The road from Ushguli to Mestia was narrow, winding and bumpy though parts were being rebuilt.  On the way we stopped at the Lovers Tower, one of the few towers that we could climb to the top. 

The next morning we drove a few miles back towards Ushguli then hiked along the ridge, through old villages.

After the hike we were ready for a relaxed afternoon. At the cafe we asked about my young guide from twenty years ago and were told that he and his mother were out of town but may return the next day.

We went to see a movie about a woman in Ushguli forced to marry against her will.  It was a fascinating tear jerker, showing how the people of Ushguli are adapting to modern times.  The movie blurb says: "1992. Dina lives in a remote village high in the Georgian mountains where century old traditions rule day to day life. Her grandfather has arranged for her to marry, but when handsome Gegi returns from war, she falls in love with him and they elope, trampling on traditional Svaneti culture. Her refusal to abide by Tradition will cost her more than she could imagine."  We all enjoyed seeing scenes from the village we had just left.  (Dede is Georgian for "Mother".) 

We started the next morning by going up a chairlift to a mountain overlooking Mestia.

After getting a ride to the top of this mountain we hiked up to the Chaladi Glacier.  First we drove up a road that was all torn up as they had built a small dam with a long pipe to bring water downstream for hydro electric power. 

Then we crossed a suspension footbridge -- not my favorite way to cross the river!

Then we headed up, first through the woods then following the river whose source was the melting glacier.

Near the glacier the ground was littered with loose boulders the glacier had left behind, making walking difficult.At he end of the glacier was a pool of water fed with melting snow and a steady stream of rocks falling.

We had a picnic lunch just below the glacier then hiked back to Mestia where we visited the Museum of History and Ethnography.  After dinner we returned to the Laila Cafe in search of Giorgi, my guide from twenty years earlier.  He was not back from his travels but we found his mother and sister.  The mother had run the guest house where I stayed which was located where the cafe is now.  She did not speak English but welcomed us with complimentary wine and called Giorgi on his cell phone.  We reminesced and he invited me to return and stay with him in both Tbilisi and Mestia.  I hope to take him up on that offer.  Meanwhile we enjoyed our compliemntary wine, the Georgian folk music and energetic folk dancing.

The next morning we left early for the long drive to Batumi on the Black Sea.  click here

Back to Return to Georgia index  click here

To overall travels index page click here