Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Greatest Photo I've Ever Taken (Kazbegi, Georgia)

Georgian roads are an awful lot like Nokia phones, they're sort of fun at first, but at the end of the day, they prove themselves to be poorly made, and neglected during their construction. But, very much unlike Nokia, Georgian roads lead to special places, and it's worth the struggle.

Perhaps no place is harder to get to than Gergeti Trinity Church. We took our reliable 1990's Toyota 4Runner out for a spin through Stepantsminda and towards Mount Kazbek. After 20 minutes of battling through dirt and skidding on ice and snow, we turned around, wishing we had worn diapers underneath our winter attire. We came back to our hotel, and the woman at the front desk called her friend, who came by 15 minutes later in a Mitsubishi something or other from the 80's that was ready to rock. With an eclectic mix of electonic music and Georgian tunes blaring, we made our way to the top, with the goal of seeing Gergeti Trinity Church - and, again, we wished we had worn diapers. I'm telling you, the driving conditions in Georgia are simply otherworldly. And the drivers...don't even get me started.

But why am I writing all this? Well, because at the top, I was able to snap a photo I'll cherish forever. The lighting was perfect, and the scenery was stunning. It tells a story of a little monastery built against all odds, in the face of mother nature, who takes the form of the towering mountain range in the distance. And yes, it was as cold as it looks.

And so, that's where this post comes in - it's a showcase for what I'm calling, "the greatest photo I've ever taken." 

It's of the Gergeti Trinity Church, a 14th century monastery high up in the mountains. I think Bri said it best when she said, "my goodness, whoever built this up here, must have really loved god."

Anyway, without further adieu...

Questions? Concerns? Want more? Check me out on Instagram and Twitter - @travelingmitch

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Closer Look at Istanbul's Best Cocktail Bar (Yabangee)

Since I've been in Istanbul, one of the most fruitful decisions I've made as far as my writing and all that is concerned has been to get in involved with Yabangee. Yabangee, for those who don't know, is an expat collective of creative folks who live in Istanbul and want to do more than just live here - they want to explore and examine it, with eyes wide open. There are a plethora of writers, photographers, and videographers. I became more heavily involved last year, and I've made some great friends as a result, and I'd like to think I've done a touch of good work along the way as well.

The work I've done for Yabangee has been quite varied - I've written about podcasts that would suit the long commute here, done concert reviews, examined must have apps for Istanbul (which is now part of their "Yabangee Classics"), as well as looked Turkey's display at EXPO 15 in Milan. And, needless to say, it's been a pleasure to work with them because there's plenty of really great material on that site to sift through.

Perhaps what has been the most fun project though, has been the Yabangee TV profile we did of Efendi, which I consider to be the best cocktail bar in the city. It's up on Yabangee's brand new YouTube channel, and I thought I'd do the honour of sharing it below. Helping to launch Yabangee TV, it's been a pleasure no matter how you look at it.

I have no idea how much longer I'll be in this city, but it's nice to know that while I've been here, I haven't been wasting time, holed up in the apartment, but rather exploring, engaging and diving into the culture.