Monday, December 05, 2005

The Detour Tour Back To Tbilisi

The return trip via the caves of Vardzia was to be a little treat for me and for the others more of a relaxing day. Translator Nino slept in. This had Driver Chaco pacing the hotel corridors anxiously shouting, from what I could only imagine, a few well chosen Georgian phrases appropriate for this occasion. He resorted to pounding on her door, and then in exasperation, simply blasting the car horn in long bursts. I refrained from making any comment but took up the hotel landlord’s offer of a tour of the ‘Lux’ suites to kill a little time.

Once we set off, I then pointed out to Chaco after about 5 minutes that we heading in the wrong direction. Chaco then wanted to ‘service’ the car. No problem I said in the interests of safety. Nino took up the opportunity to get provisions for the day. After a roadside picnic just outside of town it was 11am before we were underway. Perhaps my punishment for the 13 hour working day on Sunday.

The remains of the 12th century cave system in Vardzia was remarkable and somewhat sad. It reminded me of Mesa Verde in New Mexico. The Church of the Assumption was the highlight and one of the five monks in residence gave an excellent explanation of the frescos inside. On the other hand the state and upkeep of the caves and the reserve is disappointing. I have written earlier about visiting places of historical interest in Georgia means bringing your own notes. Georgia has much to offer people interested in the country’s rich history and natural environment. Sadly, from what I have experienced so far, the basic infrastructure is just not there for tourists to enjoy and appreciate this heritage.

And just enough energy to note that I did see a tiny section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. I wonder if it can seen from space?


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