week 30


Mon: RAI Overland 14 Caucaso series reaches Azerbaijan and climbs to the Lezgin village of Khinalug up in the mountains along the border with Dagestan, almost opposite to Kurush.

Tues: RAI Overland 14 Caucaso team finally gets to cross into Chechnya and visit the Kharachoy village, next to lake Kezenoyam at the border with Dagestan.

Wed: RT 20 years independence of Armenia report can be described with one statistic: 3 million armenians in Armenia; 10 million abroad.

Thu: RT 20 years independence of Azerbaijan report can be described with one event: “the contract of the century” (the sale of oil drilling rights to western companies).

Fri: Moya-Planeta tour of Dagestan included a tight rope walk…





week 29


Mon: Xenius suggest a more environmental friendly house cleaner spray based on citric acid rather than vinegar or bleach.

Tue: Derbent tourist route, mainly along the citadel-castle and ancient mosque, are worth their UNESCO world heritage status.

Wed: The Don cossacks horse breed is still very much alive and used for acrobatic pirouettes by extremely physically fit young riders.


week 28


Mon: Xenius harvests salt on the plains of la Camargue. But how unhealthy are those microwaveable TV dinner plates full of NaCl?

Tue: RT reported on the Buddhist renaissance in the republic of Kalmykia and the chess madness of Elista’s youth.

Wed: An amateurish travelogue by a couple of angelinos meandering by Azerbaijan main sights showed the megalomany of its former president Heydar Aliyev and the rather liberal capital, Baku, in a mainly Shia country bordering Iran.

Thu: A summer re-run of Dimbleby’s Russia documentary focused on the Caucasus is a reminder on how different things look once you have had first hand experience… Ahhh, that black soil!

Fri: RAI overland team starts their Caucasian odyssey visiting the isolated tower village of Ushguli in the upper Svanetia province, Georgia’s mountainous heartland.


week 27


Mon: What made H. sapiens separate from other hominids? Xenius claims is the successful compromise between a baby’s brain size and the female pelvis ability to expand at birth.

Tue: Sarah McKenzie trip to Armenia leads us to discover the zhingyalov flat bread.

Wed: Uwe Johnson upbringing, from Nazi Germany to Communist DDR and later defection to west Berlin, gave him a peculiar angle to describe his impressions on American society after a two year long stay in the poor but cosmopolitan north-west Manhattan of the late ’60s.

Thu: How does the biggest milk cow farm in Russia get to be run by a german entrepreneur? Blame the collateral damage from EU economic sanctions…

Fri: Russian Travel Guide TV channel reporter explored the legends of Adygea by climbing its peaks, exploring its caves, and kayaking the river gorges.


week 26


Mon: “Xenius” makes the case for the international metric system as the standard for measurement units in everyday life. But, still, those recalcitrant anglo-saxons do not get it, not even after a NASA satellite engineering contractor screwed-up.

Tue: “360 degrees” report on the pomegranate real and symbolic value for the economy and societal well-being of the entire Armenian society. We get to meet the peasants at the Nrnadzor village taking their harvest to the central market of Meghri braving the unpaved roller-coaster road along the left bank of the Aras river facing the Iranian border located just across the water.

Wed: Amateurish black and white footage from the “cote d’azur” tournee in 1931 of Klaus & Erika Mann, the son and daughter of Nobel laureate writer Thomas Mann, gives a chilling sense of the people obliviousness to the economical debacle of 1929 morphing into the 1939 beginning of WWII.

Thu: “Les premieres dames du Kremlin” aimed at making sense of the role of the leader’s spouse in society. From the head strong¬†Nadezhda Krupskaya (wife of Lenin) to the divorcee Putina, via the suicidal Nadezhda Alliluyeva (Stalin’s second wife) or the soon to die of natural causes Gorbacheva, it is clear that, for at least the last century, Russian politics and family do not go together.

Fri: Dagestan nature preserves, covering reptile infested inland sand dunes, bird sanctuaries along river estuaries on the Caspian sea and, bears and goats filled mountain forests of the lesser Caucasus, have plenty to offer for the wandering traveler.


week 25


Mon: Xenius showed the impossibly simple art of making beer with water, grains, hops and the secretive yeast strain. A group of fanatics even tried to strictly revive and mimic a 19th century German method including vintage attire and surviving equipment.

Tue: The decaying sanatoriums around the Swiss lakes are a sad picture of the clusters they used to be for inspiration and social experimentation driven by intellectuals like Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse after WWI.

Wed: The “viking” on the loose in rural Georgia was a bit off putting. But the wild nature vistas, friendly village people and bountiful orchard harvest made for a delicious “al fresco” lunch and relaxed post-pandrial dance by a 85 years old peasant.

Thu: How can a husbandry matter upset the social balance in a mountain village? Come to Lahic in Azerbaijan where a European cow import by a young farmer is causing the elderly to call for a ban of the foreign intruder … or was it all metaphorical?

Fri: RT is hell-bent on showing the improved commercial ties of China with Russia and former soviet republics like Kazakhstan. In free-trade zone towns like Horgos or Yining (Uyghur autonomous province)¬† the results of the new “Silk road” generated wealth are undeniable.

week 24


Mon: Xenius taught us about Pacific ocean deep bottom mining of poly-metallic nodules and its environmental disastrous consequences. Believe it or not, down there it is teeming with life.

Tue: A train carriage turned into a mobile hospital riding along the transiberian track delivers much needed help to rural areas, as long as patients find their way to the station. Easier said than done, especially on a brutal winter day.

Wed: The savage viking visits rural Chechnya driving the route from Grozny to Itum-Kale passing by jewels like the 11th century Ushkaloi twin towers, and not stopping!!!

Thu: The ETH, or MIT of Europe, showed its formidable engineering strengths to remedy environmental degradation and ameliorate climate change. Only if the global citizenry gathered their collective willpower towards such a goal, the results would be at hand with minimal social disturbances.

Fri: ARTE 360 degrees report on the Lezgin people of the mountainous village of Kurush at the border between Dagestan and Azerbaijan was astonishing: collecting backyard manure to patch house walls, separating the wheat from the chaff by hand, threading wool into rugs at night with light coming from kerosene lanterns … Footage recorded in 2015.