We had one stop on the road to eat a bit. We had Kachapuri, a kind of round bread filled with cheese or meat. In there we could also prove that Svan people are really friendly, as a guy invited to a couple of glasses of Cha Cha. Cha Cha is the Georgian equivalent of Italian grappa. And it really were two full glasses that you had to drink at once. It was a nice introduction to the Svan country: getting drunk before even getting to the destination.
Mestia is the main hub of Svaneti. In spite of this, it is really small, quiet, full with Svan towers and at this time of the year you see more animals on the street than people. Cows, pigs and especially dogs are the kings of Mestia right now. You see them everywhere and dogs must be quite bored as they attach to you wherever you go. As to people, there's not much movement in town: shops open late (if they open at all), if they're open sometimes the shopkeeper is away adn the same applies to bars and restaurants. Anyway, I think I prefer it to summertime, when it looks like Mestia must be full of tourists according to all guesthouses and activities offered there.
Once back in Mestia it was quite late and dark again, so back to Laila's (the nice restaurant with wi-fi and a nice waitress) for some beer and something to eat and back to the guesthouse. Next morning it was the trekking to the Chalaadi glacier, especially reccomended by Evangelus.
Anyway, all the walk goes next to a river, at some point you cross a suspension bridge and you get to a wooden cabin where there are two Georgian border guards there (the glacier is right next to Russia so the cabin is like the border post). The guards were really nice and even invited us into the cabin for some tea and bread.
Trekking finished after 7 hours walking (last couple of km were by car as some othe nice guys gave us a ride to Mestia) and being quite destroyed was time to go back to Laila's and straight to bed. Some four or five dogs accompanied us home, of course.
All in all, the Svaneti experience was really beautiful. Landscapes are breathtaking, the few people there are nice, you make friends with all the dogs in town and you have the opportunity to go on really nice trekkings. Really reccomendable if you are looking for some relax in the mountains.
See you in the next post!