Located at 1700metres above sea level in the Caucasus Mountains, Bakuriani is one of three ski resorts in Georgia (the others being Gudauri and Mestia). I don’t ski but went with Khato and her colleagues to see some snow and breathe the pine fresh air.
Nine of us went from Tbilisi, including the driver Dato. We went in a Mitsubishi Delica, ideal transport for nine in areas where 4 x 4 is a boon. We arrived on Friday evening and in Georgian style we began our stay with a supra (Georgian feast).
On Saturday morning we went to the slopes in town, where Ana had fun sledding.
Tamuna had a go at skiing.
Khato drove a snowmobile, an experience she described as “magaria” (Great). After a circuit with her instructor, she took me around riding pillion.
In the afternoon we ventured higher, where it was Ana’s turn to ride a snowmobile.
The snow was deep, it was a pity we didn’t have rackets on our boots.
We took a cable car up to yet higher slopes, where there was a cafe and a great view.
We could also watch the experts descending the slopes speedily on their skis.
The day finished with the inevitable supra. The following day it was snowing.
Ana was ready for some more experiences and had a ride in a snow buggy driven by Tamuna and then a ride on horseback.
Then it was time to venture downhill to the monastery at Timotesubani.
Timotesubani Church was constructed during the “Golden Age” of medieval Georgia under Queen Tamar (1184-1213). Unfortunately the church was closed.
From Timotesubani it is a short trip to Borjomi, where we tried the famous waters. The Borjomi springs were discovered by the Imperial Russian military in the 1820s. They were made famous throughout the Russian Empire, making Borjomi a popular tourist destination. The history of the brand is closely associated with the Russian imperial dynasty of Romanov. By the 1890s, Borjomi was bottled in the Georgian estates of Grand Duke Mikhail of Russia. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 and subsequent Soviet takeover of Georgia, the Borjomi enterprise was nationalized and the water was made into a top Soviet export. It was Stalin’s favourite mineral water.
Before heading back to Tbilisi we found a restaurant for an over-long supra, where we met some Filipino tourists. They had seen snow for the first time in their lives earlier that day and were excited like small children seeing snow for the first time.