Barbados has experienced several waves of human habitation. The first wave were of the Saladoid-Barrancoid group, farmers, fishermen, and ceramists who arrived by canoe from Venezuela's Orinoco Valley around 350 AD. The Arawak people were the second wave, arriving from South America around 800 AD. Arawak settlements on the island include Stroud Point, Chandler Bay, Saint Luke's Gully, and Mapp's Cave. According to accounts by descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands, the original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim.
The name »Barbados« comes from a Portuguese explorer named Pedro Campos in 1536, who originally called the island Os Barbados (»The Bearded Ones«), after the appearance of the island's fig trees, whose long hanging aerial roots resembled beards.
Jericoacoara is a place removed from the hurried modern world of screeching sirens, maniac deadlines, traffic jams and endless lineups. A place where streets are paved with sand, where beaches stretch as far as the eye can see and where warm water marries with palm swaying breezes. Until about 20 years ago, Jericoacoara was still a secluded and simple fishing village. There were no roads, no electricity, no phones, no TV's, no newspapers, and money was rarely used.
Since 1984, the area around Jericoacoara was declared Environmental Protection Area (APA) and became a National Park in 2002. This brought many building restrictions and tourism controls what help to preserve the area. Electricity arrived in the village and today, hot showers and air conditioning are no longer luxury articles. However, illumination of the streets is forbidden by local law.
One year after the another, it was again time for the craziest party on this planet: the Brazilian carnival! This year, I have spent the pre-carnival in Sao Paulo and moved on to Rio de Janeiro for the real and pure carnival madness. I was accompanied by my friend David and on my birthday, I could also meet my German friends Rebekka, Melanie and Sebastian, so I had a great time turning 31. We've celebrated on the streets of Lapa and went to the bar at the Caipihostel.
The other days, we have spent at random blocos around this stunning city and enjoyed the Brazilian way of life. On top, we have visited Cristo Redentor for the second time (to do at least some sightseeing) and went for a walk along Copacabana and Ipanema. During our time in Rio, we stayed in Santa Teresa, which is centrally located in Rio, though we were in need of using Uber quite often. The blocos were crazy - here, you will find some of my favorite pictures of the so called »Beatles Bloco« (Bloco Do Sargento Pimenta) Enjoy!
Istanbul, incredible and unqiue Istanbul, was the last stop along my tour through the Caucasus. Hoping for some nicer temperatures, I was highly disappointed, as the thermometer was close to the freezing mark. But: it was Istanbul and I wanted to soak up the atmosphere of this bombastic city as much as possible. As I was is Istanbul in 2013 already, I knew the spots that I wanted to see again already: everyone should have visited this city at some point!
Hagia Sophia, Galata Tower, Grand Bazaar, Taksim Square and just getting lost in little streets - these were the main targets. And, of course, getting some Turkish Delights. After a weekend there, I have left Istanbul today for the city I love the most: Barcelona. Spain is the last station before hitting South America on Thursday. The carnival 2017 is calling, and so I'll land in Sao Paulo for the pre-carnival and will head to Rio de Janeiro for my birthday party and carnival.
Starting in Tbilisi/Georgia, I made my way south to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. The trip was very straightforward, as there is an overnight train leaving Tbilisi every 2nd day and going the other way the following day, so it was very easy to do a day trip from Georgia down to Yerevan. As there was no problem with my drone in Georgia, I took my Phantom along with me to Yerevan hoping for some nice winter wonderland footage.
And: I was not disappointed. The temperature in Yerevan was roundabout -13 degrees Celsius, approx. 10 degrees less than in Tbilisi. So walking around in this freezing atmosphere was a bit painful, but, on the other hand, it gave you an even more intense impression of the strongly Soviet-style city of Yerevan. I have left Yerevan the next day with the overnight train back to Tbilisi in the 3rd class, which cost 9500 Armenian Dram, approx. 17 Euros.
In Georgia, I had finally some more time to spend than in Iran and Azerbaijan. So I could take the chance and travel around this gorgeous country at least a little bit. So I visited the fascinating capital city Tbilisi, the marvellous ski resort Gudauri (where I did paragliding for the first time) and Batumi, which is located at the Black Sea. After all, Georgia made it into my personal hitlist!
I was totally in love with the atmosphere on the streets of Georgia. People are intested in foreigners and even when their English is limited, they will speak up to you and try some conversation. Beer is cheap (a satisfaction, as it was impossible to get in the Muslim countries Azerbaijan and Iran), and the general costs of living are very, very low. In Batumi, I paid for a very nice double room 18 Georgian Lari, which is approx. 6 Euros. The infrastructure is a bit run down, but works perfectly, so travelling within Georgia is even without Georgian/Russian language skills easy...
The next stop after visiting Tehran, the capital of Iran, was Baku in Azerbaijan, where I had almost a full day to spend, before heading off to Tbilisi. After arrival at the airport, passengers in Baku are asked to put their luggage into the X-Ray directly after immigration, where the security officer could see my drone. As I didn't know, that it is illegal to import drones into Azerbaijan without a permission, I was asked to follow into the security office.
As it was around 5am in the morning, the officer, who was in charge of my drone dilemma, was pretty lazy, and so the whole procedure of leaving my drone in the office until picking it up on my onward trip took almost 1,5 hours. I have spent my day in this charming city without my Phantom then, though it would have been great to fly there - Baku is a city made for drone flying! But, lessons learned: do more research before trying to import a drone to a new place...
After having spent more than half a year in Asia (and one week in Western Australia), it was time for some new adventures. So I decided to visit the Caucasus, before heading to Brazil for the carnival 2017. I was able to get a very cheap flight ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Tehran in Iran, where the Caucasus adventure began. My favorite carrier Air Asia operated this 8+ hours flight for less than 150 USD - a deal I couldn't resist. As it is easy to obtain a visa on arrival with a German passport, it was clear: Iran will get its shot.
Researches that I have done beforehand said, that the visa on arrival shall cost 50 EUR, so I was prepared with some money which I didn't use for quite a while. But the procedure was quite painful, as it took forever to finally get the visa. And, of course, it was more expensive than announced. After filling out a form, presenting a travel insurance confirmation and paying 75 EUR, I finally got my Irani visa.
After more than six months in East Asia (and one week in Western Australia), it's time to rewind. I am writing these lines at the airport in Kuala Lumpur and I am more than happy for the past 200 days, where I was able to visit many places I know (and love) again, and also going around and exploring new fascinating places. And from this day on, I will share my experiences with you again - hopefully,it lasts some longer than the first attempt on the One Man Wolf Pack Blog ;-)
So this article gives you an overview about the upcoming three months, where I will leave East Asia for Central Asia and South and North America via Turkey and Spain. The upcoming flight will bring me to Tehran, where I will have two days to explore the capital of Iran. After this, I will head to the Azerbaijani capital Baku, followed by Tbilisi, Georgia's capital. From there, I will explore Georgia and Armenia, where I will definitely head also for the last capital out of these four: Yerevan.