See itinerary here

(Continued from Kyrgyzstan)

Landed at the airport, I took the public bus #37 to downtown. From there, I immediately took my rental car and left for Telavi, the wine capital of Georgia. First impressions: Georgians (and Russians) drive extremely fast, and are very aggressive behind the wheel, always trying to take over the car ahead of them to gain few meters! Most cars don't have bumpers...

Although drinking and driving is absolutely illegal, I saw more people behind the wheel with an alcoholic drink in hand than anywhere else on this travel.

Telavi, as a city, was somewhat disappointing, but the churches, monasteries and wineries in the valley made picture perfect postcards. I bought some natural wine, made the old good Georgian traditional way: clay pots buried into the ground and grapes fermented without any additives (not even sulfites!).

Two days later, I drove to Kazbegi and fell in love with the amazing mountains, but this love was short as the weather changed overnight and I didn't get the chance to see them again! The next morning, it was really foggy, so I hiked in the Truso valley, 16km south of Kazbegi. Overthere, the weather was really nice!

Visiting the birth place of Stalin was standing high on my list, so I left Kazbegi on a snowy morning and drove 240km to Gori, where the Staline museum is located. Built in 1958, it has some very interesting soviet architecture and according to littérature, the place hasn't change much since its opening. Around Gori, I visite upliskhiste, a 1000 year old city carved in the rocks of mountains. At its peak period, the place was habited by over 20000 people.
I have to say that I have never seen such a unique historical place in my travels.

I briefly visited Mtsteka for a night, before completing my first week in Georgia. I spent 3 days in amazing Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. The old part of the city was very touristy, but loaded with historical churches and buildings all dating from the beginning of the 10th century. For the first time since the beginning of my trip, I really felt I was in Europe. No real Asian influences here (not like Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan).

I rented another car (for 5 days), and drove to Koutaisi on my way to Mestia, one of the most remote place in Georgia, located in 4000m+ mountains. Mestia was probably the highlight of my trip, with amazing clear blue sky and snowy peaks all around me. I took a cablecar to Hatsvali and also hiked to a glacier. Both activities provided me with amazing views of the best snowy mountains in Georgia.

Continue reading as Azerbaijan was my next destination!

You can check more of my pictures from Georgia on flickr.