Moritz Ecker - Blog

WITH A BIKE AND A GUITAR AROUND THE WORLD – НА ДРУГОЙ КОНЕЦ СВЕТА

Month: June 2017

Georgia

caucasus 1

caucasus 2

caucasus 3

after the georgian border it’s a pretty exhausting climb up to the mountain pass at 2400m with many possibilities to have a break and take a photo. If you’re not fast enough (like me) it’s getting dark when you arrive on the top and you’ll have to stay the night up there and it’s really cold at night in the mountain. If I’d do it again, I’d have a coffee less in Vladikavkaz.

caucasus 4

caucasus 5

At 2400m I played a song. It is really cold up there and I could hardly feel my fingers after this little video session. Some people call this the geographical border between Europe and Asia.

caucasus 6

caucasus 7

caucasus 8

The way down to Tbilisi was way easier and suddenly I was not the only Tourist anymore.

georgian street sign

It’s not impossible to learn Georgian letters but for the beginning it was enough to remember how the first and the last letter of my destination Tbilisi destination look like.

Arriving in Tbilisi was a felt very good after the pretty exhausting climb in the North Caucasus and after cycling the first 4000 kilometers I was ready for a break. Tbilisi is a most adequate place for a break, I ate a lot, slept in the park and bought myself a gas mask on the local soviet flea market and a Stalin Portrait of course!

sofar sounds tbilisi

I also had the chance to play a concert for the lovely people at SofarSounds Tbilisi and they made a lovely video of it which youcan find >>>here.

gerogia closed shop

After Tbilisi I had some company, a guy from Australia called Tom Kaye. He writes cool songs but never plays them unless you specifically ask him to, so I made a record with his songs a few years back which you can get >>> here.
Anyways, he’s not on the picture because we lost each other on the first day in the rain. Fortunatelly the traffic police is driving back and forth on these roads, so you can just stop them and ask if they’ve seen another idiot on a bike and if he’s before or after you.

georgia 1

georgia 2

There’s some beautiful spots in Georgia, but the cars are driving like crazy. We witnessed a car smashing into a street light next to us, luckily all three guys were alright (but I didn’t dare to take a photo)

georgia 3

Russia

Entering the largest country of the world I realized it’s not only very large it’s also very empty. Or maybe all Russians were on holidays, no offence either way but this emptiness reminded me of Brandenburg.

magazin graf

Another thing I learned is that in post soviet countries very often shops look like they are closed, even though they’re open. So, it’s always worth a try.

Don’t try to google Popovo, this place doesn’t exist. They just had to build another bus station to pretend there’s actually busses going along that road.

sunset russia

Here you can see all my stuff and a sunset

wild camping russia

Russia north of east Ukrain is great for camping, there’s hardly any people and almost no traffic, a very calm place.

This Song I played on river Don, I hope the storm is not to loud on the recording!

 

m4

East of the east Ukraine it gets very busy. Since nobody wants to go through Lughansk and Donezk all the traffic squeezes through the main that follows the border down to Rostow.

m4-2

When cycling east of the east Ukraine you don’t have a big choice which road to take because there is only one road and this one is unfortunatelly the highway M4, in Germany we would call it an Autobahn. It pretty much features everthing that isn’t fun to cycle: it’s loud, it’s ugly, it’s quite dangerous, it’s dirty, it feels like smoking two pack of cigarettes per day, there is no shadow at all and the street is just straight going up and down all the time. I could see the planes makeing the same circle around the eastern Ukrain that I did. So, thanks for the experience but next time I’d probably hop on a truck and skip this, I had lots of offers because the truck drivers were as bored as I was.

Nevertheless I had some nice encounters along the road. I found out that whenever people asked if I’m carrying a guitar in that bag and I offered to play a song they were so super happy and thankful that I believe it was worth the effort.

Also I realized that since Russia is not changing the clocks to summertime anymore the sun rises at 4.30am and sets already around 8pm which made me set the alarm to some stupid early time just to avoid the biggest heat.

bus stop eisberg

Bus stop ‘Eisberg’

soviet bus stop

Somebody must have spend such an effort designing all these bus stops, so that each one fits it’s neigbourhood. This one is in a mining area. I think somebody even wrote a book about soviet bus stops.

rostow on don

So far the biggest city-name-statue in Rostow on Don

summer rain russia

summer rain in the south of Russia

kafe russia

If you order a coffee and the only question is if you want one ore two spoons of sugar, you know you’re in Russia.

russian church sunset

A small Russian church in a small Russian village

After I passed Rostov on Don it was another 400km of pure boredom of just fields and super straight roads in what is called the Kuma–Manych Depression. I was about to give up on Russia when finally the first mountains of the Caucasus appeared in Stavropol. I had very nice hosts there and it turned out that Alex could actually play the harmonica part of one of my songs better than me even though he modestly called himself a ‘low skill player’. I guess the world needs more low skill players then.

To Pjatigorsk was a very long and exhausting 170km day, but I was rewarded on the next day with a bath in a hot mineral spring on a mountain. You can also get mineral water from a spring to drink. But I have to add here that mineral water in Russia is quite different from what we call mineral water in Germany and probably the rest of Europe. Their mineral water contains actually minerals and I think that’s disgusting. Anyways the bath was damn sweet.

mashuk

This is in the forest of mount Mashuk in Pjatigorsk.

kabardino balkaria-1

kabardino balkaria-2

Since it’s not possible to enter Georgia through Abkhasia (unless you have a Georgian and a Russian passport, I guess) the only road to Georgia goes through the north Caucasus, Kabardino-Balkaria and North-Ossetia.

putin

This is in Kabadino-Balkaria. “We are proud of our country.”

rossia 1

After that it got exciting, in Nalchik which is the capital of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic I stayed with a lady who turned out to be working for the first Russian TV channel РОССИЯ1. And after several passport and security checks and making sure that I’m not up to any conspiracy they let me into their TV cathedral and made a little сужет about me. So, here I am on the russian news.

camping causasus cliff

After Nalchik I found myself an amazing campspot on a cliff with a view on the Caucasus mountains. And I admit that I moved the tent a meter back after I did the photo.

Here I made a short video about my fine little home that I’m carrying around with me.

church Beslan

A beautiful Russian church in Beslan, North Ossetia.

vladikavkaz

The last Russian town before climbing the North Caucasus and crossing to Georgia is Vladikavkaz, a very cosy and a bit sleepy little town with many old brick stone buildings.

After my last night in Russia in Vladikavkaz I turned south into the mountains towards Georgia. I made some videos while crossing the mountain pass to Tbilisi. The road is climbing up and up there and I could have made more videos but I guess I was too exhausted and too overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountain panoramas. So don’t judge me too hard, I’m not a film maker..

shastlivogo puti

“Have a good trip!”

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