Not on your mind but the country the size of Denmark, with a population of 5 million, and said to have been the originator of wine in 6000 BC. A tradition they still seem to be keeping.
The first thing one notices when entering Georgia is that the road is full of boy racers who take little notice of speed limit signs, pass on blind corners and totally ignore pedestrian crossings of which there are many. This is very different from Armenia.
Houses in Tbilisi.
Old town Tbilisi
Fortress at Tbilisi
The capital, Tbilisi has a population of 1.5 million. The old town is being revived with cafes in the narrow streets blocked off to traffic, the old timber houses are protected and new buildings designed by international architects are being added to the bank of the river.
Pedestrian bridge and new theatre as part of a river bank redevelopment
Georgia was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. It has borders with Armenia, Turkey, the Black Sea, Russia and Azerbaijan. In 2008 there was a war with South Ossetia which seems to be a rectangle shaped region with 3 sides bordering Georgia and one side as a border with Russia. South Ossetia wanted independence, supported by Russia. This is still unresolved. Georgia has close ties with the United States, the border with Russia is closed for Georgians but trucks from Armenia go to Russia via Georgia.
Georgia has lots of churches and mountains. We stayed in a ski village Gudaei about 1 hour 30 minutes from the capital with our driver.
We went along a terrifying unsealed road which was being repaired and had drops at the side for ever. This road was also used by trucks from Armenia to Russia.
We went to the village of Gergeti which is 25 km from the Russian border to see the Gergeti Trinity Church, one of the most important Churches/monasteries in Georgia.
Village of Gergeti
Snow must cut off the village in the winter. It is 87 Km to the capital of North Ossetia in Russia and 187 km to Tbilisi however since the border with Russia has been closed they are unable to access their houses, and supplies from Russia.
View from Gergeti
This road trip was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. Our intrepid guide turned pale when our van had to pass a bus.
There is still a monument from the past to recall the relationship with Russia.
Monument on the relationship between Georgia and Russia – from a previous time.
The mural shows Russia as the fond mother with Georgia in her arms as a small child.
There was an elderly woman selling the usual handscrafts and dried fruit sweets here packing up while a young man in a late model BMW waited for her.
A couple of enduring memories of Georgia was the number of elderly, mostly women begging and the number of elderly people, again mostly women bent double. The guide said there was a very high unemployment rate and men were seeking work in Greece and Italy. We saw lots of men waiting by the side of the road waiting for day hire.
Cows on the road
Another common sight was cows on the road, often being driven and mostly just grazing even on the side of major highways.