12th November 2017

Moldova – Transnistria

I booked my tour on the Internet and am a little alarmed when my car turns up containing three stocky men wearing leather jackets. One guide, called Vladimir, one driver and one driver instructor I’m told. I feel as if I’m on a Mafia excursion, but decide not to pass on this information
10th November 2017


I hope the poorest country in Europe is worth it. It was a last minute addition to my trip when I realised that I had visited every other country in this continent.
4th November 2017


After the competitive goliath construction in the other central Asian countries it’s already looking as if the only award Almaty is going to win is Most Boring City. It’s dull and hazy, which doesn’t help and we can only just discern the mountains that surround it, already frosted with snow.
1st November 2017


The mountains are gorgeous, like fruit cake dusted with icing sugar. This is reassuring, as we’ve been assured, by astonished guides when we planned to leave the tour, that there is nothing to see in Tajikistan.
28th October 2017


The airport is all white marble, green and gold, with every modern device possible and cascades of automatic escalators and moving walkways. It is eerily absolutely deserted – even more so than the one in Pyongyang.
25th October 2017


Azerbaijan is home to half of the world’s population of mud volcanoes, over 400 in fact, so naturally we have petitioned to have them added to today’s tour to Gobustan Park.
24th October 2017


Georgia on my mind, though not the American state, which is what Google throws at you if you type Georgia into the search engine. I’m finally on the train.
17th October 2017


Visiting Kiev is essentially a tour of churches and monasteries (both Ukrainian and Russian orthodox- there was yet another schism) with some panoramic views of the river Dnieper and its islands thrown in. Like Rome, it is built on seven hills (give or take a few) with catacombs below.
15th October 2017


Overall, Minsk feels more Russian than Russia. There’s a Lenin Street (and a Lenin statue), a Karl Marx street, a GUM department store, a Gorky Park and the KGB. Everyone speaks in Russian.