telavi to second half to Tbilisi. Stay one night in Tbilisi.

The famous sulfur baths are located under these picturesque domes in the Old Town of Tbilisi, Georgia. Travel Caucaus
The famous sulfur baths are located under these picturesque domes in the Old Town of Tbilisi, Georgia.

If you still have time and really don’t want to stay in Tbilisi one more night. (I don’t know why, but …) head immediately to Mtskheta and stay there for the night.

Rent a car in Tbilisi. We had 4×4.

Mtskheta

From Tbilisi head to Mtskheta. On your way make sure to visit the Jrapi church. With the best view on Mtskheta and the river. The cathedral in Mtskheta is UNESECO. Guesthouses, hotels and restaurants available in Mtskheta.

Georgia georgian military highway caucasus river
View from Jvari Monastery on Mtskheta

The Georgian Military Highway

A spectacular road to Stepantsminda.  A few things to visit along this road.

Ananuri castle

Ananuri is a castle complex along the Georgian Military Highway and the Aragvi river.

Soviet-Georgian Friendship Memorial viewpoint

georgia caucasus mountains
A well known viewpoint along the Georgian Military highway is the Soviet-Georgian Friendship Memorial. It has colorful murals and offers great views over the valleys.

Truso Gorge

Either visit while you are on the road to Stepantsminda or visit as a day trip from Stepantsminda.

You need to leave the Military Highway and turn in a gravel road following a stream. You can walk deeper into the gorge as far as you want. But you’ll probably have to return the same way.

Caucasus Georgia republic
Truso Gorge. A wonderful valley with mineral springs all over the place.

Sno Valley

Again, visit while on your way to Stepantsminda or make a day trip. Also possible to stay in hotel in village Juta (at the end of Sno Valley).

To visit to Sno Valley, leave the military highway in Sno village. The only road that continues in the valley goes to Juta.

Several hikes available starting in Juta.

Walking higher into the valley. Juta, Sno valley. Caucasus Georgia
Walking higher into the Sno Valley.

Stepantsminda

Very likely that your ride on the Georgia Military Highway will end here. Plenty of guest houses available here. Ideal base to visit the surrounding area. (Sea above and below.

Gergeti Trinity Church

Hike up from Stepantsminda. Wonderful location, especially if you camp in the field around the monastery and watch the sunrise.

View on the Gergeti Trinity Church site. Kazbegi. Georgia. Caucasus. Travel.
View on the Gergeti Trinity Church site.

Kazbegi

Highest mountain in Georgia. You may want to have a closer looking taking the hiking trail starting at the Gergeti Trinity Church. You can walk without equipment to the glacier. About 3 hours (?) hiking from the church.

View on Mount Kazbegi and the glacier. Tags: Travel, camping, tent, mountain, sunrise, Caucasus
View on Mount Kazbegi and the glacier.

Return on the same Georgian Military Highway

You might want to visit one of the above highlights if not done yet on the way up. Search accomodation in either Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Gori or Khashuri (but visit the cave town near Gori on your way.

Uplistsikhe

Cave town near Gori.

Uplistsikhe near Gori in Georgia.
Ancient cave town Uplistsikhe near Gori

Surami

Vibrant small town with a lovely mineral water source and a fortress with great views over the surround land. (See the legend of the Surami Fortress)

The mineral water source in Surami in Georgia.
The mineral water source in Surami
The Surami Fortress. Locals gather here for picnick. Great views from the top of the castle.

Kutaisi

Not very spectacular to visit the city but you might need the town for accomodation. The cathedral, that once was almost completely ruined is completely rebuild.

But more authentic and impressive are the nearby monasteries of Gelati and Motsameta. One monastery on each side of the valley. A hiking trail should connect both but I didn’t verify this path.

Gelati Monastery

Gelati Monastery near Kutaisi. Republic of Georgia. Caucasus
Gelati Monastery near Kutaisi

Motsameta Monastery

Motsameta Monastery.

Alternative road to Svaneti

Only possible if you have your own 4×4 car.

See the alternative road to Svaneti:

  • part 1 – villages Ambrolauri – Orbeli – Tsageri – Letekhi – Tsana
  • part 2 – Tsana – Usghuli – Mestia
Our homestay in Tsana is the big house in the bottom right of this photo. Georgia - Caucasus - Svaneti - Hiking - Village - Mountains
Our homestay in Tsana is the big house in the bottom right of this photo.
Usghuli is recognized as the highest settlement in Europe. Georgia - Caucasus - Svaneti - Hiking - Village - Mountains
Usghuli

Ureki Beach

Is this the best beach of Georgia? A bit further is Batumi, where you’ll find more services on the beach. This beach is more natural than those in Batumi.

