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September 18th 2013
Published: September 18th 2013
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Batumi to Vardzia


I woke this morning covered in mosquito bites, it rained during the night as well, the first rain I have seen since leaving home. I decided to walk down to foreshore passing some tired soviet era architecture and a few outlandish looking modern hotels. The beach on the Black Sea was covered in pebbles as many European beaches seem to be, I spotted the Mcdonalds so I went to check it out, it has to be the most unique anywhere.

I then went to visit a Roman ruin before hopping a bus to Tbilisi, it was horrific, even worse than yesterday, the drivers here are probably the most reckless I have ever seen and they drive way to fast. The mini bus ride was terribly uncomfortable and excruciatingly long which meant again I arrived in the dark, the taxi driver was pretty funny though babbling at me in Italian of all languages.

My room is basic but close to everything, Tbilisi is a lovely city surrounded by mountains but the traffic is horrendous. I walked down to the old town snapping photographs as I went visiting the baths, the synagogue and the lovely Tsminda Sameba Cathedral before stopping for a beer or two. Later I stepped out for a pizza.

Next day I hired a car and driver and travelled to the cave city of Vardzia which is about four hours south west of Tbilisi, the country down here is beautiful, most mountains are adorned with ancient towers or fortresses. The cave city is probably the highlight though it once had a population of 45000 before a 12th century earthquake dropped most of it into the valley bellow and then the invading Persians finished the city off. There is still an ancient church on the site and a working monastery. The monks were a bit heavy handed when I tried to go inside wearing shorts.

We then headed to the city of Akhaltsikhe where I visited the Rabati or old town which has great examples of traditional Georgian houses called darbazebi and a fantastic fortress which has been beautifully restored.

I arrive back at the hostel around 8 pm and took it easy as I move on tomorrow.

Although Georgians a maniacs on the roads they are friendly and the country is full of stunning mountains and river valleys I wish I had more time to spend here.


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Cave cityCave city
Cave city

Vardzia


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