Ancient Wine Village and Cave Fortress

Wednesday, 24 June, 2015

After breakfast we head out in the bus to the ancient village of Vardzia. There are two parts to this including the spectacular 12th Century Vardzia cave city complex where Queen Tamara reined and defended Georgia against invaders.

See the caves up above

See the caves up above

Another view of the caves from below

Another view of the caves from below

Our first visit is to the ancient wine village. It is up the hill a fair ways and I became quite exhausted and sore so not many pictures. The village once held 25 wineries but was eventually raided and mostly destroyed by the Ottoman Turks. This type of thing has been a regular occurrence for the Georgians – invaded and under control for a while. In recent times it was the Soviets and then even more recently the Russians.

The 300 year old grape vine

The 300 year old grape vine

A cave as a part of the village

A cave as a part of the village

More caves as a part of the village

More caves as a part of the village

Our guide trying to get a pass through the mud to a bigger cave. Not for me.

Our guide trying to get a pass through the mud to a bigger cave. Not for me.

Wild cannabis growing all over the side of the road

Wild cannabis growing all over the side of the road

A stream of clear water running from under the mountain

A stream of clear water running from under the mountain

We then started down hill to go visit the caves next. This was almost as difficult for me as the walk up as my legs were totally thrashed. Then our Interloper, Carla, badly injured her ankle after a slip. When we got to the bottom, it was decided that neither Carla or I would continue on into the caves. Besu took us back to the hotel, me for rest Carla for ice treatment. The following photos of the caves were taken by Julie so I don’t really have any commentary.

A bus drops them off at the caves

A bus drops them off at the caves

A main caves entrance

A main caves entrance

Wow, lots of caves

Wow, lots of caves

A  Kvevri in the cave

A Kvevri in the cave

The guys and bells in the caves

The guys and bells in the caves

Religous paintings in the caves

Religous paintings in the caves

Dangerous, to enemies, entrance

Dangerous, to enemies, entrance

Another obstacle for enemies

Another obstacle for enemies

The Guys have to walk all the way to the bottom

The Guys have to walk all the way to the bottom

In the mean time, back at the ranch, I had lain down and could not sleep, so I thought, but 50 minutes went by before Besu called out to get back on the bus. Carla came out with her leg strapped. They did not have any ice so put a cold beer bottle on her ankle for a while to try to reduce swelling. We drive back to the caves car park and after a while, the guys arrive from way up the hill. We then drive to a nearby restaurant. It is new but I must have still been in a bad way as I can remember very little about it.

The Spread late in the meal

The Spread late in the meal

Andrew "Fly fishing" in the stream

Andrew “Fly fishing” in the stream

After lunch we go to an old farmhouse that is primarily used for housing livestock as one could tell from the nose.

P1030442

We then drive to another live farm. Walking there, the road is getting muddier and muddier and I recommend to Carla that she go back to the bus, which she does. The guide leads the guys away from the main place to directions unknown. I stay there in the sun until later a bit of entertainment occurs.

A Gaggle of Geese playing in the running water

A Gaggle of Geese playing in the running water

The Geese eating

The Geese eating

The Gaggle leaving town

The Gaggle leaving town

Eventually, Dan comes and grabs me and takes me by a different route to another farmhouse. It turns out that there is to be another spread, not that long after the lunch and not that long before the coming dinner.

Some of the guys in the farmhouse

Some of the guys in the farmhouse

Red and white wine, homemade, and part of the spread

Red and white wine, homemade, and part of the spread

P1030456

All in all it was an amazing and unexpected experience. Lots of wine and then the Matron brought some special vodka for us to taste. There is a photo somewhere of me with the two Patriarchs. Ah, here it is from Dan.

Also with Bryn

Also with Bryn

Bryn in fine (Welsh) singing voice

Bryn in fine (Welsh) singing voice

With the Vodka

With the Vodka

Turns out that we had originally been scheduled to have dinner with this group but it got cancelled due to illness. Thus we had afternoon tea and lots of drink and great company. I tried to give my Aussie cap away to the Matriarch but she would not take it.

We do not have a long walk to the bus where Carla is waiting. We drive back to the farm where dinner, do we really need it?, is waiting. This turns out to be standard fare, different from last night but not excpetional. One photo only.

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

Again, not enough wine. We retire for the night.

About beauperi

Gourmand & Wine Connoisseur.
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One Response to Ancient Wine Village and Cave Fortress

  1. Lois says:

    It will be churches and Art Galleries before you know it!Keep having fun.

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