Friday, June 8, 2012

Kutaisi, Part 1: Promete Cave

Promete Cave, Kutaisi, Georgia.

This was the weekend to see the caves in Kutaisi!

Sandy and I  made an abortive attempt to see them in March, only to find out they wouldn't be open til April. Then May. Then the end of May.

There are at least three caves near Kutaisi open to the public. Our plan was to see all three: Sataplia, Promete, and Navenakhevi.

We'd received a lead on a new hostel, Hostel Kutaisi, which we planned to use.

Colleagues Marie and Kathy joined us for the weekend.

Promete Cave, Kutaisi, Georgia.

Getting to Kutaisi

Sandy picked up a marshrutka in Gori. Marie, Kathy, and I got one at Didube in Tbilisi. In the process, I discovered a new-to-me WC around the corner of the short strip mall adjacent to the metro entrance. CLEAN! Turkish style, but clean! 20 tetri that one popped into an automated turnstile. I also noticed a cafe that was in the last or second-to-last storefront of the strip.

We left Didube about 9:00 a.m. and arrived in Kutaisi about 12:30. We disembarked across from the McDonald's, Sandy joined us about 10 minutes later, and we enjoyed a bite to eat 'n drink. We hopped on the #1 bus to the old city center. We walked to Hostel Kutaisi, which is about 1 km from the big city-center fountain.

We selected the room with four beds, then agreed to George's request of 20 lari per cave (for our group) to ferry us and wait while we did the tours. We felt this was very worthwhile.

Promete Cave, Kutaisi, Georgia.

Promete Cave

Promete Cave, named after Prometheus, is a long cave - 1 kilometer. It's also got some really kick-ass formations. Ribbons, waterfalls, jellyfish, monsters ...

I regretted that the cave managers opted for multi-colored lights and music inside the cave. Caves are quiet except for the drip of water or the fluttering of bats' wings. That would have been so nice to hear. The almost nothing.

Unfortunately, recent rains had raised the water level inside the cave too high for the boat ride, so we didn't get to do that.

Promete Cave, Kutaisi, Georgia.

Notwithstanding these quibbles, Promete Cave was very cool. In fact, I think it may have the most diverse formations I've ever seen.

Cost was 6 lari. (The boat ride would have been an additional 7 lari.) This cave, I believe, is closed on Tuesdays, while Sataplia Cave is closed on Mondays. Or the reverse. The upshot is that if someone wants to see both caves in one day, it'll have to happen Wednesday through Sunday.

The slide show:

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