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Wojciech's Travel log

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You can lose everything, but nobody will take away what you saw and what you experienced...

Log entries 71 - 80 of 1967 Page: 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Sep 18, 2017 12:00 AM The Grand Canyon of Dagestan

The  Grand Canyon of Dagestan Who knows about Salaksky Canyon? It is one of nature wonders of Dagestan. Let you know: it is about 94 kms from Makhaczkala. First you go by the main highway heading to Grozny. Just before Kizylyurt you have to turn left and on the fork few kms onward take the right road. I rented a taxi from Macha... to get there. Make sure it will be the taxi ordered by phone by your hotel/guesthouse - they make the honest calculation. Street taxis are more expensive. Round trip cost me 2200 roubles. The key issue is to reach village DUBKI. Once in the village you have two bumby roads going to the rim of the canyon. After some 500 m you park the car and you walk to the rim. Wow! The deep-blue Salak River is meandring some 500 m down. It is possible to walk along the rim for the better pictures. But be careful! The local lady was talking there to the kids: -You know, in America they have similar Grand Canyon, but of course our canyon is nore impressive! I wish them to go to Arizona and see... :)

Sep 17, 2017 12:00 AM Makhachkala - capital of Dagestan

Makhachkala - capital of Dagestan Shared minibus called marshrutka from Derbent to Makha.... costs 200 rou. In the statistics the capital has 900 000 inhabitants, in the reality 1,2 mln -they say. It is huge, hot, dusty and crowded city on the Caspian Sea. I found good locum in the centrally located Tarkho Hotel. Zero international tourists... The last act of terrorism took plase 4 years ago, but the foreigners are still afraid to come here... Local administration does not care about - no info, no marketing, no city or region maps in English or even in Russian.
I feel safe on the street, even in the evening. I took the walk with my tablet in hand to tbe main Lenin Square (Mr Lenin is still alive here and has at least 2 monuments). Then I crossed by underground passage below the raiway line to the city beach. As iin the other Muslim countries it is hard to find there ladies in bikinis... Then it was worth to walk along the commercial Dakhadayeva Street to the Prospekt Shamil. Here on the corner they built the Grand Mosque. Turkey financed the works. The mosque ca accommodate 17000 people!

Sep 16, 2017 12:00 AM Sleeping below sea level

Sleeping below sea level In the evening there is a nice illumination of the Derbent fortress - see picture. I slept well in my Elit Hotel (1500 rou per huge room with bath and a/c).
It is hard to imagine that I sleep here below the sea level - the Caspian Sea lies in the depression of minus 28 m. The other factor which allows to sleep here well is the delicious Dagestani konyak (brandy) produced here. I saw here yesterday the lorries full of grapes - it is the harvest season now. The 0,5l bottle of this brandy cost 460 roubles - like 8 USD. OH, YES - I try it... :)
Unfortunately down from the city center there is no public beach - you must go north or south. The water in the Caspian Sea is not much salted...
But it is worth to go to the wild beach east from domik of the tsar because you can find there a logt of nice, brown color shells. The domik of Peter the first tsar is just like archeological site covere by glass. Peter I was staying here during his visit to Derbent in 18th century.
On the Lenin street I found probably the only one in the town Russian Orthodox church - cozy and blue. Few Russians live here - most of them escaped to Russia.

Sep 15, 2017 12:00 AM Derbent on the Caspian Sea

Derbent on the Caspian Sea This is the oldest town in the Russian Federation - said Mr Putin... Herodot was here 400 years before Christ, then Marco Polo and others..
Russians say I am vyezunchik - the lucky traveller :) Why? Because I am here on the day of the annual celebration of the "Derbent day"
On the main square whe Mr Lenin still stands the opened many big tents with the display of the regional traditions and crafts. They are singing and dancing since the morning.
Well... in the morning I was climbing to the fortress overlooking the town. They charge 100 rou entry fee and you can take a walk on the top of the walls and there is also an interesting museum. In the evening I was climbing again (again in the heat) to the fortress - there was the concert of the local Lezginka folk group. But the entry only by invitation... No coutesy for the only foreigner in the town (I think) - I was trying to convince twice the sucurity guys but they send me out. Miserable... They did not check the document or the names on the invitations so this was like a comedy...

Sep 14, 2017 12:00 AM Ruins in the jungle - Dagestan

Ruins in the jungle - Dagestan Kala Koreish - this remote place is little known out of Dagestan. Canyou imagine ruins of the ancient kingdom from 11th century located in the forest on the hill overlooking two rivers? That's it! Where I saw it for the first time I compared it to little scale Machu Picchu. So I call it now The Machu Picchu of Dagestan. Dagestanis do not travel to Peru so no wonder that they do not use such comparison :)
To get there you have to take Kubachi - Urkarakh marshrutka and disembark on the fork 9 kms from Kubachi. There is a sign on the side road "4,5 km to Kala Koreish" It is not easy 1,5 h walk each way - you go all down or up on the return. Take plenty of water.... 4WD car can try go all over the way to the bottom of the ruins but it is still risky... On the site there was only one caretaker. There is a stone mosque, a tomb of 3 imams, nice little cemetery and a lot of ruins. We were there alone - no other tourists... It is one of this magic places out of the beaten trail...

