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Day thirteen - Sore heads and vertigo inducing walkways

A trip to the Okatse Canyon

sunny 28 °C

Our hotel is within walking distance of Okatse Canyon - our destination for the day. We had a great breakfast with a choice of bread, cheese, olives, pancakes with sour cream, plum jam and melon. None of our friends from the previous evening were at breakfast. I can only imagine how they were feeling this morning.

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We headed for the canyon, timing it badly as a coach party had just arrived creating a long queue. We’ve noticed that transactions take a long time in Georgia and people push in not understanding the convention of queuing. It’s a distance of about 2km to get to the Canyon and the walkway. Taxi drivers try to persuade you that the canyon is like walking to the ends of the earth and that you really need a taxi to get there. The walk was very pleasant and much nicer than bumping along a dirt road. It also means that you can slow down the pace and take things in. There are also lots of animals such as pigs foraging around. To our surprise, who should we meet running up the hill but two of the guys - one of whom had been really worse for wear last night. They looked pretty good and were running to burn off the alcohol in their systems!

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We met some lovely Georgian women from Tbilisi who were touring around to see the sights. The entry to the canyon walkway was through a turnstile - from there you descend down a lot of steps to get to the walkway. There are signs at the visitor centre warning people that it is not suitable for people who suffer from fear of heights. I can see why. The structure ‘hangs’ over the canyon held there by metal stanchions and wire suspension. The metal grating that you walk over allows you to look at the view below. I surprised myself as I have always suffered a bit from vertigo but, as long as I held the handrail, I felt safe and didn’t feel scared at all. At one point you ascend steps and the walkway is on ‘dry land’ until the platform which juts out into thin air just held there by suspension wires.

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At the point we realised that this was a one way system - we’d noticed that we didn’t pass anyone going the other way. My companions were relieved that we didn’t have to go back the way that we had come. Steep steps to the top of the canyon led to a welcome sight - a small cafe selling drinks and ice-cream. Taxi drivers tried to persuade us that we couldn’t possibly walk back and the Georgian women we met checked with their driver about a lift, too. We declined as walking is part of our holiday plans although it was very kind of them to offer.

Once we got back to the village I stopped for lunch and had cornbread and salad surrounded by hungry dogs who looked at me pleadingly. Although the cafe looked quite makeshift, the food was good and it also had WiFi. There seems to be better infrastructure here in Georgia compared to rural areas of the UK.

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The rest of the day was spent relaxing outside in the gardens, reading and relaxing until the evening meal. This time I managed to order the right thing - bean stew. It was the best I’ve had so far, slightly spicy and very thick and creamy. A few drinks - no raucous behaviour tonight as we were the only guests - and then it was time for bed..

Posted by Cath_Greig 12:40 Archived in Georgia Tagged gorge zeda_gordi okatse_canyon

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