Sunday, 10 May 2015

Georgia: The Caucasus Mountains

Lynelle and I love the outdoors, so it was an absolute MUST for us to visit the Caucasus Mountains before the end of out trip in Georgia. As I live in the Steppe, I was in desperate need of some time in the mountains with some fresh air and beautiful scenery. I always feel more centered after a good hike.

Master trip-planner that I am, I found a hike that was popular enough to have a marked trail, and information about it online. After that it was a simple matter of finding a Marshuka (shared taxi) to get us out to the mountain town, and head off!

The bus station in Tbilisi is really easy to navigate, there are plenty of people telling you which way to go to find the bus or Marshuka that you need. Unfortunately, we were the only two heading that way, so they sent us in a private taxi instead. The cost difference was about 5 dollars, so neither of us were too bothered. He also stopped at many places a long the way, including a cute little town right in the wine making district.

The trip should have taken about 3 hours to Kazbeji, however we were delayed on top of the mountain for 3 hours due to bad weather conditions, and due to the fact that they only allow one direction of traffic to cross the path at once. Good thing we had Pitch Perfect to entertain ourselves and our driver. We kept ourselves in good spirits and went for a walk in the beautiful falling snow. Eventually we made it through the pass (albeit a few near-death experiences later....our diver was a little bit crazy), and were welcomed with peirogy and tea at our guesthouse, after a long day of exploring and driving we were happy for the warm tea to put us to bed!

We decided to get an early start on our hike to St. Gergeti Trinity Monastary, as we were planning to head back to Tbilisi in the afternoon. We had to hike across town and up the mountain, the total altitude  gain was  2500 m and as far as we could tell it was about 6k round trip (it would have been 12 if we had taken the road). Lynelle and I decided to mountain goat it (take shortcuts straight up the mountain), and made it up and down in about 3 hours. The hike was gorgeous, though a little snowy on the way down, which induced much slipping and sliding on my part as I did not have proper footwear. Two words to solve this problem: bum slide!

It was a beautiful experience and I cam down the mountain feeling much more centered than when I walked up it!

Cows in the Villiage

Caucasus Moutains!

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