Sunday, 29 August 2010

Why the Lesser Caucuses and Macahel ?

This site is the result of a number of journeys I’ve undertaken with my family while travelling across mountainous regions in Eastern Europe and the Himalayas.

If it's just pictures of Macahel you are after, scroll down or navigate to section Camili - the main village in Macahel and beyond.

Our wild adventures started while my daughters were young, riding in Transylvania in the Carpathian Mountains. Inspired by this gripping experience, we took a trip to ride across the Balkans in Bulgaria. These trips prepared us for our most exciting trip, riding through the Caucuses in Tusheti/ Georgia on the boarders of Chechnya and Dagestan. Discovering Tusheti on horseback proved to be a life changing experience for all of us and we repeated the trip in 2008 when found ourselves embroiled in a war zone as Russia attempted to take control of South Ossetia from the ever-resilient Georgians.
Buoyed up by our Georgian experience we travelled in the winter of 2008 to the Chinese province of Yunnan in the Himalayas, living with ethnic tribes and travelling by minivan and mules. China was to be our final trip as a complete family. Our eldest daughter started out on her own amazing adventures in 2009/10 travelling through Turkey, Georgia, India and Nepal. Perhaps there's something in the water.

Our time in Tusheti inspired us as a family encouraging me to discover more about the Lesser Caucuses in Southern Georgia running down the border into Northeast Turkey. This region had been ruled by the Georgians until the late 15th century and held a magical lure for me and my wife. However our youngest daughter was thoroughly fed up with mountains, horses and what appeared to be the only type of holiday she was ever likely to experience. With this in mind we teamed up with some old friends and their youngest daughter. My thinking was the combination of great friends with a different perspective on the world might act as the antidote to her irresponsible parents. Well it was worth a try.

This account of our final adventure as a now diminished family unit before our youngest flees to experience the world for herself is a sort of introduction to the little know world of Macahel, which we travelled through over a period of ten days in the summer of 2010. Macahel is an exceptional place tucked away in the Lesser Caucuses. Half Georgian half Turkish, it is only accessible with a permit provided by the local authorities and regarded by some as one of the most exceptional regions in Eastern Turkey.

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