Difference between revisions of "Mestia"

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'''Mestia''' is a city in the Svaneti region of [[Georgia]].
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'''Mestia''' is a small town in [[Georgia]], the capital of the [[Svaneti]] region.
  
Hitching to Mestia is an ordeal! Start early. Give yourself a lot of time because even with a ride the road conditions make the drive a long and bumpy one. There are two ways to get into Svaneti - the western approach beginning in Zugdidi and the eastern approach most likely beginning in Kutaisi. The western approach into the higher elevations of Svaneti is the more traveled by cars. It is supposedly the better cared-for road (even though you wouldn't believe it when you ride on it).  
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Mestia is not a large town and can be walked out of easily. It has the major Svaneti road running through it. It also has a road that splits off to the north toward the border with [[Russia]] (closed now for many years) and a trekking trail to the Lekhziri glacier.
  
==The Western Approach==
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== Hitchhiking out ==
  
This road travels through Zugdidi, Jvari, Khaishi, Dizi, and a slew of small villages before you get to the administrative capital of Upper Svaneti region - Mestia.
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Mestia can easily be walked out of to get onto the [[Svaneti]] road. If you watch the road markers you can make sure you are heading the right direction. The markers are skinny white poles with two square blue plaques declaring the kilometer distances to the ends of the road. If the number facing you is around 140 then you are heading to [[Ushguli]] and [[Lentekhi]]. If it is around 65 then you are heading to [[Zugdidi]].
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[[File:spotmestia.jpg|400px|thumb|left|The petrol station at the end of Mestia towards Zugdidi. Traffic could be better, surroundings almost not]]
  
Zugdidi is a large town by Georgian standards. When heading to Mestia you will need to walk north out of town, past the mashrudtka station that is west of the city square and near the medieval-looking tower. After walking the gauntlet of taxi and mashrudtka drivers you need to keep walking for another kilometer or so through a residential area. The road will dead-end and you will turn left and walk on and over an overpass until you see the road sign for Mestia (136 km) pointing you to the right (north again). This is the road that travels all the way through Svaneti and back down to Kutaisi. Once you start walking north on this road, any place to begin hitching is as good as the next.  
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More traffic seems to leave Mestia for [[Zugdidi]] in the mornings than the evenings. People making day trips into [[Zugdidi]] leave early to traverse the mountain road and make it back up before dark.  
  
The traffic that travels this road makes it a little difficult to catch a ride. Many of the cars are stuffed with people because going between cities and villages in Svaneti is a whole day's outing. As with most places in Georgia, a little knowledge of Russian or Georgian is helpful, but not necessary. If breaking the ride up into segments is necessary, the larger towns on the road are Jvari, Khaishi and Mestia.  
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On the way to [[Ushguli]] there are some other settlements, it's not a totally deserted road. However the traffic is lower than to the west, it is possible to hitch there within half a day. Road is poor and only jeeps or SUVs can cross.
  
The road between Zugdidi and Khaishi is mostly paved with numerous rough sections. The road north of Khaishi is much more rough with some sections still being constructed. Even with the road in such poor conditions, all kinds of vehicles still make the trip. Cars, SUVs, vans, lumber trucks and marshrudtkas all slowly crawl along.
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== Sleeping ==
  
==The Eastern Approach==
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The inhabitants of Mestia have become accustomed to the tourism economy and staying in local people's homes for free is not common (the traditional Georgian hospitality of the lowlands does not exist here). Homestays are expensive, at least 15-20 lari/night. Camping is possible outside the centre of the village, but ensure you have proper cold weather gear if camping in winter.
  
This approach travels through the cities of Tskaltubo, Lentekhi, ....
 
  
More information needed
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== Nomadwiki & Trashwiki ==
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{{nomadwiki}}
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{{IsIn|Svaneti}}
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[[Category:Georgia]]

Latest revision as of 12:37, 4 February 2021

Mestia is a small town in Georgia, the capital of the Svaneti region.

Mestia is not a large town and can be walked out of easily. It has the major Svaneti road running through it. It also has a road that splits off to the north toward the border with Russia (closed now for many years) and a trekking trail to the Lekhziri glacier.

Hitchhiking out

Mestia can easily be walked out of to get onto the Svaneti road. If you watch the road markers you can make sure you are heading the right direction. The markers are skinny white poles with two square blue plaques declaring the kilometer distances to the ends of the road. If the number facing you is around 140 then you are heading to Ushguli and Lentekhi. If it is around 65 then you are heading to Zugdidi.

File:Spotmestia.jpg
The petrol station at the end of Mestia towards Zugdidi. Traffic could be better, surroundings almost not

More traffic seems to leave Mestia for Zugdidi in the mornings than the evenings. People making day trips into Zugdidi leave early to traverse the mountain road and make it back up before dark.

On the way to Ushguli there are some other settlements, it's not a totally deserted road. However the traffic is lower than to the west, it is possible to hitch there within half a day. Road is poor and only jeeps or SUVs can cross.

Sleeping

The inhabitants of Mestia have become accustomed to the tourism economy and staying in local people's homes for free is not common (the traditional Georgian hospitality of the lowlands does not exist here). Homestays are expensive, at least 15-20 lari/night. Camping is possible outside the centre of the village, but ensure you have proper cold weather gear if camping in winter.


Nomadwiki & Trashwiki

Check Nomadwiki for info on accommodation, showers etc. or Trashwiki for dumpsters...and share your wisdom :)