What to say when you wake up in Chechnya? I never in my life thought I was going to live this experience, after all, I remember the daily news from the late 1990s and early 2000s as if it were yesterday. But make no mistake, at least in the capital Grozny, the situation is much calmer and safer today.
The fact is that we had not planned a stop in the Republic and ended up spending the night in a hotel there by chance – as I told in this post. Of course, we would not miss the unique opportunity to visit some of the city’s famous and tourist spots even with the time.
We got up early and went to roof of a building next to our hotel, the Grozny City Hotel. The view from up there is quite incredible, but unfortunately we were unable to film the most beautiful landscape from up there: the Grozny Kremlin. That’s because the president lives there and it is forbidden to film this area of the city due to privacy.
We also took the opportunity to visit the famous Park girls, also known as Parque das Flores. At night it is all lit up by LED lights (as well as much of the city) and by day you can see the dozens of arched structures with super colorful flower pots.
From there we went to Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque, one of the biggest and most beautiful we have ever entered in life. The monumental structure has a capacity for up to 10,000 people and for that reason alone you can get a sense of the magnitude and importance of the place. It’s worth mentioning that sometimes they even bar tourists at the door, ok? Paulo and I were barred, but after Alina (our producer) explained everything to the security guard, they allowed us to enter.
This was our little tour of the Chechen Republic, after all, we needed to get to our destination before dark. We decided to visit a beautiful place, but little explored by tourists in Russia: Blue Lakes. The place is in the town of Bagugentin the Republic Kabardino-Balkaria, almost border with Georgia.
The city is home to 3 beautiful lakes with various shades of blue and the largest one, although apparently small (235 by 130 meters), is a mystery. The minimum depth of the lake is 179 meters and the maximum is 258 m; surreal, right? It is no wonder that there is even an area for diving there!
After hours on the road and spending time enjoying the surreal landscape of the lakes, we had an amazing dinner at Harun and Fátima’s house. It was definitely one of the places we received the most in life, it was really emotional! We had the wonderful opportunity of late afternoon and evening cooking delicious Khatiny, talking a lot, eating and even dancing with super-wanted people!
Not only did the residents welcome us with open arms and with great affection, but also the neighbor and family friend, Fátima. And of course, none of this would be possible without Alina, our wonderful producer, who even called a local guide to accompany us through this region. It was very, very special!
It was all so intense back at the house that it was difficult to record our experience for you on the vlog and that is why we told you many details at the end of the video. We reflected a lot on the culture shock and the glaring differences in their lifestyle, however we increasingly see that there is no “right” way to live and face the world, you know?
I hope that watching the videos, especially the one I left below, you will be able to feel at least a little bit of what Paulo and I live in this very surreal experience!