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 Armenia, we drove straight to Tbilisi for 3 days.
Boris needed some routine maintenance done, so we stayed in a hostel. The
weather was dismal. Rain, rain, more rain. The old city is interesting enough
but 3 days was plenty.
Boris continues to attract interest everywhere in these
parts. A customer at the Toyota dealership came over and said “I know it’s not
polite, but may we look inside?”. We are happy to show people as they are
genuinelyinterested. The Toyota service
workshop was brilliant. Let us know if you want more info.
On leaving Tbilisi we headed towards Kakheti – the wine
growing region and a national park. The driving continues to be insane and we
both have to drive. Me from the left-hand seat and Lawrence at the wheel. I
keep an eye on the side mirror “maniac about to pass!”. The favourite manoeuvre
is passing a car passing us!! Preferably on a bend. Lawrence thinks it’s a spatial
awareness thing, I think it’s a death wish thing.
The sheep on are the move. Great mobs of them are being
herded along the roads up to the high country for the summer, along with the
stock horses and dogs that just amble about aimlessly. Not that you can buy
Sheep! - and a few goats.
Dogs are everywhere, most of look fairly well fed, but some
are definitely malnourished. I save all my meat scraps and leftovers for them.
They are very grateful and mostly sweet natured. I of course want to adopt them
all but, for some unfathomable reason, Lawrence doesn’t want a camper full of
We were camped near Telavi one night on the edge of the wine
region when a car pulled up with people wanting to chat. Off they went, but returned
with home made wine, homemade chacha (grappa) and some fruit juice stuff - just
for the pleasure of being neighbourly. We drank the rosé style wine (from a cucumber jar) and it
Georgians are lovely, friendly, generous people (except
behind the wheel of a car).
We spent 3 sunny, sunny days camped in the beautiful Lagodekhi
national park. The weather was divine – at last. We did some walking and
generally enjoyed being in the sun. The walk up to the waterfall was thwarted
because the bridge had been washed away and the river was too fast and deep for
me the brave (not to mention freezing). THAT’S how much rain there has been. I
can’t tell what a pleasure it is to get up in the morning and put on shorts and
a T-shirt, rather than the usual 4 layers. – sheer bliss.
Man vs Wild
This where the bridge was meant to be
We are currently staying in a winery hotel in Kakheti and
managed to do some tasting. The wine is really interesting. Much of it is still
fermented in Qvevry (no I can’t pronounce it either) - basically clay amphoras.
They make a white wine that is fermented on the skins and left for 6 months.
Our haul from Schuchman Winery
Shopping is an adventure here. There are lots of roadside
stalls selling produce straight from the garden. Mainly it’s cucumbers,
tomatoes and eggplant. Sometimes old ladies have been foraging in the forest
and sell tree mushrooms either outside the market or at the roadside. They are
absolutely delicious and make great mushroom soup with the thick lightly soured
cream you can buy here. Eggs come in plastic bag – and they are FRESH. The meat
is all free range – we know this as the damn animals are all over the road.
It’s not the most tender meat but it is certainly tasty.
Butcher shops are scary and we avoid them. Meat is
slaughtered by the roadside and refrigeration is rare. Today we braved one in
the market before we head off to Tusheti tomorrow. We thought we saw something
that looked like it could be cut into chops. No worries. Butcher gets out the
axe and hacks it, so now we have 2 huge pieces of pork and no idea how to cook
We have just found out that the road to remote Tusheti is
open. This is an area where time stands still, so remote that even the Soviets
left them alone. Closed most of the year due to snow, they rarely see outsiders
and not much changes. Should be an adventure. Road will be terrible of course.
If you don’t hear from us for a while – send out the search
6th century Basilica - Kekheti
11th century Cathedral - Kakheti
Tips for would-be
Camping in Tbilisi is virtually impossible so a hostel is
I’m sure you can easily wild camp in the Kakheti wine
region, we just chose to stay at Twins Old Winery Hotel. 48 euros per night
including breakfast and free, fast WiFi. Dinner here is simple and cheap. Rooms
are large and comfortable, and have a balcony. They also have a cheaper option.
The Lagodekhi National park is a fab place to camp. Secure
and cheap. 5 lari per person per night.