Svetitskhoveli (Life-giving Pillar) Cathedral
Jvari Monastry on the mountain in the background. Both holy places for Georgians
We left the village for Tbilisi on Friday after I had finished school. The two hour marshrutka took an extra hour as we had to pick up every man and his barrel of wine along the way. After dinner we went to a cinema that plays English films three times a week, this was a bit of a treat as we hadn’t seen any movies or TV that wasn’t in either Georgian or Russian for a while now. Although it looked like a lecture theatre from the 50s it was a pleasant night.
The next morning we caught a taxi to the marshrutka station that would take us to our next destination, Mtskheta. On the way the taxi driver explained to us that he could take us to Mskheta, wait for us and then take us up a mountain to the famous Jvari Monastery close by all for approximately twenty Australian dollars. As we were planning on taking a taxi to Jvari it saved us alot of fuss and the overall price was probably only eight dollars more then we would have had to payed for the marshrutka and the taxi while in Mtskheta. It was nice to finally have
View from Jvari Monastry
enough grasp of the language to make this arrangement.
Mtskheta is known as the holy town of Georgia. It is a small town of around 20 000 people and is a very holy place for Christians with the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral being the site of Georgians adoption of Christianity in the year 334 (they were the second country to adopt Christianity). This Cathedral is surrounded by fortress wall and is quite lovely; The Jvari Monasty which sits high on the mountain above the town is also of high importance to orthodox Christians around the world and had fantastic views over the town and across the mountains. The town itself is a very pretty and has been well maintained by the government.
On our return to Tbilisi in the afternoon we had time to stroll around and decided to go and check out the dry bridge markets as they were close to our hostel. The markets were excellent, with hundreds of people selling all sorts of odds and ends on carpets spread across both ends of the bridge. There many bits and pieces from the soviet union area, I wanted to buy something but could not decide between an old
An important site for Orthodox Christians around the world.
army hat, Stalin pin or one of the many pistols. Mikaela was very impressed with the vintage jewellery and old cameras on sale. We did not get any photos as our camera had run out of batteries, we will definitely go back again and get some pictures next time.
We caught up with some other teachers for dinner and stayed late chatting. I began feeling sick after dinner and decided to go home. This sickness continued through the night with me attending the toilet approximately ten times. I was the only one in our group who had eaten the burger so I am assuming it was the beef patty I had eaten that made me sick. The marshrutka ride home was a tough time for me, I survived and quickly made my way to the toilet. This continued into the week and I was unable to attend school for the first three days. On Wednesday I was able to hold down my first bit of solid food since Saturday night. I decided to take my mothers advice and take gastro stop after continuously refusing Mikaela and my host families advice.
I would have to say it is the
Eastern Georgia in the background.
worst I have felt in a long time. I would also like to thank Stacey for adding gastro stop to our list of pharmaceuticals prior to leaving for Georgia!
A side note that I think I should add, on Tuesday after returning from Tbilisi Mikaela travelled to Karvelli to see the President of Georgia open the new hospital. Our host grandma works at this hospital and the schools director organised marshukatas to take the teachers and year 12 class to see the occasion. She was pretty excited however I was still making too many visits to the toilet to come along.
Our host grandma told everyone she came in contact with including the president’s security that Mikaela was an English teacher from Australia, this resulted in her having a front row view. She apparently took some great photos, but security had decided she was a threat to the president or Georgian society and not only deleted her photos but decided to take her away for questioning. It was lucky half the village was in attendance and jumped in front of the security officers explaining that she was a teacher from Australia. Our host grandmother (god bless her inner
fire) was apparently very animated in this discussion telling the security guards just where to go. This was all very exciting for me to hear; however I am glad that they did not take her away for questioning as I am unsure where that could have led.
The night after Mikaela’s brush with the law we cooked dinner for our family (gnocchi, salad and garlic bread) with the ingredients we bought from Tbilisi. The hit of the night was definitely the garlic bread, which the family had not had before. We found this very interesting as they grow all the ingredients needed and make their own bread every week. Our host mother had many conversations the following day at school explaining what we had cooked and how we had made the garlic bread, the women in the staffroom seemed very interested confirming that in fact garlic bread is a foreign concept in Georgia.
It was really nice to share something with our family who we have grown very close to. We have really settled into our village lifestyle and are enjoying our day to day happenings.
Perhaps we will never leave!
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