Thursday, June 7, 2012

“Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”

A couple weeks ago, I went for a day hike at Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, one of the largest national parks in Europe. It was somewhat a fail because of some trail issues but it was quite lovely to be near the mountains and in the woods again doing one of my favorite things.

The following day a couple friends and I enjoyed the Tbilisi Botanical Gardens! What a beautiful day!

The following weekend I went on an excursion provided by the program to a place called Kazbegi, the last place before entering Russia in the Caucasus Mountains. To travel there one must take a ride on the Georgian Military Highway, this is an ancient pass that runs from Tbilisi to Vladikavkaz, Russia with dramatic scenery, spectacular views and tight curves, some parts completely unpaved and mud covered with huge holes. The drive up there was quite an experience in itself! 

On the way, we first stopped at a place called Ananuri an ancient castle complex with 2 churches in it.

The drive took quite a few hours. It was really wonderful when we stopped and had our picnic lunch in such a picturesque spot, it was incredible! 

Welcome to Kazbegi! 

We then trekked up to Tsminda Sameba Church built in the 14th century, one of the symbols of Georgia. It's in the top of the second photo and there is is up close in the first photo. 

A few days ago I went with my family here to their village. Everyone who lives in the city has a village somewhere else in Georgia where they mostly likely grew up/where all there family is. Mine happened to be in Eastern Georgia in the region of Kakheti. I'd been to this region before but this area. There were some gorgeous views along the way on the beautiful scenic drive!

Riding in cars is still a terrifying experience after all these months, I have to say! In addition to that, I was afraid at one point we were A: going to run out of gas (because we started on basically empty and its a couple hours drive through remote mountainous areas) and B: the car was not going to make it (the engine was smoking and liquid was pouring out from under the car when we stopped to climb up the hill and of course have a photo shoot because they love their photo shoots!)

The village: Everyone has houses with yards and massive gardens! They had potatoes, lettuce, onion, strawberries, cherries, and several other fruits and veggies I'm not sure of. My family also had tons of land with cows, horses, dogs, chickens, geese, turkey, etc. In the yard were over 20 baby chicks! They were super cute!! It was great to see everything, since they had been talking about this place for months! Also, it was really nice to see the 2 aunts and the baby who I hadn't seen since March when they were living with us.

                                     part of the garden                          the lovely toilet on the right

The following morning the mom, the 2 sons and I went to the mother's family's house. We picked cherries for hours! Her garden was also huge with loads of fruits, veggies, and flowers! The cherries were so scrumptious!! I don't think I've ever consumed so much fruit in one day! I just couldn't stop myself from eating dozens of fresh cherries hanging from the trees! I climbed a couple trees to get some yellow cherries and mulberries too! There were also a few strawberries left in the garden! yum yum!

Later that day, we went to see the Alaverdi Monastery, parts of the monastery date back to the 6th century, while the cathedral dates back to the 11th. It's also the second tallest religious building in Georgia.

Then it was kebab time!! We found a lovely spot by the river surrounded by the panoramic views of the mountains! I sat by the river with my legs in for a long time just enjoying the peace, sun, and scenery! 
We ate kebabs, tomatoes, cucumbers, bread, and orange soda! Our little outdoor party! The thunder began shortly after and the clouds came a rollin in! We drove back to the village and went for a little stroll while it thundered and lightninged for hours.  The stormy atmosphere created a whole new view of the village and the mountains looked stunning!!

I'm glad I got to experience the village life for a little bit! I could definitely see and feel the difference in the way of life, the people, and the overall pace of life. It was great to just be able to sit around outside in the yard, I miss not being in a house. Also, it was sweet to see how close the families are all living together or within 2 mins of each other. The villages have such a feeling of oldness almost as if you've traveled back in time. It was an interesting experience and a nice trip!

I can't believe another week has passed, things are crazy and everything's wrapping up! This post is already ridiculously long (I realize I'm not so good at keeping them short) so more to come soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment