Fri, Nov 15, 2013
Today’s drive was short – only about 3 hours, much of it up a winding hill with nice views of the fortress on the top of the hill, the valley, and the snowcapped mountains in the far distance. Our destination was the town of Signaghi at the top of the hill. It was surrounded by a stone wall with towers and several churches. We’ve been in Muslim countries for so long, it’s strange to now be in a Christian country so close to the middle east. We stayed in a guesthouse in the center in town.
Anna, Barb, Chris and I walked around the town, looking at shops and stopping for nice views. A lady was selling something that is locally known as “Georgian Snickers” – they take walnuts and string them together and then it is dipped in a grape juice and flour concoction that eventually gels around the walnuts. They look like a cross between homemade sausages and candles. To eat them, you pull the string out and then eat the whole thing – there’s no type of skin to peel off. They are mildly sweet.
At the bottom of the wall, we found a restaurant with a view of the valley and mountains. We ordered 3 lemonades for Barb, Chris and I and they brought us three fizzy sweet drinks in three flavors and colors – a lemonade that tasted like Sprite, a pear drink, and a bright green Tarragon flavor drink that tasted a bit like medicine or mouthwash.
We relaxed in Barb and Chris’ huge room in their guesthouse and drank some really nice Georgian wine. We then went to a very fancy local restaurant where I had a carrot/dill/garlic salad, corn bread, and a whole fried trout with 1/4 bottle of wine for about $10.
Anna and I, as well as some others, were staying in Nana’s Guesthouse. She was a nice Georgian lady who speaks English very well. She was excited to hear I am from Washington state – she had gone on a Wine tour to Washington state in the past and as I was on the internet in the chilly common room, she came a wrapped a blanket around me that had “Seattle” embroidered on the side.
Sat, Nov 16
I had a big walk before breakfast. I had originally planned to walk around the city walls for sunrise over the mountains but the mountains were all clouded over. Instead, I ended up walking 3 Km out of town to the Ninos Convent and monastery. They were reconstructing the big church there and there was a fascinating workshop outside.