By AGNESHKA ZIELONKA
Locals fish, make delicious blue cheese and paint portraits of Rustaveli on the walls
The driver that agreed to give us a lift turned out to be a local, and told us stories about his neighbors’ and friends’ lives along the way. We traveled from Tbilisi to Javakheti, a region located in southwestern Georgia on the border with Armenia.
In order to get there, we had to pass through a village in the Tsalka region, near a beautiful lake. There are several lakes in this area, this was the first we encountered. Gloomy, abandoned Soviet era hotels and restaurants standing all along the road.
It’s about 20 kilometers to the next lake, called Paravani. This is the largest lake in Georgia, and one of the highest, located 2,000 meters above sea level. On its shore lies a little village of the same name.
Armenians and Russians live here today, and almost no one speaks Georgian in the village.