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David Langan's Posts
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Abkhazia Visit: 2010-6
2010-07-02 -

A very nice place, great setting and lovely to walk around . .
A couple of options to get here.
I flew to Sochi and then arrange a bus or taxi to the border. In fact it is really nearer Adler rather then Sochi.
I stayed at the Radisson hotel in Sochi.
I picked up a bus just outside the hotel that took me to a taxi station to go to Abkhazia, I told the driver to drop me at the next bus.
That was about 100 rouble, then found a bus driver to take me to the border , but in fact he took me by car, 300 rouble.
The hotel wil want about 1500 for this,so this is the cheapest option.
Not much to see in Sochi , Adler is nearer the airport and the border, so stay in that region. Then take a afternoon trip up the mountains , great views and you can go to a area that is world heritage site , the Western Caucasus.
Other options are now flights from Moscow from next week with Aeroflot to Sukhim capitol of Abkhazia.
You can also cross the border from Georgia, once you have permission in advance from Abkhazia foreign ministry.
You would need to check with a Georgian embassy to check ok in advance.
Ok back to this trip.
Corssing the border is a little walk. In advance you have to have permission from the Abkhazian froeign Ministry. You can find the web site. You send them a email with scan of your passport and incoming dates. You dont have to get the exact date, just give them 5 days before with a stay of one month. That will be ok and give you full flexability.
You can apply about one month in advance.
Ok so back to the border. You hand in your letter from Abkhazia and you must also have a Double entry Russian visa to get out the same way. The Russian exit people check all this, then you walk thru to the Abkhazia side and they check the letter and so on. This all takes about 20 mins.
When you get out the far side you can either do a deal with a piece of paper and pen to get a cab to Sukhum. I did a deal for `1200 roubles. Or you can get a bus, but I dont know the story with that.
The taxi takes about 2 hours or less. I got a new Toyota car, so very nice. But they mostly want around the 1500 , but hold off and you should get this price .
If you have time on the way down you could do some stops as there is a beautiful monastry and some great views by the sea.
I myself did not do this and wil be doing it on the way back as have arranged time on the way back to get flight from Sochi.
I stayed at the Sukhum hotel, you can find on the web. 55 euro per night and central. You can eat down town or accross the way in the Victoria hotel.
Sukhum is quite a marval , great to walk around and just a nice interesting place.
I went up to the Botanical Gardens and around the streets. Just sitting in the centre over looking the black sea and see all the tree lined streets is quite nice.
Before you leave you must get a visa .
You go to a specail bank and pay 20 dollar or rouble equiv and get a receipt. Then to the foreign ministry and give the receipt and you get a loose visa you can put in your passport . The hotel was very helpful explianing all this to me.
If you are into sending Postcards, welll that is a story and a half..
There is one shop selling postcards on the opposite side to the street of the post office, so look out for that.
In the post office they only really have envelopes with Russian stamps as Abkhazia stamps are only valid for Abkhazia.
Ask for the philatelic section up stairs,, Philatelic sounds the same in Russian !!!
Ok up stairs and there show the postcards,, (tip do not write on the card until you have the stamps on. )
Ask for Abkhazia stamps and you will be told in russian that you also have to have Russian stamps on as well as the postcards go back via Sochi. That is fine Da,...
So put the Abkhazia stamps on and they they may try to get you to put the postcards into envelope. Tell them no and beg.. yes beg for Russian stamps .. (Better tip bring russian stamps from sochi and have them just in case)
Next in my case the Stamps appeared so how and you then put them on the left side.
Now you can write your card with what space you have.
Pay for the stamps and give a little extra and then down stairs to make sure they get stamped and sent out in the mail.
On the way to the border I have allowed extra time and will stop at the sights I missed on the way down.
I did a deal with a taxi driver near the post office for 1500 roubles. to the border.
hotel is www.otel-sukhu.ru
Foreign Ministry www.mfaabkhazia.org/

Now hope this helps,
David


Guinea-Bissau Visit: 2009-2
2009-03-30 - Visited in Feb 2009. Got visa in Brussels as not sure of on arrival if arriving as a tourist. Flight by Air Senegal from Dakar, Senegal. Very friendly people and did have any hassle . So easy to walk around. Found a nice place to eat at back of Aparthotel Jordani. Bissau Palace you can find it on the web site, is the best place to stay. $5/10 from airport by taxi, very near. But they do not answer the web site, so you need to ring of if you speak only English ask for the Manager who is the only one who speaks English. Most people here speak French(not Portugese!) surprise surprise. The Arquipelago dos Bijagos are interesting to see, but I went to a near island about 90 mins by boat. I would not recommend it, no safety on board and not much to see. To get to the real Interest you need to get to Babaque and it takes 4-6 hours, so not worth it in my opinion. By the way please remind to re confirm you flight out , as they change , so when you arrive go as soon as possible to Air Senegal office in Bissau .So Safe and interesting and the Postcards do arrive. Really a people place like most West Africa.
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