I was just having the conversation about lucky shots with a friend of me. A lucky shot can also be a great photo. This photo is my best lucky shot I made so far. This photo was made to check if my exposure settings were correct before making a family photo of a Georgian family in Tmogvi. The mother was still gathering all the family members and this kid was the only one in place yet. Without looking through the viewfinder, I made this photo.
Now this photo is featured in my house printed on aluminum.
This page contains some photos of my trips to Armenia. I hope to reach as much adventurous travelers as possible and inspire them to explore Armenia as well. Traditional media and press have been mainly writing about the issues Armenia has with bordering countries while nobody seems to know it actually has stunning scenery and a very warm hospitality. Everything you need for an memorable journey to this wonderful country.
My day-by-day travel journal for Armenia can be found here.
Don’t forget: sharing is caring 🙂
Click any photo below to start a slideshow.
I made a collection of ten photographs where not everything is as transparent as it looks.
This photo now also belongs to my ‘world in reflections‘ project.
The new library of Ghent opened the doors this weekend. Once an abandoned site now features a modern building housing the city library of Ghent. However, it’s not all about books. The Krook is also the new center of inovation, science and technology. Art and culture is also represented making ‘De Krook’ an ideal place for bringing all people together.
Below is a summary of my trip to Georgia. This include the highlights only. It exists of two circular routes with Tbilisi as midpoint. You can choose to do one route or both.
I hope this summary might inspire you while planning your trip to Georgia. If you come here without plans to visit Georgia. Well, … It’s about time to make some!
A few options here, depending on your time.
- If you are on a tight schedule, try to reach Telavi.
- Else, stay in Signaghi and visit the Lagodekhi park the next day. Sleep a second time in Signaghi (or again head to Telavi in the evening).
Arrange transport to head to Tusheti. Leave in the morning. (It over 5 hours driving!)
Make sure to talk with your driver about visiting the alaverdi monastery on your way from Telavi to Tusheti.
Stay in one of the guest houses or camp at the Green House (very obvious green guest house in lower Omalo). Make day hikes to the surrounding villages. You can catch a ride if you are lucky. But don’t trust on cars here in the mountains. Neither on electricity. You could rent a horse if you know how to ride one.
Day hike from Omalo. Stay in Dartlo or return to your guesthouse in Omalo.
Shenako – Diklo Fort
Another day hike from Omalo. Return to Omalo.
A long drive from Tusheti. You’ll probably need to change to a minibus in Telavi to second half to Tbilisi. Stay one night in Tbilisi.
If you still have time and really don’t want to stay in Tbilisi one more night. (I don’t know why, but …) head immediately to Mtskheta and stay there for the night.
Rent a car in Tbilisi. We had 4×4.
From Tbilisi head to Mtskheta. On your way make sure to visit the Jrapi church. With the best view on Mtskheta and the river. The cathedral in Mtskheta is UNESECO. Guesthouses, hotels and restaurants available in Mtskheta.
The Georgian Military Highway
A spectacular road to Stepantsminda. A few things to visit along this road.
Soviet-Georgian Friendship Memorial viewpoint
Either visit while you are on the road to Stepantsminda or visit as a day trip from Stepantsminda.
You need to leave the Military Highway and turn in a gravel road following a stream. You can walk deeper into the gorge as far as you want. But you’ll probably have to return the same way.
Again, visit while on your way to Stepantsminda or make a day trip. Also possible to stay in hotel in village Juta (at the end of Sno Valley).
To visit to Sno Valley, leave the military highway in Sno village. The only road that continues in the valley goes to Juta.
Several hikes available starting in Juta.
Very likely that your ride on the Georgia Military Highway will end here. Plenty of guest houses available here. Ideal base to visit the surrounding area. (Sea above and below.
Gergeti Trinity Church
Hike up from Stepantsminda. Wonderful location, especially if you camp in the field around the monastery and watch the sunrise.
Highest mountain in Georgia. You may want to have a closer looking taking the hiking trail starting at the Gergeti Trinity Church. You can walk without equipment to the glacier. About 3 hours (?) hiking from the church.
Return on the same Georgian Military Highway
You might want to visit one of the above highlights if not done yet on the way up. Search accomodation in either Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Gori or Khashuri (but visit the cave town near Gori on your way.
Cave town near Gori.
Vibrant small town with a lovely mineral water source and a fortress with great views over the surround land. (See the legend of the Surami Fortress)
Not very spectacular to visit the city but you might need the town for accomodation. The cathedral, that once was almost completely ruined is completely rebuild.
But more authentic and impressive are the nearby monasteries of Gelati and Motsameta. One monastery on each side of the valley. A hiking trail should connect both but I didn’t verify this path.
Alternative road to Svaneti
Only possible if you have your own 4×4 car.
See the alternative road to Svaneti:
Is this the best beach of Georgia? A bit further is Batumi, where you’ll find more services on the beach. This beach is more natural than those in Batumi.
Everything you cannot find elsewhere in Georgia, you’ll find it in Batumi.
Lack of good photographs since we got rain only in Batumi.
Rabat Fortress in Akhaltsikhe
Be aware of the gravel road from Batumi to Akhaltsikhe (although possible for normal cars also I guess) Completely renovated fortress in Akhaltsikhe.
Very likely you’ll know by now that Borjomi is famous for it’s mineral water. Bottled Borjomi water is served everywhere in Georgia. Vibrant city with nice park and the Borjomi source. Look for accomodation in Borjomi.
Borjomi national park
Make a day hike (or try a multiday hike, as the best sites of this park are more than a day hike away) in Borjomi national park.
Another cave town in Georgia, much spectacular than the one near Gori. Also the setting is more remote and so more impressive.
Last thing to do before heading back to Tbilisi (or further into Armenia) is take a dive in a bath filled with natural hot water! We found a guest house in Tmogvi (3 km before vardzia) with a few hot water baths.
Do you need more details, or you just want more?
See my full travel journal for Georgia.
The map with itinery and highlights. Click on the markers to see the name and photo.
It old started with the Catholic feast of Saint Apollonia. Saint Apollonia is the patron saint of dentists. People came on a pilgrimage to the church to heal their toothache. The people came from far away, and needed food when they arrived and finished their prayings. Since they cannot eat everything with their tootache, the locals prepared something in between a waffle and a pancake. Called ‘Geutelingen’.
They say that the geuteling confers year-long immunity to toothache.
Elst is called the village of the Geutelingen. There is a small museum where they show – only in winter – how the Geutelingen are baked in the oven. You might even get a chance to try it yourself.
The Geutelingen are only available around the feast of Saint Apollonia. Starting halfway January until beginning of March.
The ovenmuseum is located in Ommegangstraat 3 in Elst.
Definitely make a walk through the hilly surroundings of Elst while you are there. There are multiple marked trails around. We did the ‘Geutelingen trail’.
Places like these keep me going to the Ardennes again and again. This photo is taken from the lookout tower “La Roche de Saloru” where there is a panoramic view on the valley of the river Semois near the village of Membre.
The Semois valley in the Ardennes in Belgium is pretty wel known for hiking and other outdoor activities. While hiking through the valley you will often see old barns. These used to be tobacco barns. Today there are only a few families left who still produce tobacco near the Semois river. However, there products seems to be a highly qualified artisan tobacco.
Honestly, I don’t care much about tobacco but I do like these picturesque tobacco barns scattered in the beautiful valley of the Semois river. Pur Semois.