We chose to leave Kazbegi in a marshrutka or known to us westerners as a minibus. For me, it was a most uncomfortable ride as my knees wouldn’t fit in behind the seat and the driver took the hairpin bends like he didn’t care if he died today. This made me very queasy and it wasn’t until the last 30 minutes into Tbilisi that I started to feel a bit better, the knees, however, had no respite. The bus cost us 10 Lari each (About $5) however the taxi we opted for to Sighnaghi cost us 120 lari for us both (about $30 each) and was a much better way to travel.
We arrived at Guesthouse Levan and made our way inside to be rudely told the place was closed and to go away. Standing in the street with our bags we made our way to the nearest cafe for lunch. It seemed word had got around we were in need of a guesthouse and after we finished lunch the guy at the cafe drove us to a guesthouse. It was dirt cheap, but could have been a drug den at night and was a long walk to town up a hill.
The second place was just near the town and has a large balcony with a view (The first also had this feature as do half the guesthouses in Sighnaghi). The guesthouse appears to have 5 rooms, but we are the only ones staying here and its a rather large place. The owner was around and made our beds etc and helped Claire with the washing machine. We haven’t seen her since though!
This morning we found a place for breakfast but it was pretty average and didn’t have drinkable coffee. So we went for a second breakfast around the corner at a place they did sell drinkable coffee. We then set off and explored the walls and churches of Sighnghi. The walls are in remarkable condition however strangely don’t encircle the old town.
We retired to lunch at a place with a balcony and view. This is pretty common in Sighnaghi with a view of the Alazani Valley and the snow-capped Caucasus are visible in the hazy distance. I’m also on a quest to try all the flavours of lemonade they have here. So far I’ve had Lemon, Peach, Cream, Vanilla, Grape and Tarragon! The first two are the only really good ones.
After the lunch and a rest from the heat, we headed over to the Living Roots Ranch to go for a horse ride. The temperature had cooled in the late arvo making it a great time to go for a ride. I mounted my horse “Freckles” on just the second attempt. He was white with brown freckles all over him. Such a lovely horse and easy to control, most of the time.
We headed off down the trail when a randy stallion came charging at us. Our guide tried to control him, but he then attacked the guide’s horse taking it to the ground and almost got Claire’s horse who was a potential mate. Freckles just stood there and ate grass, he was not seen as a rival male as he’d had the “operation” so he couldn’t make baby horses. The guide managed to catch the rogue horse and lock it away. It was not a happy horse, but neither were the ones it attacked.
We continued the ride down into the valley, past a few old churches and up the other side of the valley where we did a quick photo shoot as the horses preferred to eat grass than pose. But I did get freckles to look up and then rewarded him with grass. We rode back to the ranch, where Freckles was let loose and he ran off to hang with the other horses and eat delicious green grass.
We had dinner at the place we went for second breakfast. There was a birthday party going on and a lot of shots of “Chacha” consumed. Chacha being their local grappa type drink. Then there was a lot of singing and dancing and more shots. That night was going to end badly for some of them, that is for sure.
Tomorrow is our last full day in Georgia, before we head for the Armenian border on Monday.