I write this whilst recuperating. I’ve been struck down by some pesky niggles, the kind that strike when you stop a few days to rest and your body kicks up a protest at past exertion. I’m lucky enough to be convalescing in the magical garden of Seti Guesthouse in Mestia. My companions are a curious chicken, a cheeky puppy, and a long-legged kitty. A cow appears in the morning to be milked. There is a slackline, a hammock, bikes that need mending, flowers and a vegetable patch, bird houses, sculptures and scribbles, climbing gear, pots with gigantic happy cacti and mountain views. My carers are the wonderful Ioan, who is off exploring on his bike, the lovely Nazi who makes us delicious food, her four children and Liza, the helpful Muscovite. Upstairs Granny looks down on us smiling as we try out our rusty slacklining skills. Children come and go. Sweaty, strapping Israel men descend from days in the mountain, just popping in for a hot shower. Everyone is welcome. It is a secret, magical place we stumbled upon 6 nights ago and tomorrow we are always leaving.
Our surreal night in the garden of Zugdidi police station set us up well for our 130km adventure into the mountains to reach Mestia. Our 3 day journey involved torrential down pours, being scared by raging rivers, crossing water logged roads and dodging fallen rocks, boozy nights spent in the backyard of a restaurant run by wonderful friendly people, breakfast toasts with strangers who blessed up and wished us well, scenic wild camps with a new cycling friend, and climbing, lots of climbing.
We have spent the last 5 days lazing around with just one foray into the mountains around Mestia. We were rewarded with views of majestic peaks and wandered around wild meadow fields. On our way home we gatecrashed a 6 year old’s birthday party, were force-fed more wine in the space of 20 minutes and remained standing than is humanly possible, and of course had a lift in a police car.
Needless to say we like Georgia, it is wild, it is random and it is full of friendship. (By the way Ioan is with me and I will include more photos of him in the next post!)