Svaneti: Land of tall towers, tall mountains

Mestia, resort town

One of many new or recently redeveloped tourist facilities in Mestia, a Georgian ski resort town.

As for our base, Mestia, this was where Svaneti tourism development was most obvious. The resort town has seen a lot of recent renovations, upgrades and overhauls. Much of the new construction in the town center is what Maia called a Georgian take on a Swiss village.

Indeed, Mestia looked the part of a mountain resort town and boasted the requisite numbers of shops, restaurants and small hotels or hostels.

There were cows in the streets, too.

Our hotel, called the Tetnuldi, was a renovated Soviet-era hotel with a great location overlooking the small town. Also, it was a three-story building with no elevators and no porters.

My room was outrageously and wastefully large without a lot to fill the excess space, except a couch. It had a balcony though, for views of the town in daylight or at night when towers were lighted up.

Oddly, the Tetnuldi did not have Wi-Fi although the hostels in town said they did.

The hotel’s designers had an odd penchant for placing undersized steps at the top or bottom of staircases or tiny drops between rooms — a little unnerving. (We encountered small, unexpected rises or drops elsewhere in Georgia, too.)

Finally, I want to mention that our guide throughout Georgia, Maia Mdivnishvili, has since founded her own tour company called We Love Georgia. She is at macamdiv@yahoo.com. The website was in the works at this writing.

Dramatic scenery in the mountains of Georgia.

This article and its photos are by Nadine Godwin, the author of Travia: The Ultimate Book of Travel Trivia, which was published by The Intrepid Traveler.

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