Gorging in Georgia

I woke up to snow in Sheki and a massive platter of bread, cheese and jams that my home-stay mother provided for me. It would have been easy to spend another day, but I had conquered that small mountain town and decided to press on. I walked through the snow to the marashrutka station and jumped on a string of cramped little mini-buses en-route to my current locale of Telavi, Georgia. I am staying with a beautiful host family in their sprawling and dilapidated stone compound. My new host mother, Svetlana, served me another unbelievable feast: bean and vegetable stew, fresh yogurt with herbs, a mushroom and herb dish, homemade bread, rice pilaf and approximately a liter of their homemade wine. All of these ingredients were either grown in their garden or picked-up at their local farmer’s market — which I visited this afternoon. The carrots, radishes and beets were spectacular!

The countryside here is medieval and stunning. Castles and cathedrals dot rolling, forested hills — with the intimidating snow-capped caucusas looming in the background. I continuously picture myself in renaissance garb.

Svetlana set me up with a friend named Davit who is going to show me around for the next two days. We are meeting tomorrow at 13:00, after the Georgian Orthodox ceremonies, to tour some historic sites and visit his friend’s wineries. I am paying Svetlana $17.00 a day to stay in her lovely upstairs bungalow, with board included. Davit is getting $20 for two days of touring and tasting. More than Laos, but still a mind-boggling deal.

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