"My soul is elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there." -- Rumi

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I really need to get in the habit of updating this thing more often, then maybe I won't have to do three posts in one evening!  But yesterday was incredibly special.  My Program organized an excursion for all the volunteers in the area.  At 8:30 in the morning, the minibus picked up the Poti volunteers who wanted to go (I got to meet two new Poti girls -- Dani and Shannon), and headed off to Senaki and Abasha to get the rest of them.  We ended up with a full bus, 14 or 15 people I think.  Mark, Julie, and I got to meet up with Tess, a volunteer from our group who'd been posted in a village about an hour away.

Our first stop was just a cool old abandoned house by the side of the road, where we stretched our legs and had a snack.

Tess, Mark, Julie
Then we drove to Nikortsminda Georgian Orthodox Church.  It was built in the 11th century and was just breathtaking.

Unfortunately, they were doing some pretty extensive restoration work on the interior, but the frescoes that were visible were stunning.

Looking straight up the dome.
Remind me not to wear my hat backwards for photos anymore, okay?

After we looked around the church, a couple of us stopped into a local shop and ended up buying the shopkeeper's homemade red and white wine, which he poured for us from giant vats into two-litre plastic beer bottles.  The bus drove us to Shaori Lake, where the Program had lunch for us and we cracked open our wine... the scenery was like something out of a fairytale and I can't think of anything that would have made that hour by the lake any better, except of course some family and friends to share it with.

My humble picnic spread
Our bus driver gave plenty of good Georgian toasts, as is proper whenever wine is being drunk!

Julie and Mark waiting to Gaumarjos.

As far as I was concerned, we left all too soon from Shaori Lake.  But the day was far from over...  On the way to our next stop, we drove into the mountains and some impressive fog rolled in.  We made an unscheduled stop to take pictures at this gorgeous mountian waterfall.

Then it was on to a nature preserve, Sataflia.  They had dinosaur footprints!

Then it was a walk through some beautiful wilderness...
Through "Jurassic Park"...
Past more beautiful views....
To a giant cave with some very Georgian lighting, and complete with its own underground river!

After all that, it was time to climb a hill to the Observation Tower.

Engrish isn't just for Asia, people.
But where else can you get a view like this?
Glass bottom!
And finally, after all that, it was time to head home.  We stopped in Kutaisi for beers to drink on the bus.  I love Georgia.  I'm also getting pretty damn good at peeing outside, just by the by.

Second unscheduled stop of the day, to look at these awesome ruins.  (And pee.)
After we dropped everyone wher they needed to be, it was 10:30 before I walked in my door.  Exhausted, grimy, and completely happy.  Every time I see a little bit of this country it always makes me want to hurry up and see as much as possible.  Where to next?


  1. If the witnesses were all that dumb, their testimony is unreliable, any decent lawyer would get the whole thing stricken from the record.

  2. Took me a minute to realize what you meant. :) I've been away from 10s of dollars for too long!

  3. Ha.

    The old buildings are also very impressive. Makes the depth of history we've got over here seem a little amateurish. Our oldest buildings (save those of the Pueblo, and such) are at most mabye 400 years old, that church up there was twice that.