Some countries just don’t get enough credit. You can read all the “must see” lists you like and you will seldom see a fabulous destination like Georgia mentioned. It has everything you could want though - scenery to make you gasp, an illuminating history, a cuisine to tell the world about, and that wonderful feeling of discovering somewhere that your friends have barely heard of. You can get a sense of just how under-visited it is from our interview with our local partner there. By the way, if you’re looking for the next big thing in wine, then the Georgian variety is hotly tipped - and rightly so.
There are other countries that we think we know well, when really we only know one bit. Indonesia is a good example - everyone knows Bali, but this huge country has so much more than that. Little remarked upon is its food (I have fond memories of Nasi Goreng - the national dish). I can vouch personally for the taste and variety of Indonesia’s cuisine though, in the case of the durian, not the smell. See Tim’s food blog about the country to find out what Alfred Russell Wallace thought of it.
Coffee seems to be a running theme this month too. The coffee drinkers in our office talk of little else, especially at about 11 am each morning. I don’t share their enthusiasm for the drink but, much like tea, the plantations are often wonderful to visit. We have quite a few countries where you can do that - Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Guatemala are examples that spring to mind. For tea plantations I like the ones near Fort Portal in western Uganda - stunning in any light, but memorably so in a wispy morning mist, with the Rwenzoris as a backdrop.
Talking of the office - a reminder... Obviously Bristol, England, is a long way away from many of you (we now have customers in 23 countries around the world) but for anyone passing through please drop by and see us. We will buy you lunch in the giant yurt next door (no really) and you can meet the team here and tell us about your travel plans.
A quick thank you to Sarah and Dudley for inviting to me to their local village in the Cotswolds to give a talk about Iran. Everyone seemed to like it, especially this quote from the 13th Century Persian poet Rumi, which seemed to give everyone a very different idea of Iran from the modern media stereotype.
“I am so drunk
I have lost the way in
and the way out.
I have lost the earth, the moon, and the sky.
Don't put another cup of wine in my hand,
pour it in my mouth,
for I have lost the way to my mouth.”
Truly the world is surprising at every turn!