Head to the hills.

Trip Start Jun 07, 2012
Trip End Sep 02, 2012

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Flag of Georgia  , Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti,
Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A fair bit of researching through the night working out a game plan for a week and a bit in Georgia.

Concluding that there is no rush to get to Azerbaijan the plan is to spend the next week or so having a good poke around Georgia, particularly up in the hills. As such we're headed today back East to the Svanetis Kedi Range and the town of Mestia.

Having heard stories of tourist being held up by gun point in the valley leading to Svaneti a bit more research proved that the troubles of past were resolved when the Georgian government sent their special forces in to execute the head 'bad guy'. Efficient government at work......

The rain persisting from yesterday, Wallsy took the driving reigns and immediately undertook the task of avoiding wandering cows, pigs an evidently the odd goose.

To say the rain got heavier is an understatement. In no time having picked up the main East - West Highway we were in a monstrous downpour reducing the vis to just a few metres. Remarkably in the 15mins of near zero vis, we avoided hitting any major potholes, remarkable considering some of the roads.

Approaching the town of Zugdidi i was definitely a bit paranoid that we didn't miss the turn to Mestia and end up plowing into the disputed Russian controlled territory of  Abkhazia.  Of course with most stupid things tourists worry about, it was not an issue with plenty of signs showing the way to Mesita, keeping well clear of any border.

Into the hills and not knowing what to expect of the road, it ended up being a long 2hr drive on a straight forward good quality concrete road 90% of the time. A victim of the drive, Blanche has I'm devastated to report lost a hubcap. Now we had bets on when one would go (myself somewhere before Uzbekistan and Wallsy, post Kazakhstan), but this early seems ridiculous. Hopefully we don't lose anymore of Blanche on the roads in the next few days. 

Mestia itself was a sea of construction when we arrived. Possibly in 6months the place will be  unrecognisable but for the moment the potholed main street has a scattering of market shops with the odd cafe attracting what tourists pass through. Calling on the aid of the tourist office, we were armed with directions for the back streets of Mestia and to Ika Guesthouse. From first impressions, the place should be sweet, and with breakfast and dinner included its a bargain.

Aim is a day trip to Ushguli tomorrow, which from what i can gather is a spectacular town the next valley over. We've heard varying reports of yes you can drive there in Blanche, to no you can't under any circumstance, then yes you can as long as it hasn't been raining etc. Having probably missed our chance to share the cost of a 4WD I reckon we'll give it a crack and see how we go.

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