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    Random observations in Georgia

    October 24, 2019 in Georgia ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    We staid in Georgia for 30days! The longest time we've spent in one country during this journey so far. Quite interesting, considering the country's size. But there is simply so much to do and see. If it didn't get cold, we could easily have staid longer, too, I think.
    Anyhow, spending this many days in one country, allowed us to dig a little deeper than usual. Here is a few observations we've made:

    There are thousands of stray dogs around. In touristy areas, they usually rely on the visitors for food and they're super used to humans and being loved. We've learned of several dogs that accompany hikers for the day, making their excursion even more fun (we had one of them, too). Big, small, bred dogs or mixes, they come in every color, shape and temperament. All of them had a big heart!
    In not so touristy areas the dogs were usually curious, but super shy as well. At one hostel we were told that the strays find it hard to survive the winter as all summer they were fed by tourists and in winter, there is simply not enough food to keep on sharing with them. Heartbreaking! Hence, it's great that there are several organizations and government initiatives working to control the population. Dogs that roam around freely, but are chipped in their ear, have been vaccinated and neutered, in order to prevent further reproduction. In general, the human population likes their strays, too, and mostly the dogs are well looked after. If only they had a home, too.

    The other omnipresent animal around are pigs. They mostly roam around freely, some have a wooden triangle around their neck, probably to keep them from entering fenced areas. Super cute!

    But not only animals can be seen. We've noticed a lot of properties have benches in front of their yards, and every so often neighbours meet here to sit together and have a chat. A tradition that should be practiced everywhere in my opinion. People connecting.

    When looking at those properties, I also noticed that very often there is a big house and a small house right next to it, featuring the same style. Is this modern multi generation families having found a way to live together? Or is it remnants of a wealthy family in the big house and their servants in the smaller one? I really can't tell and unfortunately we didn't get a chance to ask anyone, so this will remain a mystery.

    Georgians love to drink wine. Supposedly their winemaking goes back 8000years. Qvevri, the natural wine, would be a huge hit back in Australia! And not only big scale wine is sold on the market. As you don't need a special license to sell alcohol, homemade wine is sold on every corner. Almost every house has its own grapes growing in the yard. Fascinating!

    Georgia also features many many churches (most of them dedicated to their patron St. George or the female saint Nino). The churches or monasteries are usually picturesquely built on clifftops or next to water sources and are super beautiful to look at. Same applies to the castle/fortress ruins that are dotted along the countryside.

    But not only are there castle ruins. The Soviet era created massive buildings that are now unused and slowly decaying. Family houses have been left to rot as well. Was it too expensive to maintain? Or did the owners move to the city and simply couldn't sell it? Hard to tell, but I'd happily renovate some of these houses and move there in a heartbeat.

    In terms of traffic, many Georgians drive like maniacs. Seeing that many cars without a front bumper really wasn't surprising anymore after a few days of driving.

    Last but not least, here is an interesting fact concerning the Tusheti area only: as many sacred sites are built following either a male or female principle and it shouldn't be unbalanced, please don't be offended by "no women" signs. It's age-old tradition and not meant to annoy anyone. We didn't see the same anywhere else in Georgia, but being considerate when visiting any religious site is highly recommended anywhere in the world.
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