Sep 13, 2017 12:00 AM Kubachi - 1500 m above the sea...

Kubachi - 1500 m above the sea... Strong sun from the early morning. The village lies on the few levels, connected by bumpy gravel zig-zag roads.... Somewhere in the middle you will find little square whith few shops and tiny building of administration. Around this building on Wednesday they have weekly market. It is Wednesday today! I went to the market to see few stalls with tomatoes (40 rou per kilo) grapes (50 per kilo) and apples 100 per 3 kilos. It was also good chance to see pretty local ladies in traditional costumes... Then I took the walk uphill to the oldest part of the village.
There are still stone houses, cemetery and old stone tower with little museum inside. You can see there the nterior of traditional locaƧl house, old tooks, engraved plates... Stairs will take yiu to the viewing roof for the panoramic view - it is great and wirth 50 rou entry fee you pay. Kubachi (and many other mountain villages) are well known fir the home prodiction of silver jewellery. Ther is a little shop opposite the administration building where you can see and buy this u nique product. My host is one of the masters an showed me many nice pieces including ornatet swords...

Sep 12, 2017 12:00 AM Marshrutka to Dagestan

Marshrutka to Dagestan In the morning I said goodbye to Grozny. From south bus terminal (avtovokzal) there are minibuses (marshrutka) to Makhachlala - the capital of Dagestan. The problem is that they are departing only when they are full. You are coming and you have to wait. Fortunately I was waiting only 40 minutes. Then it was 2,5 hours and only 150 roubles to pay. It is 32 deg Celsius today! In the old minibus they do not have a/c. Heat and dust!.
In Makhachkala I was forced to change bus terminal northern to southern. City bus 43A goes there. Then I was waiting for the departure of the second marshrutka going to the Kubachi in the mountains. Great views on the way... But it was already dark when we reached this mountain village. No hotel or guest house here. Where to go? I was lucky to be invited for the night by the lovely local people. Thank you Abdulhalik & Pierdaz!

Sep 11, 2017 12:00 AM Chechnya - Lovely Grozny

Chechnya - Lovely Grozny Bye-bye Vladikavkaz! In the morning I took marshrutka (minibus) to Nazran in Ingushetia.(50 rou). Just nearby they built in the middle of nowhere new capital of this tiny republic: Magas. There is no much to see except the memorial tower and ornate buildings of the administration. There are impressive fountains in between. Can you imagine a/c waiting cabinson the bus stops?
Then there was 2-hours drive by another marshrutka from New Avtovokzal to the capital of Chechnya - Grozny.
Imagine brand - new city with a group of 6 skyscrapers and the big morsque... A lot of flowers around and for 100 rou you can take the elevator to the 29th floor to see the panorama of Grozny. Elegant ladies in Muslim dressing - no terrorists... You can even take the pictures inside this ornate Kadyrov Mosque. I love Grozny - it is written in front of city hall. Why not?

Sep 10, 2017 12:00 AM Russia - how they make you lawbreaker...

Russia - how they make you lawbreaker... The local driver we tralel with yesterday was so sweet and enthusiastic: I will take you tomorrow to Ingushetia, you will see there the old, traditional stone towers! We agreed to pay for that another 3000 rou.
At 8 am he was already waiting at the gate. We started new trip. First - on the main road heading to Tbilisi, enjoying the sun an mountain views. Then, in the village of Chmi he turned left to the bridge on Terek river. We crossed the river, nobody was there. Ome 80 m onward I saw monumental gate with the sign "Ingushetia". The soldier opening the gate asked for the passports and... the drama began. He took the passports away and told us we must wait for "nachalnik". 20 minutes later nachalnik came and announced that we broke the low because we - the foreigners entered border zone without special permit. Our sweet driver said that he didn't know about because crowds of Russians are going up and down through the gate without any permits. I said that we are sorry for that and we will be happy to go back.
No, no, no! You will be investigated! They took us to the room. The soldier with big suitcase of equipment took all fingerprints and couple of pictures. We responsed long list of questions from two officers. 8- pages protocol was written and printed. It took 3,5 hours... They said that now we are in FGB database of the people who broken Russian law.
What was the point? The border of Ingushetia is on the river. The driver took us 80 m further - to the post in the gate. There we were informed that foreigners need a permit. - Next time you will be punished! - they said and let us go... Very frustrated we returned to Vladikavkaz and the unhappy driver took us 120 km away to the primitive mountain resort of Tsey. They have there two chair lifts going up the valley to the level of 2445 m.
Round trip journey cost me 200 rou - like 4 USD. It is great deal - wha a views!

Sep 10, 2017 12:00 AM Dear Russians...

Dear Russians... I am in the FSB base. I am not feeling comfortable, dear Russians. I came here to enjoy the beauty of your country and the friendliness of the people... You should rather inform local taxi drivers how far they can drive the foreigners... 80 m by public road can make your foreign guest the lawbreaker - treated like a criminal...

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