Novy Afon, Abkhazia

Bullet holes in a monastery wall. There are always reminders of the 1993 war in Abkhazia.

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I finished my morning circuit of Sukhumi and had to bolt for the Russian border, chartering a taxi to get me to Novy Afon Monastery, the premier tourist attraction in a land with no tourists. The setting is appropriately tranquil with a few local worshippers in the church and enjoying the sunny crowds on the bluff overlooking the Black Sea.

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I pulled myself away, descended the mountain to another war monument and took up position in a giant oyster shell bus stop. I flagged down a bus heading west which got me to a market town and the another bus dumped me within walking distance of the border.

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I left the eerie silence of Abkhazia and was greeted by a stern Russian border agent that…wanted to know who invited me and why I was going to Kaliningrad.

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