Sunday, May 31, 2015

Adventure in Lagodekhi

The bridge

The waterfall on the back
Near the border of Azerbaijan are protected natural areas of Lagodekhi. In Lagodekhi you have possibility to hike four different routes. 1. Lagodekhi waterfall which is five meters high and the hiking takes five hours. 2. Gurgeniani waterfall which is 15 meters high and the hiking takes five hours. 3. Macha castle which is a three hour walk. 4. Shavi klde Lake up on the mountains and hiking takes three days. End of May there is still snow so now the route is not open but it is expected to be open on July. Lagodekhi center rents needed equipment and horses.

I hiked to the Lagodekhi waterfall and it was an adventure. The route started with a path through green forest and a slight uphill all the way. There came a point where I had to cross to the other side of a river which comes from the waterfall. There was a narrow split tree laid down as a bridge (the photo above). The stream of the river was fast so it looked that it could take me if I fall there. The only option to continue was to balance to other side by walking on the tree. After crossing the forest became slightly more thick. I could see plants with leafs climbing on the trunks of high trees. Then came the part where I had to cross running water few times. I tried to find always narrowest part to cross but I had to remove my shoes for crossing to prevent them getting wet. There were many difficult parts to pass and without seeing the yellow route marks I would think that I am lost. After walking by the river the path goes zig zag up to a mountain wall and finally gets all the way down to the waterfall. Completing the route definitely felt like an adventure. The route had many impressive views but the waterfall itself was not that impressive.

Friday, May 29, 2015


This weekend I am visiting Sighnaghi which is known as a city of love in Georgia. Here some photos from the city.

Flowers on the roof of a church

Enjoying the view

Street of Sighnaghi

The wall surrounding Sighnaghi

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Aggressive begging

Yesterday was the independence day of Georgia. There was many stands and activities organized in the city center. Many streets were closed from the cars. This kind of event attracted also many beggars to the area. I faced so far the most aggressive beggar in my life. about 7 years old girl came to me asking for money. As I tried to continue walking she quickly wrapped herself around my leg and sat to the ground so I could not move. There we stayed for one minute as I could not move. I did not give money because I did not want to reward such aggressive begging. Finally she gave up and let me go. There are also often adults with children begging for money. Few times somebody have come to knock the door asking for food. You can read also my posts about beggars in Turkey and Spain.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Transparent Police

Police station
The police of Georgia used to be corrupted. In 2005 Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili fired the entire traffic police force which was around 30 000 police officers. Complete new police force was built from new recruits. Now the police has a good reputation and there is no corruption. The police stations all around Georgia have now basically walls made of windows. the transparency of the police stations is symbolizing the transparency of the police force and that they have nothing to hide.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Georgian wine

Small qvevris on the backgroung and buried qvevris in the ground
I did a few day trip to famous Georgian wine producing region Kakheti. There I went to a tour of one wine making company. Tour introduced me to Georgian wine making traditions which are 8000 years old and belongs to UNESCO intangible heritage list. Traditionally wine grapes were squashed with feet but now a days it is less used method. squashed grapes are stored in a qvevri which is used for fermentation. Qvevri is a large clay vessel buried below ground level. Traditionally in Europe wooden barrels are used for fermentation of wine. Qvevri wine is a natural product where additional ingredients are not added.

Tour included also tasting wines. You can notice Georgian white wine has stronger color than European white wines because entire grape with skins, bones etc is included in the fermentation and not removed. Before clay cups or horns were used for drinking wine but now wine glasses are used.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wine tasting in grocery store

Wine tasting booth
I ran into promoters offering wine tasting possibility in a big grocery store. All brands had their own representatives so there was 10 different person offering you wine tasting samples to help you make buying decision. Also in other sections there were promoters offering samples of bread, cheese sweets etc. Never before I have seen possibility to try such wide range of tastes in a grocery store.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mini buses

Yellow mini buses waiting
There are many mini buses available in Georgia for transportation inside the city like in Turkey. Mini bus is called marshutka in Georgia. Usually everywhere you pay when you take a ride by public transportation. In Georgia you pay for the ride when you arrive to your desired destination. You do not have to be on a bus stop to get a ride with mini bus. You can be just anywhere by the road and wave the mini bus to stop. Similarly you can request it to stop in desired place.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Feeling like a child

When go abroad you might feel mentally a bit retarded as you cannot understand the local language. Basically you are on a level of under 5 year old kid if you cannot speak or read the local language when you need to communicate with a foreign language. When traveling and visiting places as a tourist you are often only in a tourist friendly places where you can survive with your mother tongue or in English. Usually you can also speak with a common language to your fellow travelers. Therefore you might not get the feeling of feeling like a retard. Especially in Georgia I have had the feeling of retarded more strongly than before because I do not understand the Georgian alphabets and therefore I am not able to read anything. Knowing the local language is essential to immerse the local culture.  I have started to learn Georgian alphabets and trying to speak something.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Finnish brand in Georgia

Finnish logo in Georgian
In Georgia I spotted one Finnish brand called Myllyn Paras which produces for example flour for baking. Interesting thing was that I spotted their products in a pharmacy. In Finland I have not seen their products being sold in a pharmacy. In Finland you find their products in grocery stores. You can see their name written in Georgian and Finnish. In Georgian it says literally "Milin parasi".

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Umaglesi Liga Match

Boris Paichadze Stadium

Police watching over the crowd
Today I went to match a football match of Georgian league. The match was between Dinamo Tbilisi and Torpedo Kutaisi. The entrance was free and about 500 supporters of Dinamo had already arrived and decorated their area with flags. Few hundred supporters of Torpedo arrived to the stadium after few minutes of the starting whistle. There was a line of police men rounding the whole stadium and extra attention was given naturally to the areas of the fanatic supporters. During the match both of the supporters were throwing loud bombs towards to the pitch and also torches were light.

The match itself was entertaining. The final result was 3-2 for Dinamo Tbilisi. When ever Dinamo scored many people in the crowd shouted insults towards supporters of Torpedo and showed middle fingers. There was an interesting incident on the pitch when few players of Torpedo wanted a penalty from a dubious hand ball. The play was not stopped but two players of Torpedo ran to the referee and grabbed him from hands and shoulders. Clearly braking the rule of referees untouchability. Referee wrestled himself out and just let the game run. He did not even give warning to the players for protesting. I think that in many other leagues referee could have given a red card for the players for grabbing referees arm and protesting such way.

After match I did not see any aggressive behavior.  The attendance of the match was several thousand which is quite little for s stadium which has capacity of  54 549 people. I have been told that rugby has become more popular than football in Georgia. Hopefully I will have a chance to see a rugby match here. You can read previous football match reports from Turkey and Spain.