Thoughts of the Day 15

  1. If you are ever going to attend France’s National Day parade on 14 July, watch out for the pioneers of the Foreign Legionsoldiers-from-the-foreign-legion-d19f-diaporama
  2. More Orwellian news out of Russia.
  3. Romania: “Look, USA, that’s how you do an impeachment. Quick and easy.”
  4. I have great admiration for people who know how to format Microsoft Word documents.
  5. You may have missed “Bring your Child to Work” Day, but Queen Elizabeth II didn’t. landscape-1498052185-queen-princecharles-queenspeech
  6. And did the Queen wear a hat symbolizing the EU flag?
  7. Speaking of the Queen, it was nice of her to visit victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. But if you live in a palace with 775 rooms (and have a few more palaces on hand), the proper thing would be to offer shelter, not handshakes.
  8. The devastating forest fires in Portugal touched me even more because I had just been hiking there – and noticed the dangerous combination of pine trees and eucalyptus – and had been hosted via Couchsurfing by Joana and Tiago, who is a firefighter and working against these forest fires now. Good luck! portugalfire_2634093k
  9. Thank to Sonia Ninova for The Death of Expertise, a very timely book and one which hopefully adds more context and explanation to the phenomenon that I witness myself far too often: that experts are not believed or that every opinion counts the same, and sometimes even that expertise and learning are regarded as something negative. nichols_deathofexpertise
  10. When your employer gives you the number 007, shouldn’t you ask what happened to 001 through 006?
  11. 1963, when US Presidents where still interested in the physical fitness of the people – and the President’s brother was the first to accept the challenge of a 50-mile walk. Successfully so.bobbyontrail
  12. I prefer the SOE over SEO.
  13. Thanks to the anonymous donors of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s Three Letters from the Andes, Juan Gabriel Vásquez’ The InformersNick Thorpe’s The Danube: A Journey Upriver from the Black Sea to the Black Forest and Artemis Cooper’s Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure.51q2tt9u9pl-_sx343_bo1204203200_
  14. I still don’t understand how airlines can offer flights within Europe for less than 10 euros. Often, it costs me more to get to the airport by train/bus than to fly across the whole continent.
  15. The US President bans a certain part of the population from serving in the US military based on their identity. Let that sink in.
  16. The young Osterinsel Kinderbuch
  17. and the still young are happy about my postcardsAntigua Oliwia
  18. Afghanistan has a Sesame Street, too:

Posted in Afghanistan, Books, France, James Bond, Military, Politics, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Technology, Travel, UK, US election 2016, USA | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Still Life with a BMW


(Photographed in Tbilisi, Georgia.)

Posted in Georgia, Photography, Travel | Tagged , | 5 Comments

How dangerous is Abkhazia?

Those were the reactions when I announced my plan to travel to Abkhazia:

  • “Oh, isn’t that dangerous?” (seventeen times)
  • “Be careful, it’s very dangerous there!” (eight times)
  • “But what would you want to do there?” (five times)
  • “You have to be very careful! Under no circumstances should you speak to a girl. As soon as you just look at a girl, four of her brothers with guns will be there to protect her. It’s like Chechnya.” (once)
  • The Department of State strongly cautions U.S. citizens against travel to the Russian occupied regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. A number of attacks, criminal incidents, and kidnappings have occurred in and around the area.” (US State Department)

My first visit to Abkhazia only lasted four days. But as I was out exploring every day and crossed almost the whole country twice, I dare say I got enough of a first impression to tell you about it.

And this is what Abkhazia looks like:

train station Suchumi.JPG

waterfront Sukhumi.JPG

botanical garden.JPG

corniche sukhumi.JPG

painter botanical garden.JPG

blue house.JPG

Krone mit Meer.JPG

See mit Boot und Burg.JPG

Kirche Museum Wasserfall.JPG

train station.JPG

Kloster durch Wald.JPG


night Sukhumi.JPG

So, how dangerous was Abkhazia really?

Quite dangerous indeed! Dangerously beautiful and dangerously interesting. It is particularly dangerous for people who don’t want to lose the prejudice about anywhere east of Italy being dangerous, evil and poor.

Seriously, the most dangerous thing was this cat who tried to eat my shoelaces.

Katze Schnürsenkel.JPG

By the way, while I was gone exploring the Caucasus, Germany looked like this:

Lesson: Most travel warnings are useless and wrong because they are issued by people who have never visited the relevant country, or their last visit was 10 years ago, or who are sitting in an office all day and are generally scared as soon as they venture outside.

(Zur deutschen Fassung.)

Posted in Abkhazia, Life, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Persian architecture in Georgia

Tbilisi is formed by so many different architectural styles, that it’s difficult to take a photo of just one. Here, the tower of a brick mosque and a wonderful wooden balcony are squeezing themselves into the picture.

persian architecture.JPG

The building with the blue facade, reminiscent of mosques in Isfahan, is the Orbeliani bathhouse. When I was in Tbilisi, it was unfortunately closed for renovation.

Posted in Georgia, Iran, Photography, Travel | Tagged | 3 Comments

What’s the priority, car or house?

You can either have a big car and a live in a run-down house

big car.JPG

or stick to the old car and live in a mansion.


As you know, I have neither and travel the world instead.

(Photos taken in Tbilisi, Georgia, and in Ganja, Azerbaijan.)

Posted in Azerbaijan, Economics, Georgia, Life, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Poetry Slam (6) Bear

It was my last bottle.
But when you meet a bear,
you share.
He drank it full throttle.

Bär füttern.JPG

(Photographed in Novy Afon, Abkhazia. – But it’s nicer to meet bears who live in freedom.)

Posted in Abkhazia, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

James Bond: Pierce Brosnan vs Daniel Craig

The argument about who is the best James Bond is rather moot because no actor could work forever. Also, times have changed since 1962 (when Dr No was released) and it’s unfair to blame Roger Moore now for his clothing style. Your (and my) parents wore the same silly pants and jackets in the 1970s.

My personal favorite is Pierce Brosnan, though, which might just confirm my theory that most people like the actor who was playing James Bond during the time they grew up.

Fellow fans of Pierce Brosnan will like this video:

Fans of Daniel Craig, don’t take it too serious, please. I do like the seamless editing between the scenes from different movies though.

Posted in Films, James Bond | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments