May had a very good begining. David and Tasha made the long trek from Denver, first to Istanbul, Turkey then to our village of Gonio. They met our host family over a traditional Georgian meal where all had a great time toasting everything under the sun. They arrived on Monday evening, May 6th, the Georgian holiday of St. George. This was a test as they flew from Istanbul to our airport in Batumi. A test because we had heard that sometimes flights here are often canceled for the simplest of reasons but this did not happen. Since they had spent a few days in Turkey they were not as tired as they could have been had they flown straight from the US. Here are some pictures of their visits, come relive it with us.
CLICK ON EACH PICTURE TO GET A LARGER VIEW.
Young kids dressed in regional garb handing out samples of Georgian Baklava to arriving visitors.
David and Tasha arrive safely at Batumi airport! The airport is very small as you can see from the arrivial area.
Now we have Suzanne with the full host family., Meri, Bebia, Suzanne, Eliso, Aliko and Nodar.
Another picture of Nodar, Tom, Tasha, David, Aliko, Suzanne and Meri.
Our host mother, Meri, prepared a wonderful Georgian meal for the family guests.
Suzanne, Tasha and David in our room in Gonio. In the background on our door you can see some of Kylan’s wonderful artwork.
David taking a picture of one of the many unfinished apartment/condo buildings on the Black Sea beach front.
Lunch and a taste of Adjaran Katchapuri. This is a very hot bread dish with an egg, butter and cheese in the middle. It is hot enough to cook the egg and melt the rest. These are always a treat but sharing one is the only way to go!
A brief vist to Tom’s office.
Dinner with PCVs Amy Harris and Richard Letrende. We ate at one of our favorite Adjaran restaurants and the food was delicious and filling. Amy and Richard had stories to tell and Tasha and David enjoyed the evening.
At one of the many fountains in Batumi as we walk the city.
David trying to take a picture of the wine bottle label on the train ride to Tbilisi. On this trip we were some of the first people to ride the newest train, a recent arrival from China.
In front of the Church of the Holy Cross. This is one of the most outsstanding monuments of Georgian architecture and a center of pilgrimage for Christian nations of the Caucasus. This site is awarded the UNESCO site, a World Heritage List confirming its universal cultural value.
Hanging out with our driver/guide who took us on a day tour of some important sites in the capital city, Tbilisi. This is our starting point, Mtskheta, where the first church was built in the beginning of the 4th century.
There is a funny story about this sign which indicates there is a woman’s toliet down the stairs. Tasha and Suzanne had a good laugh but you’ll have to wait for the long explanation!
One of the many tourist shops in Meskheta. Lovely handmade scarves, slippers, bags, etc. are offered at the many tourist shops in this area. Christmas shopping anyone???
The tour group in Meskheta. This is the Jarvi Georgian Orthodox Monastery in this same area in Mtskheta. It is still and active monastery for a small number of Orthodox monks.
One of the steel gates to the monastery in Meskheta.
A view of part of Tbilisi from the Tbilisi fortress overlooking the Kura River. The Fortress was originally built in the 4th century and expanded in the 10th century by King David the Builder. It lies on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi.
Tom, David and Tasha high up the fortress wall. Suzanne was the photographer for this photo as she didn’t feel compelled to do the climb.
High upon the fortress wall in Tbilisi. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake.
One of the many statues of King George.
Another view of the high perch.
Looking down the row of Turkish sulfur baths found in Tbilisi below the Fortress. They are still in use today.
What a lovely couple!
Approaching Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi. This is to the Georgian Orthodox as St. Peter’s in Rome is to the Catholics Church.
For those who would like to do any further reading about these places here are a few links to try:
Jvari (monastery): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jvari_(monastery)
Tbilisi Sulpher baths: http://hitchhikershandbook.com/2012/02/04/sulphur-baths-tbilisi/ or check out this youtube site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrPbxPHfkWk