Thursday, September 21, 2017

Georgia, Day Tour #2 in Kaheti

This day required a more complicated organization. After breakfast, I paid for my room and packed my stuff. Another driver showed up, not the one that Zaza introduced me to with the "hello". This guy was nice, although Russian speaking only. I didn't mind that. We sat down for some minutes to plan the day holding an actual map and marking places. I put all my stuff in the truck and we hit the road.

In a style, we started the day with some wine tasting at the Khareba Winery in Kvareli. This special winery is carved into the mountain forming several tunnels in it. The inside temperature is about 12 degrees. This required special clothing, which was provided in the form of think plaid.
The tour was interesting, the group was small, just 3 people, and we tasted four types of wine.
I loved all of them.

The toured tunnel:

Some tools:

Tasting time!


Next stop: Nekresi Monastery. Since it's on a mountain, and there were 40 degrees outside, we decided to take the bus, which took us from the parking lot to the monastery entrance.
Fantastic view, interesting buildings, and ruins.

Some qvevris:

Before the grape juice flows to the qvevri, the grapes are being walked on in this tool. On the end of it, there is a small pipe, where the grape juice can exit and can be led to the qvevri.

 Fascinating view:

Very close to Nekresi there is another monastery, Gremi:

After Gremi we drove to the city of Telavi, where we found the main attraction closed. But I did take some photos from the outside of the castle.

House Museum of Alexander Chavchavadze was the next stop. He was an aristocratic poet of the 19th century, who implemented the European way of winemaking for the first time in Georgia. He had an impressive house, with a grand piano in every single room and a huge garden.
Oh, and yeah....well, I did some... some wine tasting.

The driver then found a marshrutka for me to Tbilisi, and that very evening I was already at Linda's new place, in which she has just moved in. She kindly invited me to stay for one night, she had a free room, so I didn't have to find a hotel room. We went with a friend of her to eat some khinkali for dinner :)

Georgia, Day Tour #1 in Kaheti

Lia's guesthouse organized me a driver in the morning, who showed up with his car around 9:30, perfect time after breakfast. He didn't speak any English, so I had to use my Russian again, which is in the meantime got enriched with two and a half words, which was a significant percentage of my vocabulary.

The first stop was a Khrisa Monastery, which dates back to the 6th century, and is still active.

Then we drove to the Pirosmani Museum, which I wouldn't have had any chance to visit without a driver.
This is where the Georgian painter, Niko Pirosmani was born. Today they kept the one-room house, where the entire family of three generations lived.
The museum was interesting, although you can find Pirosmani's paintings in various museums in the country.

In this room lived Niko Pirosmani in his childhood.

The next stop was for some wine tasting at Pheasant's Tears Vinyard. They had a horrible hail earlier this year and ended up losing 75% of their grapes. I was given a guided tour of the vineyard and at the qveveris. I tasted a couple of good wines. I really liked it.

In this qvevery, the jaja and the wine are still fermenting. You can actually see it and listen to it.

Done! Still sober!
Next stop: Lagodechi Park. I registered myself entering the park. There are hikes of multiple days there, but I just did a 2-3-hour light walk. But nevertheless, I had to register, just in case.

That's done too! I enjoyed it, although it was really hot, about 38 degrees.

Coffee anybody?

In the afternoon we got back to Sighnaghi, but just before we hit the town we stopped at the Bodbe Monastery.

The driver put me at the Sighnaghi Museum in the city center. I paid him and said goodbye. For tomorrow he'll organize me a driver, he said, who speaks English, because he lived in Moscow. OK, whatever. We met him at the square, but besides a "Hello" I didn't hear anything in English. But this was a very professional "hello" though.
Tired, but enthusiastic I visited the museum before I went back to Paul's winery for dinner.
It was a good day. :)