Day 19-20, Chargali – Shatili – Tskaltubo

Day 19, July 26ht, Sun, Chargali-Shatili

Chargali-Shatili-TskaltuboI didn’t know the reason why I wanted to go to Shatili or how I got to know that special village. But it was fantastic and I haven’t seen something like this before. Georgia can be a really magical country. The street from Chargali to Shatili is more or less just a dirt road that curls over the 2676m high Datvisjvari Pass. I was super lucky to hitch a ride by a truck that even went further to deliver wood. Till the pass we had the Kazbeg in our backs, surrounded by dark clouds. After the pass the rainy clouds caught us and we were surrounded my hundreds of sheep crossing the road for several times, Due to the rain the road because from dirty to very dirty and a bit slippery and the truck was wide whereas the road was narrow. At some points there were slopes to a river on one side and on the other side sharp rubble from above. One time I had to pilot the truck through the rubble – in sandals that I was wearing cleverly.
At some point we bended and there was Shatili. Ich didn’t know how it would look like and was speechless. On the photos that I posted one can imagine a bit. It was raining and I tried to get onto the mountain apartments in sandals. After some minutes a man whose name I forgot shouted at me I should come to his place. He was coach of a box club that is meeting once a year there for some kind of camp. There was no running water, well actually there nothing – just a space on the floor under a roof, but it was enough for me, I was very happy. We drank wine and beer and ate bread with cheese.

Day 20, July 27th, Mon, Shatili-Tskaltubo

In the morning the weather was better. While the boxers were sleeping and strolled through the village, enjoyed the beautiful landscape and then started to go to Svaneti. I thought that it would take long time, to get out of Shatili, but only after like 30 minutes I got a ride to Tbilisi and from there I went to Kutaisi. In one town I could finally get some money as well after having spent four whole days without any money. Two times I caught rides with drunk people, of whom the last ones missed the exit to Kutaisi permanently which made me quite angry. In the end a grandfather with his granddaughter, who is going to Germany for school, took me to Tskaltubo where I slept in the yard of an abandoned school camp building.

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Day 16-18 , Noyemberyan (Armenia) – Chargali (Georgia)

Day 16, July 23rd, Thu, Noyemberyan – Sno (Georgia)

Noyemberyan-Juta-ChargaliOn Thursday it was time to go to Georgia. To the border it went smooth but then slower.
Alex gave me some hints where I should go in Georgia: the region north of Tbilisi (at the border to North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya) and Svaneti.
My first stop should be the village Juta in Greater Caucasus, near Kazbeg and Stepantsminda.
I caught a ride from the border to Tbilisi where I had to walk and wait but finally after some detours I was on the Georgian Military Road that leads to the Russian border. Multiple times I was told that especially Svaneti is a stunning region and features the best landscape in Georgia. At 11pm I arrived in Sno where the way to Juta starts. I wanted to walk but two times the very friendly police came and told me not to go, but stay in my tent for the night, because of wolves. There was a church nearby and they told me to sleep on its ground.

Day 17, July 24th, Fri, Sno-Juta

I was hit when I got up in the morning. The view, that I couldn’t enjoy during night-time – apart from the crystal clear sky – was gigantic. Few clouds covered the sky, in the background of the church the more than 5000m snow-covered Kazbeg grew into the sky and the air was refreshingly cold.
I didn’t take long time and a food delivery guy took me to Juta where I met with U. and her boyfriend Gela. He was building a hut that is finished by now: Fifth Season Juta.
Since I arrived in the morning I got rid of my stuff, was invited for breakfast with Gela and his co-worker and went for a hike. When I came back four other friends of U. have arrived and the evening was filled with chacha. We were sitting on the table, cheering without breaks and refill happened from 5 litre bottles. Poems have been read and it was discussed about the unity of Georgia (in reference to South Ossetia and Abkhazia). Due to my stay in Iran I was not used to these amounts of alcohol and since we were only sitting I kind of didn’t feel the effect until I had to go to toilet (at that time it was the slope behind the hut).

Day 18, July 25th, Sat, Juta-Chargali

Fortunately I was fine the next morning. But I couldn’t join them when they started to drink for breakfast again. I couldn’t believe how they were able to continue after such a night.
However at noon we got back to the Georgian Military road with about 10 other travellers. Our ride was a truck that brought animals and its bed look literally like shit, but it was funny.
One of the four friends of U. wanted to visit other friends in Chargali and I just decided to go with her. But it wasn’t that funny as before, but I could wash myself in the stream next to the bonfire we made. In the evening we were sitting around it, singing, eating and of course drinking.
The village of Chargali is the birth place of the famous Georgian poet Vazha Pshavela. He is a very important person for the Georgians.

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