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Riding the AeroportEkspress on my way in to Moscow from Sheremyetevo II

From the window of the AeroportEkspress
Monument to Dostoyevsky in front of the Lenin Library, Moscow
Wall of the Kremlin and eternal flame, Moscow

Kazan Cathedral, originally built to celebrate the conquest over Kazan. It was razed in Soviet times and then rebuilt in the 1990s

Ulitsa Tverskaia at night, Moscow
Tverskaia again
The Kremlin, from the bottom of Tverskaia
Another shot of the Kremlin
Red Square, the Kremlin, and St. Basil's Cathedral
Novyi Arbat Street, Moscow
Moscow subway, July 2008
Rainy Moscow
Tolstoy's study, Moscow
Back of Tolstoy's house
Girls in the Moscow metro

On Sunday, July 20, I flew to Ufa. Here is a sign celebrating Ufa's incorporation into the Russian Empire. It reads: Russia and Bashkortostan, 450 years together!


View from the kitchen window at the hostel where I stayed on Arbat Street. In the distance you can see the Kremlin.


This is the view from my apartment--I'm on the sixth floor. This shot was taken at about 10 o'clock at night, by the way. The time zone here is two hours ahead of Kazan (10 hours ahead of the east coast of the US), even though we're just a few hundred miles to the east.

My apartment has one room. The couch here turns into a bed.

View from my kitchen--shot at 11 pm
The kitchen

Revolution Street, about a hundred yards from my building. Kvas--a drink similar to non-alcoholic beer--is being sold from the yellow truck.

The National Library of Bashkortostan
People buying Kvas
Revolution Street, a little fruit stand
A different fruit stand--this is where I usually buy watermelon

Lenin Prospekt--Ufa's main drag. It's not usually this empty--this photo was taken on a Sunday, when most people are out of town visiting their dacha.

Lenin Prospekt from the other direction

This is a diner in Lenin Park. They have burgers, milkshakes, pizza, beer, etc, and play lots of American and British rock music. The terrace is a good place to have a beer, but the food isn't that great.

A fountain in Lenin Park
39 years old and still going strong!
The White House--home of the government of Bashkortostan
Birch trees in Lenin Park
Lenin Park again
A flower-structure in an Ufa traffic circle
Mado--pretty good kebabs at a pretty good price
Convention center

Ufa, with UralSib building looming in the background to the left

Old and new on Krupskaia Steet

A little shop on Revolution Street. That's my building behind it.

The Central State Historical Archives of the Republic of Bashkortostan

The grave of Muhammadyar Soltanov, Mufti of the Orenburg Assembly from 1886 to 1915.

Tukai Mosque, Ufa
Rainy Day in Ufa
Street in downtown Ufa
Gostinnyi Dvor--Ufa's main shopping center
Walking down Prospekt Lenina

"Working Together for the Good of the Country." Poster extolling the virtues of Vladimir Putin and Bashkir President Rakhimov.

Sunday afternoon in Iakupov Park

Monument to people who died in the Civil War, Iakupov Park

In Iakupov Park
Laki inside Iakupov Park
Child waving to the children's train in Iakupov Park
Out on the town in Ufa
The Academy of Sciences

With Liliia Baibulatova,Gülnar Iuldizbaeva, and Marsil Farkhshatov.

Rizaeddin Fahreddin's grave
At lunch with Marsil Farkhshatov and Ramil Bulgakov
Ufa River--view from restaurant

Meeting with the Director of the Academy of Sciences, Professor Firdaus Khisamitdinova

Downtown Ufa is filled with old wooden houses
The Blue Lakes of Kazan

The Blue Lakes are freezing cold--no warmer than the forties.


Kids attach plastic spoons to the ends of sticks to scoop our coins that people toss off this little bridge. They don't go in the water because the rocks are too slippery and the water too cold.

Old Tatar men sitting on the bench in front of my apartment on Esperanto Street.

My bedroom/study on Esperanto.

My kitchen on Esperanto--complete with Betty Crocker oven.

Bähetle--my favorite supermarket chain in Russia.

The Kol'tso Shopping Center in downtown Kazan. That's the Hotel Tatarstan to the right.

Apartment buildings on the outskirts of Kazan
Bauman Street, Kazan
Tukaev Street, Kazan

The Dynamite Gym in the Kombinat Zdorov'e--where I worked out and used the sauna for much of 2004-2007

Mother and baby picnic in Kazan: Svetlana, Veronica, Andrei, Lolla, and babies Nastia and Sofia. Svetlana's son Ruslan was also with us but is out of the picture.

Birch Tree beauty
Kremlin Tower
Minarets from Kol Sharif Mosque from inside Kremlin
Annunciation Cathedral
Annunciation Cathedral with Kol Sharif Mosque in Background
Shot of the Volga from the Kremlin
Kol Sharif Mosque
Newly constructed Catholic church in Kazan

Lots of pre-crisis construction taking place on the far side of the Volga

Cruising Bauman Street
Last night in Kazan
First day in Istanbul
Back in town: Istiklal Caddesi in September
More Istiklal
The Bosphorus from Bebek

A big ship going up the Bosphorus towards Russia

This is the view that I see when I step out the door in the morning. In the background you can see another big ship going up to the Black Sea.
A road in Arnavutköy
This cat likes to chill out on my balcony sometimes
Kuleli, the War College, on the other side of the Bosphorus
Arnavutköy again
Little street and big tree in Arnavutköy
Greek church in Arnavutköy
By the Bosphorus between Arnavutköy and Bebek
The Bosphorus Bridge
More fishermen between Arnavutkoy and Bebek
In November I went to Vancouver for a job visit. I saw absolutely nothing of the city, but managed to take a few shots from my hotel window. Here is one of them.

This is the only other photograph I have of Vancouver



Shortly after my interview in Vancouver, I headed back out west again to visit Montana State University in Bozeman. This is where I'll be working from September onwards. I have to admit, prior to last September I had never thought about living in Montana--but I had a great time during the interview and am really excited about the job.

A gorgeous shot from campus

The Voss Inn--a B & B where the department put me up during my stay in Bozeman. The inn owners told me that Buzz Aldrin had once stayed there.

This shot was taken my last day in town, which I suppose is why I'm looking so wiped out.
Downtown Bozeman. The joke, of course, is that it's a "one horse town"
Back in Ann Arbor. State Street

In early January, I went back to Istanbul. A couple of weeks later, my Dad stopped in Paris for a couple of days before moving on to a conference in Venice. I flew up to Amsterdam, then took the train down to Paris before flying from there to Istanbul.

There was also a lot of light in the bathroom. It was great.

I really liked my room in Amsterdam. For one thing, it was warm--I've stayed in enough crappy two-star hotels with insufficient heating to appreciate that. Secondly, it had lots of light.

The room even had windows I could open
Amsterdam at night
Coffee shops in the Red Light district

This was the street that my parents and I lived on in 1983, rue Eugene Gibez. My Dad and I stayed at the Hotel Ibis, right next to our old building.

This was the courtyard behind our old apartment building, shot from our hotel.

My Dad in front of our old apartment building
Shot from the metro. I used to take this line to school and back every day.

At Le Procope, which was established in 1686! I had some really great trout here.

Ed, L'Epicier Discount. This is where I used to buy Pepsi all the time after trouncing my mother in backgammon.

Pompidou Center
In the metro
Back in Istanbul. Sunset over the Golden Horn

The old power station in Istanbul has been turned into a complex including a free museum, an art gallery, and a number of restaurants and cafes. At night, dance parties and concerts are held in a large auditorium inside the old station.

The Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn
On the ferry from Eminönü to Arnavutköy
The Bosphorus Bridge lit up at night
Mosque in Ortaköy, Bosphorus Bridge in Background
The little dock at Arnavutköy
Rumeli Kavağı and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge
Heading off, by bus, to Trabzon
Uzun Sokak in Trabzon
The Black Sea in Trabzon
Sümela Monastery outside Trabzon
On the way back to Trabzon from the monastery
View from my hotel room in Trabzon
On the bus from Trabzon to Hopa
On the minibus from Hopa to the Georgian border
From my taxi on Georgian side of border en route to Batumi
Church in Batumi
Theatre in Batumi
On the beach
The Archive of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara
The reading room staff at the AARA
At the American Corner in Batumi--note how almost everyone is wearing a coat indoors
On the town with three of the archive staff
The little cafe where I often ate in Batumi
Park in Kutaisi
The rushing waters of the Rioni River in Kutaisi
City theatre and main square in Kutaisi's old town
The Rioni again
Church on the right bank of the Rioni River
Belltower of Bagrati Cathedral, on hill overlooking Kutaisi
View of Kutaisi from Bagrati Cathedral

View of Tskhaltsitela River from Motsameta Monastery about 4 miles outside Kutaisi

Motsameta Monastery

Cliffs and mountains opposite Motsameta monastery. Tskhaltsitela River on the bottom.

With George, a monastery student I met at Motsameta
On the road from Motsameta to Gelati Monastery
Gelati Monastery in the distance
Gelati Monastery
Little church in the back of the monastery
Inside of main church at Gelati

Back in Kutaisi. This is part of what was once (until the 1970s, people tell me) a sizeable Jewish part of town.

Snow-capped mountains outside Kutaisi
Mountains as seen from Bagrati Cathedral
Another Vani shot
Cable Car in Kutaisi
View from Besiki Park

Inside the Tbilisi metro. Most stations seem to have these large screen televisions tuned to music videos. The Rustaveli Street station has a total of sixteens TV screens, most of which are located between the escalators leading up to the street.

