Mestia (Georgia), 05.05.2013
After the dusty Anatolian roads, starting the day in the very charming Rcheuli hotel was quite a contrast. It is an old Russian building with baroque furniture and a lot of white, and seemed to us like a place from another planet. We found out the Internet connection was as fast as no other since Istanbul, so we took some time at breakfast to blog, upload pics, videos, download stuff, read the news etc. the clock is one hour ahead vs Turkey, so we finally took off only at 13:00.
The first piece of the road led us along the Black Sea cost, through Poti. We got lost a couple of times since putting directions on the streets doesn’t seem to be popular in Georgia. In Poti, the police escorted us out of town to the road into the mountains. We discovered that “pothole slalom” is a very popular sport among local drivers, incl. trucks. Shortly before the “border” with the breakaway republic of Abchasia we took to the north. At a gas station we bought super cheap diesel (2,19 GEL / 1,01€) and got the car back to its original white color (aka washed it).
Then began a scenic route through valleys of changing colors. At the lower part there was a dam, half empty, and it was so sad to see the mountains half green half grey due to the low water level. But soon after, driving further upstream, the lake became a mountain river made for rafting. You could see the white peaks at a distance and all shades of green in between (videos here and here and here). The road is generally in good conditions. There are stones falling on it, and since we have only the small spare tyre left we were in no mood to risk another broken tyre. Then there are all kinds of animals that suddenly appear in front of you, boars, donkeys, and many cows. The bigger they get, the less they care about approaching cars and don’t move. At a tunnel entrance we were stopped by a woman waving her hands. Initially we thought of a scam to sell us something. But then we saw she was in shock and her jeep was badly hit on the driver’s side, the window broken. She told us they had an accident with a cow in the tunnel. Since she and her partner were fine the only thing we could do was to drive to the next village and have the locals call the police. Some friendly Ukrainian tourists translated for us into Russian. And the police did show up after a while, we crossed them on the road further up.
The higher we got, the lovelier the countryside. At 19:00 we reached Mestia finally, a village dotted with towers that are the local characteristic buildings. It reminded me slightly of Florence or Siena, where building towers was also popular some time ago. We found a place to stay at Manoni’s guesthouse, where we set up our tent in the garden and had an opulent dinner with plenty of local delicacies, like Tashmgabi (cheese and egg omelette), Jagapuri (cheese pie), Maconi (fresh yogurt from the milk of Manoni’s cow Nelly), cucumber salad and a vegetable soup with lots of coriander. We ate in good company, with two other couples that were staying here. Two “Norwegians” that revealed to be Gala from Russia and Husein from Turkey that live in Norway and are touring Georgia. And Alexey from Irkutsk with his partner. Drinking Georgian wine and tea we exchanged infos and experiences about places we have seen around the world.
Trip data (Day/Total)
– Km driven: 292/8.552
– Hrs driving: approx 7h/-
– Diesel l/100km: 8,7/9,8