Flower children in Kakheti

Sugar Magnolia, Meghan Johnson

“Sugar magnolia, blossoms blooming, heads all empty and I don’t care”

I’ve found a cure for a heavy heart and culture shock.  It’s the combination of an old friend, unspoiled landscapes, mountain air, and wine.  Amy was my roommate at what I fondly refer to as “nerd camp” (research internship with NASA) ten years ago.  We hadn’t seen each other in many years before she came to visit this week.

Our first destination was Kakheti region, in the east of Georgia.  Think vineyards, blue skies, and green fields rolling on for miles.  Our trusted guide (and taxi driver) Khvicha first brought us to one of his favorite places in Georgia, Davit Gareji Monastery.  The 6th century monastery was carved into a rock formation in the middle of (snake-infested) nowhere, a stone’s throw from the border with Azerbaijan.

Along the way, we yelled for Khvicha to pull over and stop for photos every few minutes.  Amy squealed at the cows, I frolicked in the fields à la Julie Andrews, and Khvicha laughed at us.

Kakheti Kakheti
Nerds in Kakheti
Cows.  Teehee. Frolicking Photographing flowers
rock climbing?
David Gareji David Gareji Flower child at David Gareji David Gareji

From David Gareji, we drove on to the fairy tale town of Sighnaghi, perched on a mountain top and surrounded  by vineyards.

Kakheti blues Driving through Kakheti
Sighnaghi
Sighnaghi

We nestled into a cozy guesthouse in Sighnaghi, where we were greeted with homemade wine and the kind of balcony views that make your heart sing.  We spent the remaining hours of sunshine wandering the cobbled streets and catching up on ten years worth of of stories.

The first time I was in Sighnaghi, I discovered a restaurant and winery called Pheasant’s Tears (because the wine is good enough to make a pheasant cry), and I was determined to take Amy there.

We met with a young American who left his life in the United States to wake up before dawn and tend a vineyard and teach visitors about the historical and spiritual significance of Georgian wine.  He led us through a wine tasting in the garden behind Pheasant’s Tears and stayed around afterwards to chat and finish off a bottle of chacha.

Sighnaghi

Sighnaghi
Pheasant's Tears wine tasting Pheasant's Tears wine tasting OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I hadn’t realized how much I needed this weekend of friendship, flowers, and wine.  After four months in Georgia, I’ve spent entirely too much time in the city, dodging mad drivers and avoiding eye contact in the streets.  The countryside is where the jewels of Georgia can be found, and where I can refill my little teacup of hope until my next escape.

Next stop with Amy:  the mountains of the north.

Roses in Kakheti

47 comments

  1. Your travels are inspirational! I’m in the very early stages of saving to be able to have another grand adventure and I really enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you for the kind words, laurswan! I’m enjoying this sense of semi-permanence here in Georgia, but when I hear about other people planning travels, I get a twinge of wanderlust again. Can’t wait to hear about your next grand adventure!

  2. Pingback: Megi in Kazbegi | Soulshine Traveler

  3. E.

    Beautiful! I’ve never considered Georgia as a must-see country, but after all of your gorgeous pictures, I think I’ll have to add it to my bucket list! Hopefully I’ll be able to try their homemade wine soon 🙂

  4. Your photography is seriously stunning and you are so pretty. I adore these photos – Dare I say it, they remind me of the Welsh countryside so make me feel like I’m looking at pieces of home. 🙂

  5. Niki

    How beautiful, how serene and how colourful. Stunning pictures, Meghan. A breath of fresh air leaping right out of my screen.

  6. How beautiful! Those photos literally gave me chills and this post gave me just another reminder about how much of the world I haven’t yet seen and NEED to get out and see – thank you for the Tuesday morning inspiration! And yes – sometimes girlfriend time, wine and the countryside can be the best thing for the soul 🙂

  7. Dad

    So glad your reunion with Amy is going so well ! WOW ! What beautiful countryside. What a “long strange trip” you’re having ! Keep on truckin !!!

  8. Research internship at NASA?!? Is there anything you haven’t done? I’m jealous, impressed, and pretty much everything else.

    Glad to hear you’re feeling more upbeat. Please pass some my way.:o)

    • Haha that was many years ago. But we both did a fair job of retaining our nerdiness over the years.

      Officially sending good vibes your way. But only a few, because I’m running on a limited supply myself. 😉

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