Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday, May 16th, Mestia, Georgia


After breakfast on Sunday morning, we deposited in our hotel storage the biggest of our luggage bags filled with stuff we could do without for four days.  We'd be back on Thursday night, after taking two trains and multiple bus rides to visit the northwestern and northern regions of Georgia.  We're half way through it, and currently in Mestia, a town high in the mountains with some unusual towers.

But let's recount the past two days.  After breakfast on Sunday, we drove two hours out to the semi-desert area southeast of Tbilisi to visit the David Gareja Monastary.  A very different terrain, populated by sheep and not much else, the Monastary is one of the most important religious sites in Georgia.  It is a complex of 12 cave monasteries founded by a Syrian Father, David Gareja, in the 6th century AD.  Home in the 12th century to 1200 monks, it was sacked by the Mongols in the 13th century, and Tamarlane in the 14th.

Returning to Tbilisi in the late afternoon, we visited a local synagogue, and spent some time at some souvenir shops before a 7pm dinner.  Afterwards, our bus drove us the train station were we boarded sleeper cabins for a "night train to (upper) Georgia".

Arriving in Zugdidi, we transferred to a new bus, and drove for five hours to the town of Mestia up in the Caucasus Mountains of the Svaneti region of northwestern Georgia, about 23 kilometers from the Russian border.  After lunch, on a rainy afternoon, we visited the local museum - opened especially for us - and then did some more local shopping in the city square.

A few minutes ago, we were treated to a great rainbow across the town in front of our hotel. We're mostly exhausted from the train and bus ride, and are hoping it's heralding a brighter day tomorrow, when we return to Tbilisi on the bus and overnight train again to head off on another long bus ride to yet another mountain site.

To see the photos taken in the past two days, click on:
Monday, May 16th

And to follow our adventures, remember that we have created a Google Map.  Click here to see it  It may take a while to load, and be sure to use the "+" and "-" arrows on the right to enlarge and shrink the screen.  You can also move the map around with the left and right arrows on your keypad. The Blus lines indicate where we have been.  The yellow lines are where we are still to go.  Each placemark balloon contains the itinerary.


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