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What do butterflies do ..

when it is raining? This questions came to my mind when I was walking down the hill from Sameba church (Trinity church), sitting right in front of mount Kazbeg, back to Kazbegi village and rain was pouring down. The big cloud had followed us from 2.800 meters where originally we wanted to keep on hiking. Occassionally hail and rain was coming down chasing us back to our hosts. We, that is this time a group of 2 Polish, a French guy and me, backpackers I got to know in the Marshrutka. Kazbegi is definitely a primary destination of backpackers and it's worth it. The region is part of the High Caucasus and offers beautiful hikes into gorges and onto mountains, the highest being Mount Kazbeg with 5047 meters. Due to the Georgian Military highway, which was supposed to connect Georgia with Russia, but is now closed, the region can be easily reached. In Soviet times the region around the "town" Kazbegi was famous for it's sheep population and greenhouse-produced vegetabels, powered by free Russian gaz (imagine at an altitude of 1.800 meters!). Now unemployment is quite high and ruins of formerly nice buildings (for example the Soviet style Intourist hotel) are standing next to construction sites of future hotels. Everybody there seems to hope for tourism to develop and somewhat this future commercial site of it makes me feel sorry for the local population and its traditions. Now, one can easily distinguish tourists and backpackers from locals, people are actually waiting impatiently for them at the central square, which only consists of a bus stop, a hotel and several kiosks (selling everything from beer to shampoo). In any case, the view from Kazbegi and the surrounding mountains is great and next time I will enjoy it longer and maybe even dare to climb the giant mountain. From 3000 meters upwards you have to walk on a glacier, which I find quite scary.

Was machen Schmetterlinge ...

wenn es regnet? Das fragte ich mich, als ich den Berg von der Sameba Kirche (Dreifaltigkeitskirche), die sich direkt vor dem Kazbeg Berg befindet, zurueck zum Dorf Kazbegi lief und es in Stroemen regnete. Die grosse, dunkle Wolke hatte uns von der Hoehe von 2800 Meter verfolgt und dazu gebracht, statt weiterzuwandern, umzukehren. Gelegentlich liess sie Hagel und Regen auf uns herniederfallen und goennte uns keine Ruhepause, bis wir durchnaesst bei unseren Herbergen zurueck waren. Diesmal war ich mit zwei Polinnen und einem Franzosen unterwegs, Rucksackreisende, die ich unterwegs in der Marschrutka kennengelernt hatte. Kazbegi ist definitiv ein primaeres Reiseziel fuer Rucksackreisende und es lohnt sich! Die Region gehoert zum Hohen Kaukasus und bietet Wanderungen in Schluchten und auf Berge, wovon der Hoechste der Berg Kazbeg mit 5047 Metern ist. Durch die Militaerautobahn, die Russland mit Georgien verbinden sollte, doch jetzt geschlossen ist, ist die Region recht gut erschlossen. Zu Sowietzeiten war die Region fuer seine enormen Schafherden bekannt sowie fuer den Gemueseanbau in Gewaechshaeusern, der durch kostenlose Erdgaslieferungen aus Russland moeglich war (stellt Euch das mal vor, auf 1800 Metern Hoehe !). Jetzt ist die Arbeitslosigkeit ziemlch hoch und Ruinen ehemalig nett aussehender Gebaeude (zum Beispiel das im Sowietstil erbaute Intourist Hotel) stehen neben Baustellen von zukuenftigen Hotels. Jeder in Kazbegi scheint nur auf den Aufschwung durch wachsenden Tourismus zu hoffen, doch irgendwie gefaellt mir der herannahende Kommerz nicht, da er mit Sicherheit die lokale Bevoelkerung und ihre Traditionen veraendern wird. Jetzt kann man ganz leicht unterscheiden zwischen den ankommenden Touristen oder Rucksackreisenden und den Lokalen, die ungeduldig auf Erstere auf dem Hauptplatz des Dorfes warten. Dieser besteht eigentlich nur aus einer Bushaltestelle, einem Hotel und mehreren Kiosken, die von Bier bis Schampoo alles verkaufen. Auf jeden Fall, ist die Sicht in dieser Region grossartig, ob vom Dorf oder von den Bergen. Das naechste Mal werde ich mir mehr Zeit nehmen und vielleicht werde ich mich auch trauen, den grossen Berg zu besteigen. Doch die Aussicht, ab 3000 Metern aufwaerts auf einem Gletscher laufen zu muessen, finde ich doch ziemlich gruselig.
1.8.07 18:37

A photographic journey

Check the link "Forgotten people in Georgia" (see Links) for an excellent introduction into Georgian culture and some awesome old-fashioned photos!
1.8.07 18:53

Caucasus: Looking back

Some more curiosities and news: little yellow buses are now leaving every day from Tbilisi to surrounding sights to offer city people the opportunity to explore and enjoy their culture. The little bus and the people in it seem to become a micro cosmos, but no matter how bad the road is people start singing together in a very specific and beautiful way (but don't talk to the Georgian bus driver during the trip!).

By the way, "Caucasus" supposedly means mountain of languages and it some areas it seems as if in every valley people invented a language for themselves. Most of them are not written down though.  

There is a region in Georgia called Svaneti, by the way Svans are the great heros of many jokes. This region is situated in the high Caucasus and far off any roads in good condition. Most houses there have a defense tower next to them to prepare for potential enemies, as the Svans had to fight against other mountain people and invaders from other countries. This is where Georgian cultures was preserved in times of invasion and destruction and maybe therefore Svans actually can be heros of jokes. This is where I want to go next time.

Thinking about curiosities in this beautiful cultures, I would like to go back immediately and explore more! The past 5 weeks now feel as if I was in a different world, but only the clash with my world makes me realize this. Now there's stories to tell and photos to look at, but also - more importantly - thoughts, images and emotions connected to this travel adventure. What was first an inexplicable attraction to the Caucasus, has now some foundation and is still full of attraction. I am very thankful to my Georgian and Armenian friends and their families who hosted me and shared their hospitality with me. Many of my questions would not have received an answer without them. Thanks also to all those people who I met on the road of Kuriosistan and had a good talk with.

                                                       - The end -

Linktext first own pictures (more to follow) (login: email:; password: praktika89)

8.8.07 00:06


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