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Asia » Georgia » Western Georgia » Svaneti December 5th 2011

“Hotcha ladakh!” we call out, causing the children to scatter in fits of giggles like frightened mice. Slowly, little faces reappear from behind broken masonry and an old rusting car. “Hello” the least timid one whispers back at us. “Hotcha ladakh” we say again. This time they literally roll over each other laughing. “Are you sure that means hello?” “Perhaps not the way we are pronouncing it.” “Maybe he was winding us up and it means my mother is a horse or something like that”. The reaction to our attempted politeness has become more pronounced with each person we pass; from a wry smile by the lady all in black at the bottom of the hill to a shared chuckle from the sturdy women carrying vegetables a bit further up. As we now approach a group ... read more
Mestia, the main town of Svaneti.
Mestia
Mestia by Night

Asia » Georgia » Western Georgia » Borjomi August 2nd 2011

Drinking and bathing in the Evian of the USSR An interesting question came up during this trip: are the three countries in Caucasus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, in Europe or Asia? It is not a question that has any obvious answer. The boundary between Europe and Asia is said to run in the Ural Mountains and in the Caspian Sea. Since the Caspian Sea is east of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan that could place all three nations in Europe. We can also add a few examples that indicate that they indeed are European nations. * Eurovision Song Contest (For non-Europeans: It is a large annual TV-show the best can be described as European Championships in music. Check this link for more information). Every year the three Caucasian nations join and this year Azerbaijan even won. * ... read more
View over Borjomi
Stalin Statue
Mineral Water Park

Asia » Georgia » Western Georgia » Svaneti August 1st 2011

Svaneti This year we decided to go to Georgia in Caucasus for our summer vacation. Ake has been to Georgia once before. But that was fifteen years ago and then he went there in winter so he expected it to be quite a different experience to go there now. Also fifteen years ago there weren't any guidebooks on Georgia so Ake basically travelled around on random then. There were many very interesting places he didn't go to then simply because he didn't know what there was to see. We'll get back to tell more about that later on. We first arrived in Tbilisi but we stayed there only for a day before we went to the western part of the country. There we went to a mountainous district called Svaneti. Only a few decades ago large ... read more
 Fortified tower
The towers worked like bomb shelters
Abandoned resort

Asia » Georgia » Western Georgia » Borjomi October 29th 2010

Ciężko sobie wyobrazić brzydsze miasta niż gruzińskie tzw. kurorty. Jak człowiek by dostał kawałek pięknej natury z komendą "spieprz to", niemożliwością byłoby stworzenie czegoś równie koszmarnego. Rozpadające się domy i kucki, powybijane okna, żółte rury do gazu niczym wielkie trzepaki rozciągnięte wzdłuż wsi, błoto na asfalcie, brak chodników, opuszczone ośrodki wczasowe, a te nieopuszczone częściowo zamieszkane przez uchodźców a częściowo wypalone. Jedyne nowoczesnego budowle, to apteki i stacje benzynowe. Trudno nawet dopatrzeć się śladów dawnej świetności, bo mam wątpliwości, czy tu kiedykolwiek było świetnie. Przy śniadaniu zamawiamy sobie na kolację kimkali - wspaniałe lokalne pierogi, które wyglądają jak parasolowate kosmiczne grzyby. Jesteśmy nadal jedynymi gośmi w hotelu, więc możemy wybrzydzać. Jedziemy pod granic... read more
Piekarnia.
koniak
Vardzie_1.

Asia » Georgia » Western Georgia » Borjomi October 28th 2010

Budzimy się z widokiem na Kutaisi. Na śniadanie, jak zwykle, jajka sadzone, ale tym razem już trochę zimne. Za to dobrze spieczone. Wyglądają, jak jajeczne hamburgery. Na dworze piękne słońce, a przed nami dzień zwiedzania, a później znów paskudna droga, tym razem przez Borjomi do Bakuriani. No i w naszym rotacyjnym układzie siedzącym, dziś ja ląduję na zesłaniu, to jest w trzecim rzędzie siedzeń, skąd nic nie widać. Mam za to kontrolę nad zapasami słodyczy. W pierwszej kolejności jedziemy do katedry Bagrati. Do środka nie da się wejść, bo niby zabytek pozostaje 'under reconstruction', ale w rzeczywistosci jest to bardziej konstrukcja niz rekonstrukcja. O tę sprawę toczy się bój prezydenta Sakaszwili z Unesco, bo chłopaki z rządu postanowili odbudować monument od zera, lekceważąc wszelkie względy zabytkowe, a katedra jest jednym z trzech gruziń... read more
Gelati
Blue_cross.
Kutaisi_market

