The Unexpected Pleasures of Funky, Surreal Belgrade

Posted on Oct 18, 2013 in Culture, Serbia | 9 Comments
The Unexpected Pleasures of Funky, Surreal Belgrade

Belgrade was my base in the Balkans. I was constantly in and out, flitting from festival to city to seaside and back again. Lucky me. Belgrade wooed me and won me: it’s a funky, hip, rough gem of a city. Nondescript Yugoslav-era buildings stand next to ornate blocks of former glory, fancy ice cream shops […]

Mad Trombones & Surreal Sousaphones: It’s HonkFest!

Posted on Oct 11, 2013 in Boston, Culture | 2 Comments
Mad Trombones & Surreal Sousaphones: It’s HonkFest!

Guca was not my first trumpet festival. For the three-and-a-half years before I moved to Istanbul, I lived in Somerville, MA. My neighborhood of Davis Square is a gloriously young and creative bit of the greater Boston area that has many wonderful things about it, but none quite as wonderful as the activist street band […]

A Practical Guide to the Guca Trumpet Festival

Posted on Oct 8, 2013 in Culture, Serbia | No Comments
A Practical Guide to the Guca Trumpet Festival

I discovered the Guca Trumpet Festival through some fortuitous online searching. I couldn’t resist it– a days-long festival of Balkan trumpet music? It sounded like heaven. But when I set out to plan my trip, it was hard to find accurate information about the logistics of the festival. I went anyway, and tried to figure […]

The Ancient Ruins of Ani

Posted on Oct 1, 2013 in Culture, Turkey, Turkey (excluding Istanbul) | 16 Comments
The Ancient Ruins of Ani

Imagine this: a land of vibrant green plains with a picture-perfect cornflower blue sky. The countryside appears deserted, except for the occasional cow. On the horizon, incongruously, loom the giant crumbling carcasses of old Armenian-style churches, or slices of octagonal stone minarets. It’s quiet; it’s a screensaver that’s been interrupted by the remains of something […]

The Simple and The Spectacular: David Gareja Monastery

Posted on Sep 19, 2013 in Culture, Georgia | 2 Comments
The Simple and The Spectacular: David Gareja Monastery

There are sparks when you place the mundane with the insane. The common and the crazy sometimes create something profound. My entire experience of the David Gareja Monastery in Georgia felt like this: the simple with the spectacular, the unexpected juxtapositions of disparate scenes. The four of us—Amiran from Georgia, Luca from Italy, our jovial […]

Lost In The Clouds in Kazbegi, Georgia

Posted on Sep 5, 2013 in Culture, Georgia | 11 Comments
Lost In The Clouds in Kazbegi, Georgia

We climbed to the top of the world and walked in the clouds. At least, that’s how it felt. We were taking a day trip to Kazbegi, a green and mountainous slice of Georgia up near the Russian border—“we” being myself, my new friend Kseniya, and a marshrutka (minibus) full of lovely Polish travelers. I […]

The Amazing Dinamo Market of Tbilisi

Posted on Aug 27, 2013 in Culture, Georgia | 3 Comments
The Amazing Dinamo Market of Tbilisi

The Amazing Dinamo Market is labyrinthine. It curves, winds, layers; staircases hide behind cases of raw meat, the dark and dingy alleys reveal a sort of Georgian tapas scene. The Amazing Dinamo Market, much like the city of Tbilisi itself, is full of tiny, delightful mysteries. For one thing, it’s not actually called the Dinamo […]

Tbilisi, Georgia: How Quickly We Fall In Love!

Posted on Aug 23, 2013 in Culture, Georgia | 16 Comments
Tbilisi, Georgia: How Quickly We Fall In Love!

I had dreams about Tbilisi long before I ever went there. The mysterious Georgian capital intrigued me for years, and everything I read about it just made my heart ache to explore it even more. The food! The art! The cafes! I craved it, all of it. But upon arriving in the splendid city, I […]

Cappadocia Is Wild

Posted on Jul 8, 2013 in Culture, Turkey, Turkey (excluding Istanbul) | No Comments
Cappadocia Is Wild

I’ve been dreaming of Cappadocia’s moonscapes for years. The region in the middle of Turkey is famous for its weird, wavy rock formations and wild shapes and shadows. The fairy chimneys, as they’re called, are a result of soft volcanic rock being buffeted about strangely by the winds of time. Cappadocia was the number one […]

My New Favorite Mosque

Posted on Jun 28, 2013 in Culture, Istanbul, Turkey | 7 Comments
My New Favorite Mosque

Istanbul’s skyline is full of exquisite mosques. Resplendent with grand bluish domes, minarets like exclamation marks, and courtyard complexes full of flowers, they are truly some of the loveliest buildings in this city. Most tourists who come to Istanbul spend time in just one—Sultanahmet Camii, more commonly known as the Blue Mosque. The Blue Mosque […]