Ukraine - Україна
|Odessa - Оде́са Ukraine|
Ukraine is a large and fascinating country, with a wide variety of natural landscapes and travel destinations. The cities of Kiev and Lviv should be on your travel list, if only for the unique architecture.
Odessa is the largest city on the Black Sea coast. It is visited by many tourists because of its warm, mild climate, good beaches, resorts and general relaxed, seaside atmosphere. The same can be said of Yalta in the Crimean peninsula. Other travel recommendations include the Carpathian Mountains and the ancient city of Kamyanets-Podilsky.
The Ukrainian language is an ancient Slavic tongue. Ukrainians are friendly and communicative people. Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion.
Estonia - Eesti
The capital Tallinn is a must, but the second largest city Tartu is also recommended. There are also wonderful natural landscapes in Estonia, for example on the island of Saaremaa. It has meteorite craters, but also many lovely traditional buildings.
The rural Estonian culture looks somewhat like the Dutch, with windmills and wooden shoes, but is completely different at the same time. Estonians are peaceful and practical people. Estonia has a relatively low population density and is a well-organized country for travelers.
Georgia - საქართველო
|Ureki and Kobuleti, Georgia|
The country has unique traditions of hospitality, wine making, wine drinking, dining and toasting. The majority of Georgians are orthodox Christians. Georgian is a Caucasian language, unrelated to any other language family in the world. It also has its own alphabet.
The capital Tbilisi is by far the largest city in Georgia. This hub on the Silk Road is some 1500 years old. Another city to visit is Batumi on the ‘riviera’, the Black Sea Coast. The Caucasus mountains offer excellent skiing and hiking opportunities (Gudauri, Bakuriani).
The general and tourist infrastructure have completely been rebuilt in recent years, so travel has become much easier in Georgia.
Azerbaijan - Azərbaycan
|Baku - Bakı, Azerbaijan|
In ancient times, people in Azerbaijan were fire-worshippers. Up to the middle ages, the main culture was Caucasian, Christian. Today Turkish influences and Islam are prevalent.
The capital Baku has an ancient walled city, the Maiden Tower, but also lots of shopping opportunities and a vibrant nightlife. Not far from Baku is the Yanardag fire mountain , which is literally a wall of fire burning 24/7 over a natural gas source.
Other travel destinations in Azerbaijan are Gobustan, with mud volcanoes and 12,000 years old petroglyphs, the town of Sheki, with many well-preserved mosques and caravanserais, and the Shahdag mountain area with spectacular landscapes and great ski resorts.
Poland - Polska
The most famous catholic location is Czestochowa with the Jasna Gora monastery. The Wieliczka Salt Mine in southern Poland is one of the oldest salt mines in the world, and the catholic miners have carved out statues, chapels and a whole cathedral in them. Most tourists in Poland visit the capital Warsaw, but Krakow is the most popular travel destination.
Its old town with beautiful renaissance and gothic architecture is popular for shopping opportunities, cafés and restaurants. There is an impressive amount of history to discover in Poland.
The country has brought forth many historic figures (from Copernicus and Chopin to pope John Paul II) and has been the scene of history (from the atrocities of Auschwitz to the Solitarity movement in Gdansk). Nature is also worth a visit in Poland, for example the Carpathian and Tatra Mountain areas.