Cuttino's Georgian Life

A journal of my Peace Corps service in the Republic of Georgia, 2006-2008.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Up in Kazbegi

Its been far too long since an update, but life has been busy despite the heat and the slow pace of summer. The new group of volunteers-in-training arrived last week and Gori is the base of operations. This means that I get to play host, answer a lot of questions, and show everyone the ropes. Its actually a lot of fun and its nice to have everyone coming to me for a change.

Last weekend, I travelled with three of my friends to Kazbegi, a mountain region in north Georgia. Its the last major stop along the Georgian Military Highways, the main road that cuts north and south between Tbilisi and Russia. I think its the most beautiful area of Georgia, and the pictures don't really do it justice. But, until you can come see it for yourself, you can check it out on my Flickr page.

Mount Kazbegi is actually a dormant volcano with an elevation of about 16,500 feet. The church in the foreground is Gergeti Sameba--or Holy Trinity Church. As a point of reference, it stands at just under 7,900 feet. My friends and I got up early wheezed our way up the mountain, out of shape from a year of no exercise and out of breath from the elevation. We made it to the church, which had some spectacular views of the mountains. As a tour group from Germany approached, we continued up along the ridge, starting and stopping, until we reached a point to view the Kazbegi glacier.

As a follow-up to my last post: The European Commission and other sources estimate that pig fever is in 52 of 65 districts in Georgia. Restaurants here are substituting beef for pork. Meanwhile, in other Georgia news... There was a recent spat over road construction near the South Ossetian conflict zone, just a few kilometers away from Gori. Nothing as bad as last year's helicopter fiasco, but you know its summer when things start heating up in the Gori suburbs.

Finally, its now officially been a year. Appropriately enough, we marked the occasion in Tbilisi at a Thai restaurant. That same day, Joe Cocker came to town. To mark the occassion, Coca-Cola plastered his face on every Coke bottle in Tbilisi. Tickets were so expensive that the booking company offered a payment plan...and the whole place sold out. The iron curtain slowed pop culture down a bit.


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