Friday, March 25, 2016

Kutaisi and the Imereti Region

Hello, Kutaisi.
Kutaisi is the second largest city in Georgia with about 200,000 people and the Rioni River runs through it. It is the capital of the western Imereti Region. All over the region are gardens, persimmon trees, and a few huge caves. Of course there are plenty of monasteries to visit in the Imereti Region! There is also a huge indoor food bazaar where we got to taste many different foods before buying them.
Things you need along the highway.
On the way to Kutaisi...
Gentlemen and their backgammon
Masha wanted a photo of her looking cool, eating pizza in Kutaisi.
About 12 miles (20km) from Kutiasi is Kumistavi Cave aka Prometheus Cave. Uncovered in 1985 this cave has 10 different sections, only a couple of which tourists can go through. It takes about an hour to walk through and then you take a boat out of the cave! The cave is all lit up and colorful like other caves I have seen, and you know I have seen caves with glorious mountain tops and caves turned into hospitals!

Came to Georgia. Found my alma mater.
Prometheus Cave/ Kumistavi Cave
Prometheus Cave/ Kumistavi Cave
Prometheus Cave/ Kumistavi Cave
Valya at Prometheus Cave/ Kumistavi Cave
Happy people leaving Prometheus Cave/Kumistavi Cave
Persimmons and sheep, Imereti countryside
We pulled off the road to take photos of persimmons drying, and the husband and wife whose property it was welcomed us with warm hearts and plenty of food and drink.
Gosha welcomed us to his persimmons, wine, and honey!
I really loved their outside sink.
Good for washing persimmon juice off your sticky hands!
Have you had enough persimmons yet?! (The answer is: never.)
Gosha and his wife hung with us while our guide was frustrated that we were late for lunch.
Georgian-Russian connection
When your brother and father are a photography/film duo.
Typical autumn view in Imereti Region
Kutaisi street

Motsameta Monastery (this particular complex was built in the 11th century)
Motsameta Monastery
Motsameta Monastery. By far the most epic one we saw on our trip!
Exhausted from monasteries but loving Motsameta Monastery's views
The view from Motsameta Monastery
Gelati Monastery (12th century)
You know who loves visiting churches? This guy!
Bagrati Cathedral. Built in 1003, it has slowly, piece by piece been re-built over the last few years.
When they did renovations the architect wanted to build a restaurant inside...
Inside Bagrati Cathedral.
...where the restaurant plans fell through...
A bench looking for peace in Kutaisi.
You can't escape persimmon trees in Kutaisi.
Rioni River running through Kutaisi
Rioni River running through Kutaisi
Get 'cha cigarettes!
Site of the indoor food bazaar in Kutaisi
Bazaar in Kutaisi
Bazaar in Kutaisi
Russians debating just how much is too much to carry for the rest of the trip.
Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian sausage-shaped candy.
The main ingredients are grape must, nuts, and flour.
Feijoa also grows in Georgia, and my mom is OBSESSED.
Woman: Hey, do you want my live chicken?
Man: Hmmm, no I'm not sure how it will fit in with my spices.
Woman: Ok, I'll keep looking for a buyer.
Woman leaving the bazaar with the chicken no one wanted.
Pickled everything at the bazaar! (I like pickled cabbage.)
This dude just chillin', havin' a smoke in the bazaar. (photo by Savva)
Georgian's say they have 200 different varieties of cheese, and not enough names for them all! 
Georgian women with tons of cornmeal
Mothers singing with singers.
What a gorgeous fountain!!
Daughters hoping they can be as fun as their mothers one day.
Good night, Kutaisi.

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