Moving about the provincial towns of Georgia

These three days spent out of Tbilisi give a real insight into everyday life in Georgia. Wherever the destination it requires a long drive along one of the country’s few major roads. The number of motorways can be counted on one hand. I must share this image of the gents’ toilet in one service station.

The mountain regions present their own transport problems besides the normal steep, winding roads and that is convoys of those huge 18 wheeled lorries that slave it up the inclines and then race it down the other side. These single lane mountain highways are not built for overtaking, particularly by the trucks. But they take ownership of the road. They are just as forceful as the cars, thundering past other transport and forcing their way in before the approaching calamity just misses their front wing. Sometimes there are three of these juggernauts belting along in opposite directs but ending up side by side with inches between each of them.

Uplistsikhe is a large pre-Chrjstian cave town, now with a more recent church built at the top. Ancient temples and theatres can still be seen and water was collected from the river by way of an underground tunnel.

Gori is the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. There, that is Gori. Not a lot else to say.

Kutaisi is a pleasant city with a wonderful fountain at its centre. A large park provides shade and opportunities to wander, relax and appreciate statues of national figures. It has an Opera House and a theatre…. and a Macdonalds!.

Blocks of traditional buildings stand next to modern constructions. I got caught up with the locals. I found my two brothers amongst the taxi drivers.

This lovely lady worked in the cafe under the tree.

These guys were simply passing the time of day. So chilled….and pleased to be asked to have their photo taken.

The 11th century Bagrati Cathedral stands in a prominent position above the river. It suffers the indignation of being one of those few sites to have its UNECO World Heritage in Danger status withdrawn due to a very unsympathetic, modern renovation at the side.

The frescoes within the buildings that form the Academy & Monastry, founded in the 12th century by King David the Builder zf Gelati, are magnificent. The main church and the smaller chapels are covered in images from the life and death of Christ, dating from the 16th century. Awesome.

I should at this point share with you the fact that Georgia and England both share their same patron saint, as will as the same flag – a red cross on a white background. Needless to say, the Georgians got there first. English crusaders heard about this legendary figure in the Holy Land and decided to adopt him as their own – the dragon representing the infidel.

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