ETIC 2014: Grozny

ETIC Logo

For the first time, members of all three leading travel collectors’ clubs TCC, MTP and TBT met for a global get-together, the ETIC.

Almost 30 attendants from 14 countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA, Vietnam) found their way to Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic in Russia:

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Chechnya is in a miraculous development mode, similar to Dubai or Doha:

This is the construction site of the new 400+ (!) meters high “Ahmat Tower” and the adjacent “Grozny Mall”:

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Chosen venue and basecamp for excursions was the 5* Hotel Grozny City:

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Entrée to the 32. floor Sky Bar cocktail reception and dinner on Friday 10. October:

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Video impression of the venue, before the start:

With the world’s 3 leading travelers Kari-Matti Valtari, Don Parrish, Charles Veley

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(Foto: Michael Runkel)

Group foto with the Chechen Minister of Tourism, Mr. Amroudi Edilgiriev, and most of the 30 ETIC participants:

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(Foto: Michael Runkel)

Several Russian TV-stations and press outlets covered the event:

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(Foto: I. Estamirov, grozny-inform.ru)

It was nice to meet for the first time for most of the participants

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Chechen Tourism Minister Amroudi Edigiriev swapped his Chechen cap with the world’s Nr. 1 traveler Don Parrish (and his Chicago Blackhawks cap):

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The Tourism Minister with Charles Veley, founder of MTP and the spiritual father of all country collectors:

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Saturday excursion to Lake Kezenoy, high up in the Chechen Caucasus Mountains …

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… again with a local TV team:

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Charles Veley at a Chechen historic village & museum between Argun and Shali:

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Group foto at the monument to a 19th century Chechen rebel against czarist rule:

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(Foto: Michael Runkel)

Driving through Vedeno village
(it’s interesting to read the biased Western travel warning propaganda about Chechnya and this place in particular, e.g. here on wikipedia:
“The Vedeno Gorge is considered one of the most dangerous regions in Chechnya. In the mid-19th century Imam Shamil led his guerrilla army in a twenty-year war against the Imperial Russian army and fought a last stand in the anonymous mountain village of Vedeno. Shamil Basayev was born in the village of Dyshne-Vedeno, near Vedeno, in south-eastern Chechnya.” )

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An old Chechen fortified observation tower high in the mountains:

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After three hours driving, this sign is at 2.000m above sea level, and exactly on the border between Chechnya and Dagestan:
(Lake Kezenoy in the left background)

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Beautiful Lake Kezenoy is two thirds in Chechnya and one third in Dagestan

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The brandnew Lake Kezenoy Hotel & Villas and its Sports Sanatorium at 1.800m:

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With a collection of ancient Chechen swords and pistols:

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Back in Grozny: great folklore performance by Chechen children singers and dancers

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(Fotos: Michael Runkel)

Farewell dinner on Saturday, 11. October at Maidan Restaurant, back in Grozny:

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(Foto: Michael Runkel)

Farewell speech and honors by Charles Veley:

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(Foto: Michael Runkel)

Tourism Minister Edilgiriev with Don Parrish (in Chechen Judo club EDELWEISS vest)

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About Kolja Spöri

Kontakt: kolja@spori.net
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