844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

David Gareja Monastery (Southeast Georgia)

June 21, 2010 - I jumped into a Tbilisi cab to discover that the middle-aged driver was an avid fan of Tupac Shakur. He cranked it up because he knew I was down with that shit. Although his English vocabulary consisted of about four words he managed to convey his disillusionment with the cost of obtaining a visa from the United States. I almost got the feeling he was blaming me and hoping I had the authority to make things happen. About all I can do is rhyme about it…..to keep it real…..yo.

Yesterday I ventured to an isolated group of ancient monasteries (Orthodox Georgian) skirting the border of Georgia and Azerbaijan in a southeastern section of Georgia. The area contains twelve monasteries (there is a 13
th on Azerbaijani soil) and is known as David Gareja, after a guy named David that founded the original. I visited the two most accessible and, if the guide book is correct, the two best preserved. The first is known as Lavra and is a functioning religious community with resident monks and all. Lavra is the site of the original caves used for sleeping quarters and religious contemplation. David (one of the thirteen so called Syrian fathers) brought a style of religious asceticism previously established in the Middle East.

On the hillside above and behind Lavra sit the remains of the Udabno Monastery. Along with a stupendous view of the savannah-like plains of this part of Georgia and western Azerbaijan you will find a series of caves that comprised the monastery, to include the refectory and main church. The monastery (i.e. caves) are in shambles but religious frescoes are still visible on the walls and ceilings of some of the caves. The entire monastery complex has seen its share of cycles of destruction and rebuilding as a result of countless invasions (Turks, Persians, Mongols, etc.).

"The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from a mental illness. Look at your 3 best friends. If they're ok, then it's you."   Rita Mae Brown

Technically, the border is to the left of the photographed area but you get the point.

1 comment:

  1. For all travelers and backpackers on budget going to Davit Gareji here's a good news – from April 14th a taxi will no longer be the only option to get there! A direct marshrutka called Gareji Line starts to operate everyday directly from Tbilisi city center! We hope to see you soon in magical Georgia :)


'Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.' -- Libbie Fudim