You may remember that we featured Lev Wood in our last list of The Best Travel Shows on Resfeber. Well, Levison Wood is at it again. For his fourth series in his walking documentaries, Lev heads to the rarely explored regions around southern Russia and Georgia, between the Black and Caspian seas. It’s every bit as challenging a route as you’d expect from the British Army Major, only this time with added culture.
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As Lev weaves through the passes of the Caucasus mountain range, he opts to hitchhike parts of his journey, which means added interaction with the local muslim inhabitants of the region. The British Foreign Commonwealth office recommends all but essential travel be avoided throughout the Caucasus Mountains due the presence of ISIS supporting insurgents. Throughout Lev’s trip however, he is met by warm, friendly and hospitable muslim families and is regularly invited for meals and to sleep as a guest within their homes.
It would be foolish to claim that the Caucasus Region is without its issues. The Boston bombers came from this area, for example. There is a lack of understanding regarding this region however and this programme can be commended for opening up the area to an alternative view. The hospitality from locals is plentiful.
Set on the backdrop of some breathtaking scenery, this documentary series will inspire travel to the Caucasus region. There are some incredible hikes to be had and because of the perceived dangers – if you go by western governments recommendations – hardly anyone had travelled this area. It is a remote and culturally isolated area, which makes it all the more interesting.
Culturally, this is the richest of Levison Wood’s travel programmes to date. It’s admirable that he is relaxing the emphasis on his own plight and providing a more in-depth look at a rarely seen region.
Now, I’m not saying to ignore the advice of government agencies. It would be totally irresponsible to do that. Advice is just that however – a recommendation. With advice of this nature, it would be advisable to plan taking into consideration, the mentioned dangers. It’s definitely not the case that this advice means no one should go there. Perhaps considering hiring a guide, as Lev does or joining a group tour to provide safety in numbers along with the experience of a guide, would be a good idea. If you are planning to go solo, then it might be advisable to learn the language, culture and survival techniques.
Watching shows of this nature opens up the world for everyone to see. The Caucasus region is nowhere near the inhospitable place it is portrayed on the Foreign Commonwealth website but you should certainly be cautious.
There are many western people with predispositions about races and faith. For them, this show challenges them to take an open-minded look at this incredible place. You may not realise it yet but the Caucasian race is named after this region and as such, the people of this region could be argued to the most Caucasian possible. And I for one, like that the Caucasian race is more rich and diverse than I had previously thought.
From Russia to Iran: ‘Crossing Wild Frontiers’ is showing on UK Channel 4.