Vladikavkaz via Kazbegi Pass and Tbilisi to Batumi
The North Caucasus ...
... is a wild but hospitable area (famous Russian Vodka Kalashnikov)
The Dariel Gorge before Kazbegi Pass seen from the North Ossetian side near Vladikavkaz
The famous Prometheus' Mount in Kazbegi, already on the Georgian side
Luxury "Rooms Hotel Kazbegi" in Stepantsminda (Hotel foto)
On the Georgian Military Road in the middle of the Caucasus
The winding gravel road down the Georgian side at ca. 2.300m
Welcoming art in Georgia (Saint George killing the Dragon)
The view from the Radisson Hotel over beautiful Tbilisi
Places like Freedom Square (Foto: Wikipedia) or George W. Bush Avenue indicate Georgia's new geo-political direction
After a 400km drive from Tbilisi, enjoying the evening view from the Radisson Batumi's 19. floor Cloud Bar.
The Sheraton Hotel on the upper right is modeled after the Lighthouse of Alexandria.
Met Donald Rumsfeld in the elevator of the Sheraton Batumi (picture with hotel limousine) where he teaches "freedom" to Central Asian students through his foundation.
The "Tower of the Georgian Alphabet" in beautiful & booming Batumi ...
... next to the building sites for a Trump Tower, a Kempinski hotel, plus projects for a Hilton, a Holiday Inn, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (!!!). Most property developed by Azeri, Turkish & Kazakh entrepreneurs, who have a strong influence in Adjaria.
But President Saakashvili apparently also controls one hotel, the expensive but mediocre all-suite President Plaza.
Medea of Jason's Argonautes Saga with the Golden Fleece in Batumi, the antique Colchis
Our route "The Long Way Around ... The Black Sea":
9.500 kms in 11 days
Because of the warlike situations in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Kazbegi Pass (Verkhny Lars) is the only road connection between Russia and Georgia (in 2012).
Here is what the Foreign Office says:
"You should also not attempt to enter or leave Georgia via the land borders with the Russian Federation (i.e. Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia). We advise against travel to these areas of Russia (please see our Russia Travel Advice for more information). The border crossing between Russia and Georgia has reopened at Verkhny Lars for those holding a valid Russian entry-exit visa and valid passport. Russian visas are not available at the checkpoint. "
The territorial losses of Georgia: Abkhazia, South Ossetia.
Limited autonomy: Adjaria (here as Ajara).