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.
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.
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.
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.
After lunch we go to an old farmhouse that is primarily used for housing livestock as one could tell from the nose.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Again, not enough wine. We retire for the night.