A drink (or three) for the road


I open my eyes, a little groggy after 3 very large shots of the local brew, cha cha they call it. At least 40 or 50% alcohol, the stuff is potent. Somehow, drinking this has become a deeply ingrained part of Georgian culture. As I climb out of my tent, I am met with a cows horn full for the road. I politely decline and manage, this time to, to avoid a drunken start to the day. Less than an hour later, we are called into a small office my the security guard\, he has pulled out every scrap of food he has in the place for use, with hands waving and a few basic words, we understand that we are guests from God and eat a few things with him, shortly after, we are each poured large shots of vodka from a brown plastic bottle. We ride on... From this point on, I find the words for alcohol and allergic and manage to use them on many occasions to avoid early morning drinking sessions with farmers, cow herders, passing drivers and local drunks. The food, on the other hand is exceptional. Homemade breads filled with fresh cheeses and meat are a staple that you can find everywhere. Vegetarian options abound and no one looks at you strangely if you don't eat meat. An amazing range of dishes appear made with mushrooms, eggplant, tomato, cucumber and onion, always spiced to perfection. This is certainly a country where you won't go hungry.