Ureki Beach - Georgia - Black Sea - Batumi

Ureki Beach

Batumi

Everything you cannot find elsewhere in Georgia, you’ll find it in Batumi.

Lack of good photographs since we got rain only in Batumi.

Rabat Fortress in Akhaltsikhe

Be aware of the gravel road from Batumi to Akhaltsikhe (although possible for normal cars also I guess) Completely renovated fortress in Akhaltsikhe.

Rabat Fortress in Akhaltsikhe

Borjomi

Very likely you’ll know by now that Borjomi is famous for it’s mineral water. Bottled Borjomi water is served everywhere in Georgia. Vibrant city with nice park and the Borjomi source. Look for accomodation in Borjomi.

The natural spring in Borjomi - Georgia - Travel - Travelguide
The natural spring in Borjomi

Borjomi national park

Make a day hike (or try a multiday hike, as the best sites of this park are more than a day hike away) in Borjomi national park.

Hiking in Borjomi National Park - Georgia - Nature - Forest
Hiking in Borjomi National Park

Vardzia

Another cave town in Georgia, much spectacular than the one near Gori. Also the setting is more remote and so more impressive.

Cave town of Vardzia. Amazing travel places. Beautiful caves in Georgia.
Cave town of Vardzia

Last thing to do before heading back to Tbilisi (or further into Armenia) is take a dive in a bath filled with natural hot water! We found a guest house in Tmogvi (3 km before vardzia) with a few hot water baths.

Do you need more details, or you just want more?

See my full travel journal for Georgia.

The map with itinery and highlights. Click on the markers to see the name and photo.

Geutelingen. The revival of an old tradition.

The traditional oven where the Geutelingen are baked in Elst.

It old started with the Catholic feast of Saint Apollonia. Saint Apollonia is the patron saint of dentists. People came on a pilgrimage to the church to heal their toothache. The people came from far away, and needed food when they arrived and finished their prayings. Since they cannot eat everything with their tootache, the locals prepared something in between a waffle and a pancake. Called ‘Geutelingen’.
They say that the geuteling confers year-long immunity to toothache.

Elst is called the village of the Geutelingen. There is a small museum where they show – only in winter – how the Geutelingen are baked in the oven. You might even get a chance to try it yourself.

The oven to bake Geutelingen. Geutelingenpad in Elst - Brakel - Vlaamse Ardennen - ZwalmstreekThe traditional oven where the Geutelingen are baked in Elst.

Inside the oven it’s about 300 degrees. Not something you’ll be able to do in your home kitchen!

If you are (un)lucky, you’ll have to take a short course and demonstrate yourself how to bake a ‘Geuteling’.

Our friend Marie was able to handle the hot temperatures coming out of the oven and got her certificate.
Eating the famous Geutelingen in Elst. Geutelingenpad in Elst - Brakel - Vlaamse Ardennen - Zwalmstreek
However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! Delicious!

The Geutelingen are only available around the feast of Saint Apollonia.  Starting halfway January until beginning of March.

The ovenmuseum is located  in Ommegangstraat 3 in Elst.

Definitely make a walk through the hilly surroundings of Elst while you are there. There are multiple marked trails around. We did the ‘Geutelingen trail’.

Click here for our hike report of the Geutelingen trail.

 

 

La Roche de Saloru

From the lookout tower "La Roche de Saloru" there is a beautiful view on the valley of the river Semois and the village of Membre in Ardennes region of Wallonia, Belgium..

Places like these keep me going to the Ardennes again and again. This photo is taken from the lookout tower “La Roche de Saloru” where there is a panoramic view on the valley of the river Semois near the village of Membre.

From the lookout tower "La Roche de Saloru" there is a beautiful view on the valley of the river Semois and the village of Membre in Ardennes region of Wallonia, Belgium..
Beautiful view on the valley of the river Semois near the village of Membre in Belgium.

Pur Semois

Old tobacco barn along the Semois river in the Ardennes in Belgium

The Semois valley in the Ardennes in Belgium is pretty wel known for hiking and other outdoor activities. While hiking through the valley you will often see old barns. These used to be tobacco barns. Today there are only a few families left who still produce tobacco near the Semois river. However, there products seems to be a highly qualified artisan tobacco.

Honestly, I don’t care much about tobacco but I do like these picturesque tobacco barns scattered in the beautiful valley of the Semois river. Pur Semois.

Old tobacco barn (Tabakschuur) along the Semois river in the Ardennes in Belgium