Thursday, January 30, 2014

Skiing in Bakuriani

The Saturday before MLK day, we left Gabriel with the nanny and drove to Bakuriani, a ski resort 2.5 hours west of Tbilisi.  Bakuriani is known as the more child-friendly ski area in Georgia, and unlike Gudauri (which is a bit closer), Bakuriani actually had snow.

There are two separate ski areas in Bakuriani - the bunny hill, which features a one-passenger ski lift and a rope tow - and the larger adult area with a gondola and lifts.  We stuck to the bunny hills.  Jeremy and the girls had skis borrowed from friends, and I rented a set from a guy at the bottom of the hill for about $3/hour.

Turns out, we could have brought Gabriel.  They had strollers on skis for rent.

Or perhaps he would have preferred a rocking horse on skis?

So Jeremy and I decided we'd each go up with a girl.  The problem was the lack of two-person lifts.  To go up, we had to use the rope tow - that thing with the disk attached to it, where you sit on the disk. Only we had to sit on the disk, use one hand to hold on to the rope, and the other to hold up a kid.

Yeah, it wasn't pretty.  Natasha and I fell on our first try.  I will say she was a trooper when we finally got going; I had a vise grip on her, around her armpits, and it could not have been comfortable.

When we got to the top of the hill, I realized that perhaps it was unwise not to do at least one test run by myself first.  After all, the last time I went skiing, I was pregnant with Natasha but did not know it yet.  That was awhile ago.

So I positioned myself in snow plow, with Natasha between my legs, but I just could not get going.  Later I figured out that those $3/hour skis were not waxed, or rough-bottomed, or something.  Anyway, Jeremy ended up having to go down with Zoia, then take off his skis and walk back up to get Natasha.  

I skied down to Zoia and got her up, then we actually got going.  The only proof I have is this crummy picture from Jeremy's Blackberry.  Note the armpit stranglehold.  Yeah, I'm not a good enough skier to teach someone else how to ski.

When we got to the bottom of the hill, I asked Z if she wanted to do that again.  She didn't.  Phew.  Neither did I.  We hung out at the (very overpriced) cafe and had tea and juice while J and N did a few more runs.

We bought Natasha an apres-ski cream horn.

Then we found a restaurant and had lunch, including spicy and delicious "Mexican potatoes" and chkmeruli, which is one of my favorite Georgian dishes.

Chkmeruli seems to come slightly differently every place I order it, but it is always made of chicken and always has lots of garlic.  The best varieties, like this one, come swimming in a bowl of delicious and surely fattening sauce.  This one tasted like it had yogurt in it.  I really need to do a post about Georgian food.

On the way home we stopped for some Georgian fruit roll-ups (hanging on a rope at the top of the photo).

The woman tried to sell me some pine cone jam - really, there were tiny pine cones in it.  I should have bought some just to taste it.

And then we drove home.  The crazy wealth juxtapositions in Georgia never cease to amaze me.  We drive through villages like this:

And then stop at rest stops like this (which contains a grocery store and clean bathrooms!):

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