On September 1 Georgia will restrict drone flying – one of the last countries to do so. When I heard the news I grabbed my quadcopter & went on a 2 week road-trip to shoot aerial photos while the skies were still free. All Photos: © Amos Chapple/RFE/RL
#1 A Break In The Clouds During A Stormy Morning In Juta Village
High in the mountains of Mtskheta-Mtianeti.
#2 The Road Up To Tusheti – Pretty Damn Harrowing
The day before I drove up, one of the locals of Omalo village toppled off the road to his death.
#3 A Memorial On The Road Up To Tusheti
They were so common on this road I thought they were distance markers.
#4 A Shepherd Leads His Flock Alongside A River In Tusheti
The river ran loud enough to drown out the noise of the 4-kilogram Inspire 2 drone used to shoot these pics.
#5 Gremi Castle Spotlit In Morning Sunlight
#6 Morning Mist Drifts Over A Small Church Near Ukhati Along The North-south Georgian Military Highway
#7 Mother Georgia Above Tbilisi, The Nation’s Capital
The aluminum monument (which looks a lot better from the back than the front) has a sword ready for enemies, but a bowl of wine ready for friends.
#8 One Of The Treats Of Driving Georgia Are The Homemade Goodies Being Sold Roadside
These are churchkelis, made by dipping a string of walnuts into a gooey mixture of grape juice. Looks like earwax, tastes like heaven.
#9 Me On The Abano Pass, About To Discover My Bald Spot
#10 The Shavnabada Monastery, Near Tbilisi
Looking like a little slice of Tuscany in the evening sunlight.
Another of Georgia’s little treats for drivers are the roadside springs spurting out crisp, cold springwater. They’re so frequent I hardly had to buy any drinks.
#12 Crypts On A Clifftop 1 Kilometer From The Border With Chechnya
When plagues swept through the region, infected villagers were banished to these stone buildings to wait for death.
Inside, the remains of apparent plague victims can still be seen today.
#14 The Nekresi Monastery
The fertile plains of Kakheti are in background.
#15 Gas Station Attandant In Adjara, The Muslim Region Of Georgia
#16 Not All Of Georgia Is Postcard-pretty
This is the hardscrabble town of Chiatura, where manganese is mined.
#17 A Cable Car In Chiatura
The town’s dizzying geography inspired Soviet engineers to install a network of "rope roads" to transport workers up to their mines. This cable car has been running since 1954.
#18 Clouds Swirling Around A Teensy Church In Adjara
#19 The Katskhi Pillar, Where An Elderly Georgian Monk Has Lived For The Past 24 Years In Order To Be "closer To God"
The monk has his food winched up by volunteers from the monastery below.
#20 The City Of Batumi At Sunset
After a bitter separatist war in Abkhazia in the early 90s, Batumi, with murkier water and less appealing beaches than the breakaway region to the north, has gone all out to attract tourism with casinos and high-rise buildings.
#21 If You Like Crowds, Cars & Sizzling-hot Concrete, Batumi Is For You: 4/10
#22 Turning Away From The Neon And Nightclubs
The quiet hills around Batumi’s Convent Of The Holy Trinity.
#23 Sheep Stream Into The Morning Sunlight After Being Released From Their Corral In Tusheti
Sheep in the highlands of Georgia are penned in overnight while two or three fearsome Caucasian shepherd dogs prowl the perimeter to protect the flock from wolves.
#24 Georgia Is Beautiful, It's Also Grindingly Poor
This is a spot on one of the highways where it’s some kind of tradition for drivers to toss coins out their window -- a whole squad of people, with magnets on sticks, race to scoop up the coins.
#25 Uplistsikhe, An Abandoned Rock-hewn Town In The Central Kartli Region
It was of one of the earliest settlements in Georgia.
#26 The Village Of Shenako
Pretty to look at, horrifying to drive to. #slipperymountainroads
#27 The Jvari Monastery Glowing In The First Light Of Day
Beneath the monastery lies the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, and Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia.
#28 Georgia’s Parliament Building In Kutaisi
The odd-looking structure (my wife described it as looking like “a dead snake on a rock”) was built on the site of a Word War II memorial. During the demolition of the memorial, a woman and her eight-year old daughter were killed by chunks of flying concrete.
I don’t know if that’s skin or not. I’ll upload the full res version of this if there’s enough interest in the post.
#30 Most Georgian Wine Is The Colour Of Thirsty-man Urine...
and tastes… meh.
#31 The Last Light Of Day Catches The Houses Of Ukhati, On The Georgian Military Highway
#32 Shepherds Drive Their Herd Into The Hills Near Gori
#33 Strange Fruit Grow On Georgian Trees
These are traditional woolen hats, worn by mountain people of the Caucasus, up for sale on the side of the road.
#34 Ancient Defensive Towers Sprout From The Top Of The Village Of Omalo In Tusheti
#36 The Monolithic Holy Trinity Cathedral Looming Over Tbilisi
A glorious plunge into a mountain stream after hours hot, harrowing Cliffside 4WDing near the end of the trip.