Mestia, a small village in the Svaneti, is a welcoming place. Ultra friendly people, lovely Cafes every where. Queen Tamar stands proudly in the main square, a statue that is not particularly liked by most locals!
A great art gallery with a
wonderful display of contemporary and historical works of art. Scattered through out the city are the famous Svan towers. These towers were built in ancient times to defend families and live stock against invaders. Food was stored in there as well. The concrete mixture was so strong that invading armies could not break them down. They add an interesting aspect to the already gorgeous little mountain town.
Surrounded by the magnificent Caucuses mountains, whose high tops are still covered in snow in the middle of their hot summer, adds atmosphere and an impressive backdrop for this gorgeous little village. It is ideal for hikers, mountaineers and people who like to take risks in their lives. The famous Ushba mountain peak dominates the landscape. I took the ski lift up, I was incredibly fortunate that Merian decided to come with me as well, I would not have been able to do this on my own! When I reached the top and climbed out on wobbly legs, I found out that I was only half way! I had to go even steeper and higher! Mind you, the view from the top was just absolutely unbelievably beautiful. I was totally in awe. Magical!
Of course what goes up must go down, eventually! I have to be honest, going down was so much worse! So steep, such a wobbly ski lift, here is me breathing in courage, breathing out fear, except I am sure I muddled it up! Half way, Merian took pity on me, told me to wait, and went to fetch his car! I literally felt sick. I have promised myself that I don’t ever have to do this again!
However, I quickly recovered and walked to the Svan tower museum, which was just an empty shell, with very wobbly, wonky bamboo ladders inside. It said it was a museum, but the insides were just empty! I climbed up two and a half ladders, when I remembered promising myself that I don’t have to do this any more! Two German tourists told me that the view was great from the top! I told them I took their word for it, and climbed down!
Ushguli is the hiking end destination of many tourists. People walk for four day to this lovely little mountain village, with stunning Svan towers. The village is much poorer than Mestia, and not at all developed. I had understood, that we would have four hours there, only to find out we had less than two hours before we would have to return. I met some lovely Polish people on the bus, who started their hiking in Ushguli. I also met Reiner, from Germany, with his gorgeous son, Felix. Felix spoke three languages fluently (German,French and English) and was now studying Russian.He was twelve years old, very smart, intelligent lad!
I walked back for a while to get a good look of the first lot of Svan towers. The lighting in the middle of the day was not ideal. I had thought about staying here I. The village, so I could hike, and take late afternoon or early morning photographs. I am so glad I didn’t. After about an hour and a half I sat down in the newly build restaurant, where I bumped in to Reiner and Felix again. We had a pleasant chat, with a magnificent backdrop. I can kick myself that I didn’t take a photograph of them.
It took over two hours to get back to Mestia. At one stage there was a traffic jam, as the road was being fixed, nobody placed a man with a stop sign at the beginning and the end. So all the cars tried to beat each other to get past the road works! This was impossible and cars were forced to reverse. Georgian drivers are completely crazy, every single one is a potential Peter Schumacher, and not one of them wants to give up their first place!! This resulted in complete chaos! It was interesting to watch! Kept us amused! Not enough to take photos of the traffic jam, however the road workers appreciated all the tourists attention and felt like celebrities, while the “paparazzi” were clicking away!!
The Svaneti area is a stunningly beautiful part of Georgia and I am looking forward coming back one day and just painting my life away!