A short-cut over the mountains to the Katshki Pillar

I did not want to retrace my steps. All the transport from Ushguli went back to Mestia. But there was an alternative, a mountain pass to the city of Kutaisi and on to the Katshki column, a rather unusual church set on top of large pillar. A difficult journey, as it would be on a track built by the Georgian national electricity company erecting pylons to connect electricity to the Svaneti region, but it would also save me a day in travel time.

A rough road. Travelling from Mestia to Ushguli

Mestia is the gateway to the Svaneti region, is becoming a massive tourist town. It is clearly enjoying a boom time as hotels spring up everywhere, and construction trucks rumble by on its small roads. For me, it was just a pit stop on the way to Ushguli, only 45 km away, or 5 hours on a jarring rough road.

Ushguli. A village at the edge of Europe

Ushguli, situated at a height of 2,100 metres (6,900 feet) is the highest settlement in Europe. Isolated for most of the year, its defined by its ancient stone towers and the muddy paths joining them. A place that, except for a couple of months in summer, you will encounter more livestock than people.

Flying North to the Caucasus Mountains

One of the main reasons for me coming to Georgia was to visit Ushguli, a remote village which, at a height of 2,100 metres (6,900 feet) is one of the highest inhabited places in Europe. It is also somewhat difficult to visit, with the only road to the settlement open in the summer months.

Halfeti. Black Roses on the River Euphrates

I had managed to sprain both my ankles, not easy to do I can assure you, and it requires an expertly timed trip and a twisting fall into a roadside drain. Something a stuntman would be proud of. Unfortunately, I'm no stuntman and the pain meant I could barely walk, and could only just drive. I needed to rest up. Not far away was Halfeti, a place I had heard mentioned as being a beautiful destination on the River Euphrates.

Göbekli Tepe. The oldest temple in the world.

In the hills outside of the Turkish city of Sanliurfa lie the recently discovered remains of an ancient temple complex. So old that it predates Stonehenge by at least 6,500 years and, based on our previous understanding of the development of human civilization, it should not really exist.

Arsameia. The ancient capital of the Commagene Empire

An ancient city, over two thousand years old, with exceptional stone reliefs would normally be a major tourist attraction. The abandoned city of Arsameia in southern Turkey gets only the occassional visitor, as it totally overshadowed by the wonders of nearby Mount Nemrut (XXXX).