Downtown Tbilisi
Rustaveli Street
Attractive side-street in Tbilisi

There are natural sulphur srings under Tbilisi, and in the center of town there are numerous sulphur bathhouses.

City view of Tbilisi taken from the castle

There is an enormous Soviet-era aluminum statue of a woman on one of the hills overlooking Tbilisi.

Old town Tbilisi, with the castle on the hill in the background
The parliament building on Rustaveli Street, with prostesters in front of it
This is the street I lived on
Another shot from the old town
Interesting architecture from the old town
Castle from the other side of the river
On the other side of the river

I unfortunately do not know who is being depicted here. If anyone knows, please drop me a line and tell me.

This is the main building of Tbilisi State University, just down the hill from my apartment.

Anti-government protesters on Rustaveli Street
A beautiful shady street near the old town
Aluminum Lady from near the old town

An old house near the old town. A lot of older buildings are like this--a fence shields a courtyard, with terraced balconies leading to different apartments. Really beautiful.

Metekhi Church and the guy on horseback again
Another shot of the baths from outside

Here is another bath that has been made to look like a mosque. The real mosque's minaret is to the right.

Rustaveli Street in early May
A sidewalk exhibition marking the 'genocide' of Chechens in the recent wars
Outskirts of the city from Vake Park
Statue in a small park near my house
On the road again: heading out of Tbilisi by marshrutka
Mountains on the way to Kutaisi

After Kutaisi, I headed to Batumi. Here we are arriving at the Black Sea, close to Batumi.

On the rocks: at the beach in Batumi
Trying to keep it cool
Cafe in Batumi
I think Batumi was the most strikingly beautiful city I visited in Georgia
A familiar site: guys playing backgammon in front of a shop

I really love the overhanging balconies that you see in many places in the Caucasus

Adjarian khachapuri: with egg, cheese, butter, and extra cholesterol
On my way to the border and Turkey
Goodbye, Batumi! Goodbye, Georgia!
Hello, Turkey! Black Sea in the distance as I travel from Hopa to Artvin
Snowy mountains in the background en route to Artvin

There's not a lot going on in Artvin--I stopped there mainly to break up the trip from Hopa to Kars.

Halil Pasha Mosque in Artvin
The trip from Artvin to Kars started out in the high mountains
Side-street in Artvin

These are the buildings of the Forestry School of the local university in Artvin

After an hour or so, our bus descended from the mountains and began following the Çoruh River

Still following the Çoruh River
I still can't get over how amazing this area was

Considering these shots were taken out of the window of a bus, I think they turned out pretty well.


As we approached Kars and increased in altitude, the rugged landscape gave way to green pastures and snow-capped peaks

Walls to Ani, a ninth-century Silk Road city outside Kars.
Just inside the walls

Ani is right on the Armenian border--in the distance, you can see an Armenian watch-tower

The ruins of this church were apparently struck by lighting in the 1950s.

Ruined church in Ani. In the background, you can see barracks for the Armenian military

This gorge apparently marks the border between Turkey and Armenia
Fortress at Ani
On top of the fortress
Kars Fortress in downtown Kars
View of Kars from the fortress

Kars was part of the Russian Empire from 1878 until the end of the First World War. As a result, there are loads of old Russian buildings in the city.



This was the home of Gazi Ahmet Muhtar Paşa, who led Kars' defense in 1877-78

On the road from Kars to Van
Visiting the 'Cat House' in Van
The Cat House
Female cat--with two blue eyes

The different eye colors are a feature of the Van, but not all cats have different colored eys.


I normally don't take pictures like this, but these girls stopped me and asked me to take their photo. The girl on the left then picked a wildflower and gave it to me.

Hiking up the side of Van Castle
Looking up at the castle
At the top of the first level
View from the top of first level
Here's the rest of the castle, after the first level
Shot of the rest of the castle from the bottom
My last day in Van, I went to Akdamar Island in Lake Van
There is supposedly a monster in Lake Van, but I didn't see it.
On the boat heading out to Akdamar Island
Old Armenian church on Akdamar Island
Another shot of the Armenian church
From Akdamar Island
Inside the church
Door of church
Shot from the other side of the island
It got very windy and choppy on our way back to shore

Back on the street in Van. As you can see, there aren't many women out on their own.

"Happy is (s)he who calls herself/himself a Turk." This slogan, which is quoted frequently across Turkey, is particularly visible in the (mostly Kurdish) southeast.

Last big meal of the trip: beyti kebab and other dishes. To the left is some yogurt they'd put out as a side dish. The night before at another restaurant, the yogurt had come mixed with red cabbage, which I found interesting. Afiyet olsun!


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All photos copyright James H. Meyer