Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 2 - Gori and Uplistsikhe Cave City

On Friday morning we woke up early - although not as early as we had originally planned because someone was a sleepyhead ;) - and headed to one of the main points of departure of marshrutki (mini-buses).  After being slightly harassed by the taxi driver trying to talk us into hiring him to drive us for the day, we found the marshrutka headed to Gori.  Gori isn't such a big town at all, but it is famous as the hometown of Joseph Stalin.  We were able to see his childhood home, which is preserved in its original location.  Behind the home sits the museum to Stalin which the city built and his personal train car.  We toured the home, museum, and train car.  To be honest, the museum wasn't anything terribly special, but I was glad that we went nonetheless.  After the museum we grabbed lunch at a cafe near the museum and yet again found way too much food in front of us.
With fully bellies, our next stop was Uplistsikhe Cave City A marshrutka to the actual site doesn't exist, but we were able to find a marshrutka which would take us to the village across the river. We found that is usually worked best throughout the trip if I instead of Mario asked when we needed directions.  I mean, what old guy marshrutka driver is going to be mean to a little Russian-speaking foreign girl? In many cases they even walked us directly to the marshrutka we needed to pointed things out directly on our map.  If the person we asked happened to not speak Russian, they right away knew someone who did and called them over.  Overall, the people in both Georgia and Armenia were incredibly kind and helpful!
Anyhow, we found the marshrutka and the driver let us know at which stop to get off.  We then just had a short walk to the site of the cave city, which we didn't mind one bit considering the amazing views all around us and the unbeatable weather.  The cave city was fun and we spent a good amount of time just climbing around and taking pictures.  It was extremely windy and we were blown every which way. One funny thing was that we saw the very same taxi driver who had been trying to talk us into hiring him at the cave city with other tourists! Ha!
On the way back to Gori from the cave city we caught a random marshrutka which stopped for us while we were walking through the village.  I didn't actually think it was going to Gori based on the sign in the window, but we were in luck! Back in Gori we bought some water and some ice cream and then easily found the soonest departing marshrutka back to Tbilisi.  In Tbilisi we first went to the main train station in search of marshrutki headed to Yerevan the next day and then got pastries and coffee at a cafe nearby.  We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and finishing the film which we started the night before and packing up the things we needed for a couple of days in Yerevan.


Heading out of Tbilisi

Gori, Georgia

Birthplace of Stalin

Here was born on the 21st of December 1879 and spent his childhood until 1883 I.V. Stalin

The Stalin Face

My Oh No Stalin! Face


Inside the museum

Inside of the house where Stalin was born

Inside of the house where Stalin was born

Stalin's personal quarters in his private train car

The meeting room in Stalin's train car

Stalin's train car which we traveled everywhere in because he was afraid of flying

Bridge from the village to the cave city

Secret passage tunnel

Views from the cave city

Remains of Uplistsikhe Cave City

Tourist shot!

Might have been a good day to have the hair tied back!

stuck in a hole ;)

Mario stuck in a hole!

self-timer attempt...closed eyes!



Headed back to the village

Our marshrutka back to Gori

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