Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For the Beauty of the Earth

The theme of this past weekend seemed to be 'seeing beauty in everything.'  Whether it was the snow capped mountains, the green turning yellow trees or the sun shining brightly the entire weekend! Not only did we witness natural beauty, but the people that we met and the many acts of kindness and hospitality they showered us with was also beautiful.  

Just an example of beauty :) 

After two weeks of spending time in Samtredia, Melissa, Michelle and I decided it was time for a change of scenery! As much as we adore our quaint little town (emphasis on the word little) traveling on the weekends is a wonderful getaway time for us; which is exactly what this weekend was.  On Friday afternoon, we hopped on a Marshutka and headed to Borjomi, a town known for it's mineral water springs.  Apparently, this water is extremely good for you and has healing powers, so we of course, wanted to experience it for ourselves.  After arriving in town, we did what we do best, we found a restaurant and divulged our hungry bodies in some delicious Georgian food.  Soon after we arrived, our Chiatura friends, Bran, Tracy and Katy walked through the door and helped us finish the mound of food we had zealously ordered! We then set off to find a place to stay.  

Katy, Michelle, Melissa and I stayed with the most wonderful woman.  She had hosted several peace corp volunteers in the past and happened to have both of her children marry peace corp volunteers.  Her daughter Mako, and her husband Mike (from Virginia) were in town, so we spent the evening swapping volunteer stories, drinking tea and eating the most amazing poppyseed pastries.  I was severely addicted.  At one point, we were all huddled around the fire downstairs to keep warm, eating little chocolates and laughing hysterically.  It was just a great night! 

The breathtaking view from our hotel balcony in Bakuriani
We woke up early the next morning and took off for Bakuriani.  This was by far my favorite day that I've spent in Georgia yet.  We arrived at this adorable little hotel and were greeted by a woman named Dodo.  She quickly took us in, showed us our rooms and said that food would be ready for us in a few minutes.  All of us were cold and hungry, so to be greeted with warm rooms, the possibility of a warm shower and delicious warm food was absolutely wonderful!  

Riding through the forests!
That afternoon we set off for an adventurous horse back ride through the forests and the mountains.  We went with a tour guide named Misha, who was quite the character! An avid horse back rider, going bare back the entire 5 hour trip, and a pro arm wrestler! He managed to show us his skills back at the hotel later that night... I ended up spending most of my time with him during the ride because his horse was my horse's mother, and let me tell you, my horse was a mama's boy.  His name was Tornike and he hated it when anyone came near him or his mother. He'd get crazy eyes and I never was quite sure what was going to happen if the other horse didn't move quickly! That being said, I trusted him with my safety and even let him run up hills, jump over logs and race through the fields.  Having been on horses several times before, I was fairly comfortable, but running was a new experience for me! It was so exhilarating! All you could hear was the wind in your ears and the horses feet against the ground.  

Snow capped mountains are my favorite!
Don't we look professional?
Tornike and I :) 
I truly can't express in words how beautiful and amazing these 5 hours were.  I think if there would have been a video camera filming our expressions, you would have just seen us laughing and smiling for 5 hours straight.  After arriving back at the hotel, we were all incredibly sore and felt as if our bodies had taken a beating! Of course, Dodo was there and ready for us with food on the table and hot tea.  We had a wonderful evening, laughing about the adventures of the day and playing countless rounds of B.S and spoons.  

The next morning we chatted with Dodo and she told us that her husband and her son were both Olympic participants! Her husband was a bobsledder and her son a skier.  They were also friends with the Georgian luge Olympian who died this past February in Canada.  We passed a large memorial for him on our way to the hotel.  Dodo showed us many awards and trophies of her family and it was so wonderful to hear all of her stories! She then helped us find a marshutka back to Borjomi (it literally came to the hotel and picked us up!) The driver then dropped us off at the Mineral Springs Water Park and then offered to come pick us up and take us to the bus station for free, when we were done.  Then, our next Marshutka stopped off and bought us all delicious, warm khatchapuri, took our friends to their city and then hailed us another marshutka to take us back to Kutaisi.  Marshutka drivers here are literally amazing.  i'm not sure what we would do without them during our many travels! 
Katy and I at the Borjomi Mineral Springs Water Park
Playing in Fairyland in the Park!!

Fairyland is not just for kids...
 It was just a great, great weekend.  We're all planning on going back in the winter to ski.  Who knows, maybe Dodo's son will be there and can give us some tips!


  1. I probably shouldn't be commenting on this because I'll see you tomorrow, but I read this as if I was experiencing your weekend without knowing what was going to happen.

    What a happy blog! I'm going to bookmark it and read it whenever I am sad.

    Uh.. See you later!

  2. Yay! Fairyland!!! (sounds so magical!!!)

  3. I have been to Borjomi and enjoyed the water, the park and the scenery. Did you take the gondola up the hill? There is a ferris wheel at the top. Your blog brought back many memories. Now I know where to stay (at Dodo's) and who to contact for horse rides!

  4. @Michelle: Love you!

    @Rachel: Fairyland IS magical! We felt like little kids running around that park :)

    @Connie: We didn't take the gondola up the hill, but would love to do that sometime! The hotel we stayed at was called Sport Hotel in our book - just an FYI! It was such a wonderful place!