Wow! So much has happened since the last time I updated you!

First off, we took another step in the wine making process:


This is transferring the processing wine from the giant wooden barrel into the bucket, sifting out the grape pulp, and then into a big blue plastic barrel to continue the fermentation. It was rather repetitive work, but nonetheless interesting to see and I enjoyed helping out.

Next, there was the excursion I took a week ago Sunday to Sachkhere with the 8th grade class from my school:

We visited the home of a famous Georgian poet, Akaki Tsereteli (1840-1915). The tour was conducted in Georgian, so I didn’t really understand a whole of it. But the surrounding countryside was quite lovely:

We also had a feast/picnic/supra on a hill on the side of the road on the way back to Zugdidi, including (of course) khatchapuri, eggplant, chicken, bread and shots of chacha, always accompanied by toasts.

Finally, I’ll tell you about my whirlwind trip to Svaneti, which was one of the most tiring and awesome days I’ve had in Georgia so far.

It started as I woke up around 7am to arrive at school by 8am to meet up with several of the teachers at my school. We didn’t actually end up leaving until 8:30 or so, and then made several stops initially to pick up other teachers who lived along the road to Svaneti.

Then we began to truly start the trip. We made pit stops along the way at various sights of interest, including the Enguri Dam (which I’ve visited before) and a waterfall. Finally we arrived at our first major stop in Svaneti, after about 3-4 hours along the extremely bumpy, pothole strewn road that curved precariously along cliffs with no sort of railing. That first stop was the village of Etseri (not to be confused with my own village of Zeda Etseri), where several of the teachers at my school hail from, and where there relatives still reside.

Here, from left to right, is Nika (a student in my 12th grade class whose family lives in Svaneti), myself, and teachers Nora, Lorisa, Nana (my co-teacher), and off to the side is Soso, our marshutka driver. We are standing on a hill overlooking Etseri and the beautiful surroundings, about to eat kupdari, a dish like khatchapuri but filled with minced meat instead of cheese, which is wonderful.

Next, we journeyed onward to Mestia, which we wandered around in for several hours, including a visit to the National Ethnographic Museum, which houses some very interesting artifacts pertaining to the history of Svaneti and all of Georgia.

As you can see above, Mestia is set in a very picturesque place, situated in a valley with astounding beautiful mountains surrounding it on all sides.

Also got to taste this little guy, probably the smallest apple I’ve ever seen in my life, picked straight from the tree and quite sweet and tasty.

After Mestia, we travelled to the base of Mt. Ushba,which towers gloriously 4690 metres above sea level:

Our final stop was at Nika’s family’s house where we had a lovely supra. Feast with your eyes as I feasted with my mouth:

Then we headed back towards our village, again along the painfully bumpy road for 4 hours, arriving at my host family’s house around 12:30am.

It was exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time, and I wouldn’t trade that day for the world.

Oh also, I went to Borjomi and Vardzia this weekend, but more on that later (this post is long enough already!)

That’s it from me!





One Response to “Excursionizing”

  1. Looks and sounds like you are having a wonderful time in Georgia, Paul! Keep the updates coming, I really enjoy them.

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