Asia » Georgia » Western Georgia » Kutaisi October 27th 2010

Rano znów całe góry w słońcu. Z okna pokoju obserwujemy, jak Kazbeg zmienia kolor. Walczymy przy śniadaniu o najlepsze miejsce - z widokiem. Nerwowo biegamy po aparaty, żeby uchwycić moment, gdy i Kazbeg, i monastyr będą w słońcu. Podgryzamy wędzone sardynki. A może to szprotki? W miasteczku panuje ta sama senność, co wieczorem. Krowy od świtu wałęsają się po ulicach, kobiety zamiatają liście, wiatr liście rozwiewa, ale chyba nic ciekawszego do roboty nie mają, niż ich powtórne zamiecenie. Jest około 0 stopni. Domy pozostają do 10.00 jest w cieniu i jedyną sensowną aktywnością jest siedzenie i gapienie się, jak góra Kazbeg zmienia kolor. Opuszczając Kaukaz, przekręcamy ciągle szyje do tyłu, żeby jak najdłużej widzieć szczyty. Wydaje się, że tuman na jakiś czas nas opuscił, bo gdy wjeżdzamy do Gori jest piękne słońce, a w ogrodzie ... read more
Kazbeg_2.
Kazbeg_3.
Radziecki funikular.

Asia » Georgia » Western Georgia » Svaneti October 6th 2010

The night train from Tbilisi to Zugdidi was surprisingly comfortable. For 15 laris, roughly $8 we have 1st class berths, only 2 of us in the room which was good. The night before, arriving from Kazbegi we went straight to the train station but the train is full so we have no choice but to stay the night in Tbilisi which worked out well and I had a chance to see Tbilisi once more. it was a 7 hour trip on the train, we both fell asleep quickly as we did not get much sleep the night before in the hostel, very noisy people and someone was snoring loudly in the dorm and its not me! We heard a knock on our cabin door and we woke up to get ready to arrive in Zugdidi, there ... read more
Mestia
Mestia
Mestia

Asia » Georgia » Western Georgia » Svaneti August 22nd 2010

Trekking in the Georgian Caucasus It's hot in Tbilisi. I just finished a nasty taxi ride from the mountains, 11 hours in a packed little van the locals call Marshrutka and I'm utterly exhausted. I'm putting my backpack on, trying to escape the noisy station, and then heading the guesthouse I stayed in a week ago. As I'm walking along the old neighborhood I'm suddenly getting this sense of freedom. This sweet feeling which makes traveling so worthwhile. It reminds me of that 60+ couple we met back then in Chile. They were traveling for months already, sleeping in the same low-budget guesthouses as we did, and they looked very happy. At that time I was wondering whether I'll be able to do the same when I'm their age. Well, I guess I still have way ... read more
Svaneti Lake
Glacier nr. Adishi-Iprari pass
Svaneti Lake

Asia » Georgia » Western Georgia April 30th 2010

A monster was born on 18th December 1878 in the historical city of Gori, Shida Kartli Province west of Tbilisi in the beautiful country of Georgia. Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, better known as Joseph Stalin. The man has become such a caricature of monstrosity, the murderer of countless millions, that it comes as a shock to visit the place of his birth and to see, still lovingly preserved, the actual tiny cabin in which this monster was born. I visited Gori in March 2010 as part of a project looking to support rural smallholders (see my other post about Georgia). It was freezing cold but with a bright blue sky and we had been in the countryside visiting farmers who live much as they must have done in Uncle Joe's day. Gori seemed just another post-Soviet town, ... read more
Stalin's birth place
Stalin's bedroom

Asia » Georgia » Western Georgia » Kutaisi August 13th 2009

The journey to Kutaisi was uneventful. It's probably a beautiful road running through the mountains but the rain was too heavy and the cloud too low for us to really appreciate it! The big problem then was that we had no idea where we were when the driver dropped us off! That meant getting a taxi, and he didn't know exactly where we wanted to go!! It all sorted itself out though and he took us to the Hotel Beka which is featured in the Lonely Planet. Getting there involved many twists and turns up steep cobbled streets and we were quite disoriented when we got there. And then they were full!!! Luckily the house next door is also a hotel, albeit unlisted, but the Hotel Eleganti turned out to be wonderful. The landlady was such ... read more
Cobbled Streets
Fresco on the ruined Cathedral
St George




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