My bachelor's degree is soon to be a reality and my time as a bachelor student is about to end. It has been a stressful, but wonderful final year and I will look back at it with joy, remembering all the great times I've had with the people around me. I can only hope that I will meet similarly great people and get to delve even further into fascinating topics as I continue with a master’s in the autumn.
But before my master studies will commence I have a long and well deserved vacation which is brimming with travel plans. I can’t wait to once again get on the road, exploring new and fantastic places.
However, I will begin by revisiting an old favourite. 2008 is going to be the year that I return to Ljubljana. I’ve dreamt of returning for years, though fear that it will not feel the same as when I called the city my home back in 2004 and 2005. I am staying with João who lives at Slovenska Cesta, which is as central as it gets. I’m going to enjoy all the thing which I used to love back in the days. Drink bela kava at Makalonca, visit Ljubljanski Grad and meet old friends. I will relax and ponder how the last time I was here, I was yet to start my education.
I know the place will not be the same as before. Time has gone by and Slovenia has adapted greatly to the EU in just this short time I have been away. Most of my friends are no longer there and I will be a tourist like anyone else. But it is still my city. It will still consist of all the great memories I have. Of all the people I love from the time I lived there.
But I will also explore new places. I have long regretted not to have visited Budapest during my stay in Ljubljana. It is only an 8 hours train ride away and one of the most significant European capitals. So, I’ve planned to make amends and to enjoy a few days in this cultural and historical epicentre. If you do not know in which country Budapest is the capital, you’ll find the answer here: "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?"
Returning to Slovenia
I arrived in Ljubljana today, for the first time in three years. Being back is really strange. The city has changed, and yet it is the same. New people, old people, new smells, old smells. Places that I remember, places that have come, places that no longer exist.
The Majestic Budapest
The grand Danube river with the majestic Parliament lighting up at night is stunning and I must have spent at least twenty minutes in the cold summer weather gazing across the river.
The big and extensive travel however is a long dreamed of visit to the Caucasus region. I will be joining a two week summer university in Baku, where I will get to learn a bit of Azeri and getting to know the culture and people more deepluy through my meeting with local university students.
It has been a dream for years to see Baku, capital of Azerbaijan. Ever since I watched a travel programme about Baku and the area which stretches into the Caspian Sea, I’ve wanted to go. The massive oil-towers fascinate me and the idea of poisonous snakes inhabiting the area scares me. It seems so different from what I know back home or have visited before that I can’t wait to explore it. Therefore, I greatly look forward to spend two weeks in the company of local students who will be teaching me not only the language but also about the culture and history of the place. After Baku, I'll leave for Georgia and Armenia for another two weeks, hoping to discover the beauty and thrill of the Caucasus.
However, I'll start my journey with a stopover in Riga, Latvia.
I can hardly wait for this summer to begin!
First taste of the Baltics – Riga
I've been city touring - though without the bus. I walked all around the old centre this morning and afternoon. Riga is truly a fairytale city. A bit like Ljubljana with the same atmosphere of a small romantic get-away.
Baku - Culture Shock
Baku, where East meets West, where Islam co-exists with capitalism and where Ladas and Mercedes fill the street. A place of contrast.
Ganja - Going rural
Today we ventured out of Baku on our first trip to other parts of Azerbaijan. We were headed to Ganja, the second largest city in Azerbaijan and situated approximately 320 km to the East of Baku and close to the Nagorno-Karabakh border.
A Religious Journey of Mtskheta
Only 20 kilometres from Tbilisi lies Mtskheta, which is unpronounceable and one of the eldest cities of Georgia. It is also the birthplace of the Georgian Orthodox Christianity and therefore strongly connected to the Georgian identity.
Kazbegi - In the Heart of the Caucasus Mountains
I sit at Tsminda Sameba, the church that represents Georgia in every tourist brochure. Mt Kazbeg is on the West site of the church and the village at the East, - right under my feet. 14 kilometers to the north lies Russia. I am in the heart of the Caucasus Mountains - on the border between Europe and Asia.
Rock sliding in David Gareja
After some amazing days in both Kazbegi and in Tbilisi, I went with a few other backpackers on a day trip to the Kakheti region in the eastern part of Georgia. We wanted to visit the famous David Gareja Monastery, one of Georgia's religious and cultural institutions.
Tbilisi Owns My Heart
I am in love with Georgia and already hoping to return one day. I have been here a little more than a week, yet I feel as if I have only scratched the surface of this fascinating and absolutely stunning country.
Yerevan and Churches in Armenia
What makes Yerevan stand out is the looming Mount Ararat which dominates everything both in the view of the city and in the very essence of what it means to be Armenian.