Kazbegi - Georgia
Tbilisi...Insane summer heat, tooth extraction from hell, I needed to leave the city. I took an early Marshrutka and headed north, up the Georgian Military Road to Kazbegi, 13km shy of the Russian border.
Kazbegi, one of two favourite mountain get-a-ways in Georgia.
After 20 months on the road, I needed rest, big time. Mountain air, good food and the prospect of not needing to take another marshrutka for at least 3 weeks. Therapy! But not quite.
With an aching jaw from tooth extraction I dosed up on some pain killers washed down with some Kakhetian 'red' from the new wine shop in town. A gem of a cocktail. You should try it, not.
My 2nd hike, up the familiar 4WD track to Tsminda Sameba or Gergeti Trinity Church. Shocked, then sadened. 20 or so vehicles passed me. What's wrong with people, have they forgotten they were gifted with 2 legs. Stupid city people. Georgians, Russians and Israelis, then Dutch. I know the accents. Car stereos, shouting. Destroying the very beauty that they had come to see. Plebs, tossers, assholes.
The jaw ache continued. A suspect hole in yet another tooth. Bought some Nurofen 'Forte'. Fearing infection, in mouth and even ear, I get some anti biotics. And another bottle of 'red'.
A week passes. Been lazy. A lot. Been to the church 3 times. Found a cute cafe with wifi for up loading stories as it fails in my guest house, not to mention the Lavazza coffee. Heavy rain for the last days, dampening every ones spirits, except mine of course, temperatures drop to a more normal level. I finally begin to sleep well.
Kazbegi, famous for 2 things. Tsminda Sameba (above). The most photographed church in the Caucuses and not without reason. It's in a awesome spot at 2170m, some 400m above the valley floor. And Mt Kazbeg @5047 (below). 3rd highest in Georgia and 7th highest in the Caucuses (Elbrus being the highest). I have no desire to climb it. My reasoning being that if I can go in my running shoes, I ain't going. Love the way the cloud sits on top of the peak.
En route to the Mt Kazbeg glacier. A rather steep day hike, but rattled it off in less than 5 hours, both ways, the time it takes the heavily burdened hikers to walk just 1 way.
The Georgian Military Road which runs the 208km from Tbilisi to Vladikavkaz in Russia. Read about the history: