Towers built to resist the enemy rose around me. Not consecutively but scattered across the valley, each attached to a home built from the same worn blocks of stone. Time roughened their edges, rain nibbled their sandy grout and flashbacks of former raids hid between nooks and melted into shadows. Today, yellow flowers painted a tapestry at the foot of certain towers while white-blossomed trees soothed their memories, lifting troubles of past generations lightly in the breeze.
The towers stood for resilience. Resilience of the town’s ancestors and strength of community that still filters through neighbourly life. Koshkebi (“stone towers”) define the Svaneti region of northern Georgia, yet my eyes were transfixed by what lay lower to the ground.
They were no longer than my forearm, positioned in a “V” with their noses touching ever so gently. Two piglets were sleeping at the edge of the dirt road, indifferent to the trotting heifer that passed by or the aging farm truck that bounced over dips worn into the road. One piglet eventually raised his wee snout, stretched it into a gigantic yawn, wiggled his tail and shifted to the other side of his sibling before falling back to sleep. His brother remained oblivious, lost in some piggy dream.
I was standing one block off the main street in the village of Mestia where life seemed tangled between modern conveniences and manual efforts. Men dug a new building’s foundation using shovels beneath electric wires that connected every home.
These two piglets seemed to capture the charm of this place with their contented uniqueness, unaware at how everyday qualities tickled visitors’ hearts.
Where: Mestia, Georgia
How to get there: There are two options:
By air and weather permitting, take a fifty-minute flight on a fifteen-seater plane operated by Vanilla Sky.
By road, the drive takes about eight hours from Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia. Marshrutkies (public buses”) take approximately nine hours. There are various options to mix marshrutky and train via towns such as Zugdidi and Kutaisi.
Where to stay: Bapsha Guesthouse for friendly hosts, home-cooked meals and comfortable rooms
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