Sunday, 22 June 2014

Life in Pankisi

Melissa and I spent a blissful week in Pankisi based in the village of Jokolo. Travelling around the local region was effortless by taxi, bus or hired car. However Georgian taxi drivers are a breed apart and many have missed their vocation as racing drivers. The following images are a selection of what we discovered in the valley and beyond in Alvani and Telavi.

Melissa and I chanced upon this bee keeper. He moves his bees around the valley hitched up on a truck. If you are riding on a horse keep you distance.

Nazy took us to visit a fascinating elderly lady called Lili Murtazashvili in the village of Kvemo Alvani, Akhmeta who is a skilled natural dyer, weaver and trades carpets and other locally made textiles, including hand knitted socks and slippers (chitti). Her garden was wonderful with an old brew and dye house. The yarn you can see hanging up is ready for dyeing and this still is for making Chacha, a type of fruit based vodka.

In Telavi 30 mins drive there is a covered market which is not easy to find. The light being very dim I sadly don't have many pictures, however these ladies chatting while their chickens wait for their destiny in the pot give you an idea of the place.

Duisi old mosque

Melissa wanted to attend the Duisi mosque and meet the women and Sufi singers. The service was cut short and to our surprise we were taken up the road for a wake. As always the women who have better stories eat separately to the men.

Duisi like Jokolo sits alongside the Pankisi river where folk allow their chickens, turkeys cattle and horses to roam freely along the river bank.

Melissa wanted to try trout fishing which we were not very successful at but the roaring stream was a great place to relax.

One of the highlights of Pankisi and Jokolo is the little known Batsara reserve. This massive untouched forest has the oldest Yew forest in the world. You will need a guide and start early. I'm sorry we don't have loads of pictures. Trust me this is a genuine wilderness and within 20 mins we found wolf footprints.

At the head of the Pankisi towards the mountains is a waterfall. The waterfall itself is not much fun but the approach is worth a picnic and a dip in the cool water .

Melissa and myself toasting our wedding anniversary.  

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