Sardioni lives an hours walk from the touristy town of Mestia. He sells khachapuri, matzoon, tea and coffee for the travellers in his small stone house. Being very close to Mestia and not having a presentable place, it seemed not many stopped here for a break. Both of us not speaking each others language, we barely had a conversation. But he managed to tell me proudly that he’s adding a second floor to his humble house. He also offered me some berries grown in his garden. When I asked if I could photograph him, he wore his cap and this is how he decided to pose.

8am: Girl diligently washes dishes in the kitchen as her brother watches aimlessly the travelers pass by. His younger sister plays with the baby on the couch in front of me almost making it cry as her kid brother runs around the house trying to get attention. I have homemade bread and khachapuri before starting a long day of hike.

The mother-daughter duo own a guest house, where I stayed for a night, and the taxi company, which shuttles passengers between Kutaisi, Tbilisi, Batumi and Mestia. I don’t know the extent of their ownership, but was a welcome scene to watch them stand tough in the male dominated town square.

Harade, Tima and Zagade (I’m sure I got their names wrong) excited to sell me tea and cold drinks.

I stopped by this construction site for water. I heard someone sing “Mera joota hai Japani..” seeing me. Curious, I walked in and saw these men taking a break from work. After few smiles and handshakes, they offered me a smoke, which I declined. A guy walked up to me and handed me insistently a folded piece of paper with tobacco in it as a gift.

The ladies of Svaneti

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