Before going to Georgia some people “warned me” and asked me to be careful and vigilant. This because, apparently, it’s dangerous here and the people are not trustworthy. It’s not the first time I’ve heard these words before going somewhere, South and Central America were two other areas. But anyway, common for all these “warnings” are that they come from people who had never been there. In my opinion, that’s even worse than judging a book by it’s cover. Another thing that’s common is that I felt safer in those places, including Georgia, than I usually do in any big city in western and northern Europe.
It was a great feeling leaving Europe and the “civilization” for some adventures in a not so well know country. To be honest, I can only think of one person I know that has been here – and that is a TRUE adventurer. I don’t know him very well, we were old colleagues but didn’t work on the same department. However, if I’m not mistaking he rode a bicycle from Scandinavia to China and has also completed the Mongol Rally – which I was supposed to do this summer as well but my passport is soon full so I’ll have to save that for next year. But back to the point; to go a place not many friends have been is always a great thing – because you don’t know what to expect, which I think is a great feeling!
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, was the first stop on the visit here. I stayed only for 1,5 days since I knew I would have another 1,5 days here at the end and that’s usually enough for a mid-sized capital city. I would say it’s pretty beautiful, very cheap and has both old and new architecture in a good mix. But I have been to enough cities lately, so I went to the mountains – the Caucasus mountains to be accurate. I’ve been in that mountain range once before but on the Russian side, last summer when I climbed the highest mountain in Europe, Mount Elbrus. This time I went to the Kazbegi area, which is just 10 kilometers from the Russian border and it had much of the same feeling as when I was in Russia. The mountains here are big, wild and beautiful and the villages on the other hand are very small. I went hiking two days but didn’t go any higher than 3000 meter above sea level and no really big, but still scenic hikes. Unfortunately I struggle a little bit with a knee so I’m a little limited at the moment. Sometimes you take the most simple things for granted, for example just to be able to go hiking without any problems. I really hope this knee pain won’t last long and that I can be back to my active self again.
When I arrived Kazbegi, 3 hour bus ride from Tbilisi, I had no booking for accommodation. I thought it would be pretty easy to fix – and it was. An old lady approached me as I went off the bus in the village “centre” and she knew only one word of English: guesthouse – which for me was enough. I turned out it wasn’t a real guesthouse, more her home where she had two rooms available for travelers. 3 nights cost me around 12 Euro which for a traveler is almost for free. Even though the standard was extremely poor, I really enjoyed it because it was the first time in a really long time I’ve had a room for myself. Being able to sleep without earplugs was a blessing – and also one of those things we take for granted in our everyday life. I really hope that I will remember all those small uncomfortable things as a traveler, when I get back home. As it is now I would consider my normal life luxurious compared to the life as a traveler – but on the other hand, there is a great chance that when I get back home, I will consider the life as a traveling nomad as luxury. You don’t know what you got until it’s gone. Anyways, I’m living in the moment and having the time of my life. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is my biggest dream, because we humans adapt really fast to new circumstances – even though we want it or not. So I will probably adapt and get used to the standards back home as well – but I will for sure look back and remind myself of how hard, dirty but also of course wonderful the life on the road was.