Anyone strolling voluntarily within near range of a Russian border might be foolhardy, mad or simply curious for Georgia is one of those tiny wedges of a country at the end of the Black Sea partly occupied by Russia (in their inimitable style) as well as a northern border that ranges across the High Caucasus in which we we walking. Thankfully the mountains were high enough and ice clad with glaciers – albeit they were retreating – to act as a useful barrier for both the indigenous… and their guests. We pressed on into those massives at a level about half their 5000 metre peaks with a tremendous guide who made it all the more interesting.
Ahead of our mountain trip we absorbed the history and cultures of the heartlands of the three million Georgians as we sprang out of Tbilisi from one sacred place to another – Mtskheta , Sveti Tskhoveli and Gelati come to mind
gradually making it to Ushguli reportedly the highest village in Europe, a geographical aspiration that the locals wish to portray as they turn their backs on the east and north.
From the nice guesthouse in Iprari
We were ferried over the icy river at Enguri on horseback slithering over rounded moraine rocks and up to Adishi where I shared my bed with a pile of cement bags and a pile of dirty washing.
We drank beer to Pink Floyd in a makeshift bar with a hundred other similarly benighted folk of the High Caucasus and eventually another 17 km on to Mestia where the Russian order loomed over the town with their high and often blatant dislike of the countrymen to the north.
Later we swam with cows dogs and submarines in the Black Sea and left sharpish the next morning to Europe proper.