It was like a dream waking up into a sub-zero winter wonderland. Tell me about December and I’ll wish to just sleep it off until the new year comes. Rising through a completely different world and weather that I’m used to, brings hope that there’s always an alternative life if we just look harder. Like Georgia’s tourism slogan, for the best moments of your life, be ready to create new memories.
Thanks to our hotel’s top-notch heating facility, it’s hard to get up early. Sunrise was at half past 7 in the morning and Kazbegi temperature is at -3ºC. Cold? Piece of cake.
The panoramic view of the snow covered Caucasus Mountains is a sight to behold. My heart is full of gratitude. How do you spell a mixed emotion of awe and a tinge of pain knowing that this retreat is coming to an end?
Bikini is calling, so we got ready for a morning swim at the heated pool and an excuse to take a hundred more photos against the majestic mountain range backdrop.
Spot Gergeti Trinity Church from afar
Like the night before, we almost had the pool to ourselves. It stopped snowing through the night and we’re blessed with a good weather, so we’ll carry on with our usual itinerary. Requested for a late room check out to make the most of our stay and probably take seconds for brunch.
A thousand photos and a quick swim later, we prepped up for a lavish buffet breakfast. The hotel restaurant serves traditional Georgian fare infused with a host of international dishes. American big breakfast it is! The unlimited bacon and the perfectly fluffy scrambled eggs are to die for.
Every nook and cranny of the hotel is intagram-worthy. The cozy interior is rustic and modern. It’s like my pinterest board has come to life. There’s bookshelves in every corner and a working fireplace too… I don’t want to leave.
We left our hotel with a new purpose to come back again for a longer stay. Our first stop of the day is the 14th century Gergeti Trinity Church, 7km away from our hotel. It is situated at an elevation of 2170 meters under Mount Kazbegi.
Our guide arranged for a van to take us to the top. At that time, the road was blanketed with heavy snow and the sunny weather suddenly shifted with less visibility and strong winds.
The wind lifted me up into the trees
Where I danced to the rhythm, of the evergreen,
Swaying to the tune, of the northern breeze,
Frozen in timeless melody.
The church location has been a symbol of Georgia for being surrounded with nature’s vastness. It is a popular waypoint for trekkers in the area, and can be reached by a steep 3 hour climb up the mountain, or around 30 minutes by jeep up a rough mountain trail.
The closest we can get to Gergeti Trinity Church. Our van got stuck in the snow and the strong wind gets scary by the minute. So we only have a few minutes to spare for photo ops.
Achievement Unlocked: Frozen and overjoyed with our first snow experience.
We headed back to Kazbegi town and drove continously before the snow blocked our way to Tbilisi. It was a long and slow journey.
We passed over Georgia – Russia Friendship Monument in zero visibility.
At 5 in the afternoon, we finally reached Mtskheta, Georgia with a light shower welcoming us. Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia has conferred the title of “holy city” on Georgia’s ancient capital Mtskheta – a place revered by all Georgians. The city’s numerous holy sites have won it the name of Second Jerusalem.
The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in the eastern city of Mtskheta, Georgia, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the seat of the archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi, Patriach Ilya II. It is known as the burial site of Christ’s mantle.
Ladies are provided with long black wrapped-around skirts upon entering the cathedral. Inside are six tombs of Georgia’s Kings and burial ground before the altar. The scripts are all written in Georgian so it’s best to have an English translator guide.
Quaint street leading to Cathedral with cobbled stone pathway
Next stop is dinner. Our guide as usual is generous with his recommendation and brought us to this cozy dinner place, log cabin style.
The light shower continued through Tbilisi. We called it an early night and prepped up for the next day’s adventure.