56 FOCUS - MAY 2018 A series of caves, developed by monks 1,500 years ago, were beautifully decorated with religious frescos. My guide had brought food and we enjoyed lunch on top of the world. A small, metal fence denoted the border between Georgia and Azerbaijan, and I crossed it several times… until I saw a heavily armed Russian outpost in the distance. On the way down we stopped at a working monastery, built into the rocks where monks live and practice their faith. All in all, the entire trip took me the better part of a day and my watch showed I had gone five km. I was tired, but would not have missed this excursion for anything. A few days later my guide explained we would be leaving the BMW and using a 4-wheel drive, as the road was a bit rough. That was an understatement, as ‘rough’ did not even begin to describe the boulders and potholes that took us to the 14th century monastery, 2,200 meters (7200 feet) above sea level, deep onto the slopes of Mount Kazbegi. Half of the vehicles in Georgia are right-hand drive, which took a little getting used to. On route to Mount Kazbegi we had a new driver, and I decided to sit up front with him. It was strange sitting on the left side of an SUV, while the driver occupied the right side. The scary part was when we drove a winding, mountainous highway for a few km at 80 or more kph, and he decided to pass two slower tractor-trailers. As soon as he veered out I saw oncoming cars, but as he sat on the right side he did not. When eventually he could see it was all he could do to swing back into his lane. This happened a dozen or so times along six km of road. I never expected to be so glad to see the rough, empty road that would take us up the mountain. The vistas were spectacular and the air had chilled, but remained comfortable. Hundreds of sheep roamed the slopes and the monastery was amazing. I dreaded the trip back, but somehow we made it in one piece. Again, another adventure I was so glad to have partaken of. I can go on about Georgia for many more pages, as the sites I visited were unique and spectacular. If you want a little adventure, see something different and enjoy a unique part of the world, visit the Eurasian country of Georgia. Georgia (continued from page 55) The monestary and caves at the top of Udabno were amazing and well worth the trek. DO YOU KNOW......... What country has 127 active volcanoes? Email me your best guess at jon@photosNtravel.com. Answer, next month. Last month’s ‘Do You Know’ was ….... What is Africa’s largest lake and second largest freshwater lake in the world? The answer is Lake Victoria, surpassed only by Lake Superior in size. The steepness of the cliffs, coupled with the small path turned a 5 km hike into a six hour adventure. One of the many coloured doors located in Georgia’s capital city of Tiblisi. A 30 minute hike took me to Gvletti Waterfall and some spectacular views. Jonathan van Bilsen is a photographer, author, columnist, keynote speaker and can be followed at photosNtravel.com