We've embraced the 'Slow' philosophy as a way of life - what's the hurry?. Taking time to smell the roses (usually on a glass of Viognier) is more our style. Having spent more then 3 years on the road, slow travel has become a way of life. We have revised our plans completely and now focus on quality, not quantity, slowly.
After leaving the wine region, as promised we headed towards
Tusheti. The road started out OK, then as expected it got worse. Then it got
BAD, really BAD. The next 6km took an hour and was a bit scary. We finally got
to a point where we both thought ‘this is getting ridiculous’ and dangerous.
A 15 point turn saw us heading back down the mountain.
Letting air out in preparation for the rough road
Along the road
This is where turned around!!
We stopped at an idyllic looking spot by the river, but the
sheep arrived along with the flies and the miasma of pee and poo. We moved.
Luckily a bit further on was a picnic spot, which was idyllic. A local turned up and was
so pleased to see us there, as he was responsible for developing the picnic
area. He was excited that we were the first people to use it. We really made
his day when we found we were from Australia. We had have to publicity shots
Picnic Spot along the Tusheti Road
Later some more locals turned up for a BBQ with the
inevitable invitation to join them for drinks. The usual 10 litre plastic
bottle of wine and homemade chacha. A fun bunch of guys. They amused me by
munching of raw veggies whilst throwing copious amounts of wine down. One of
them was a previous Olympic Judo champion – good person to have on your side.
Our new friends!
We also found out that the damn road isn’t fully open yet
After 2 nights and more bloody rain we headed to the
Georgian Military Highway and Kazbegi near the Russian border.
Along the Georgian Military Highway - High Caucasus
The highway is brilliant, beautiful scenery, good road,
sunshine! We found a fantastic spot to camp before heading to Sno Valley off
the highway. Another fab spot. Georgia is so beautiful with high high
mountains, gushing rivers and wonderful forests. We have loved every minute of it. It's really worth visiting, so book your trip.
Monastery along the highway
Next stop Kazbegi where we camped at Nunu’s Guesthouse.
Great food, but Nunu complained that we didn’t eat enough!
We paid a guide to take us to look for Lammergeier Vultures
and eagles. Everyone said the place is thick with them, but they must have been
having day off. Just saw a few griffon vultures and eagle chick high up on a
Iconic Monastery in Kazbegi
On Saturday we headed to Russia. The border crossing was
much easier than anticipated and the whole thing took one hour and 20 mins,
including buying duty free gin. We had been expecting hours of hanging about,
but there was virtually no queue (we arrived early – about 7.30am). The queues
of trucks waiting to get through was something else however - 2km one way and
4km the other getting into Georgia. It must take them days.
So now we are in Pyatigorsk and having a luxury weekend at a
swank hotel. We got a real bargain on booking.com and have a suite at the
Bristol Spa. We are going to be roughing it pretty much from here on in, so we
are having a treat. I think we deserve it!
Slumming it in Pyatigorsk
The weather is warm. We’ve had a few cracking thunderstorms, but so
long as it’s warm we don’t care. Next stop Elista and 30 degrees. Can’t wait.
Tips for Travellers
The road to Tusheti is only for serious off-roaders. A
Bimobil is not the vehicle for it with its high centre of gravity. The road is
not usually open until June. Leave it unit late June, so you can avoid the big
mobs of sheep. However if you start the road there is a wonderful picnic area
where you can camp (no sheep), about 20 kms or so from the main road. The road
that far is fine.
There is a wonderful spot along the Georgian Military
Highway just north of Gudauri near an abandoned building. Just behind the
building is an old airstrip, so you have hard standing and amazing views. A
Juta in Sno Valley has a small carpark you can park for the
Nunu’s guesthouse in Kazbegi has a grass yard you can park
in. We slept in our camper, but of course she has beds. Basic but good.