Abkhazia in one day ... Is it worth it or not? So we thought, sitting in a camping on the seashore near the village of Lazarevskoye. A one-day excursion cost quite decently compared to an independent visit, and we got used to driving ourselves somehow. But there was little time, and it was decided to go! I really wanted to look at the beauty of Abkhazia, and compare what is now with my childhood memories of the 80s.
Report on a trip with an excursion to Abkhazia in one day: Pitsunda, Lake Ritsa, New Athos
The excursion involved visiting Pitsunda, Lake Ritsa, New Athos (New Athos caves and New Athos monastery). To be honest, I am not a fan of temples, museums and other things. Therefore, I was primarily interested in the views from the bus and Pitsunda, I wanted to see what had changed. My wife was interested in everything, she had never been to this mountainous republic. Of course, in order to soak up the atmosphere of the place, you have to go there not in a sightseeing bus, and not in one day. But this is already another time.
We left at 5 am from Lazarevskoye, a few hours to the border of Abkhazia, not far. The way there we were brightened up with stories told by our local guide from Sochi. It took about an hour to cross the border. Organized excursions skip quickly. Although independent travelers are not detained either. The border with Abkhazia is rather arbitrary. Immediately after the border point, a local guide sat down to us and broadcast almost all the way, and quite interesting, although now almost nothing is left in my head from this information. I remember that the prices of rooms in newly built boarding houses were called, and I did not like them. The private sector in Abkhazia, I think, will be much more budgetary.
The views from the bus are mesmerizing. On the one side there is the sea and a rusty railway with dilapidated stations, on the other side there are beautiful mountains covered with forests. There are abandoned houses without glass everywhere. In the land of devastation ...
It's a shame, such a picturesque country, and this is happening in it. Gagra flashed outside the window, too, everything is desolate. The buildings are shabby, thank God that the arboretum in Gagra has survived, but nature takes its toll, trees destroy the asphalt, vines braid the buildings. More photo of Abkhazia.
We arrive in Pitsunda - the same picture: cracked tiles on the embankment, the sea shore overgrown with grass, littered with branches thrown ashore.
The buildings of the boarding house apparently have not been repaired for a long time either, some of the buildings are generally closed. You look at this and think how short-lived the creations of human hands. A stunning picture, another couple of decades, and there will be a jungle.
There are not many vacationers, but this is good, after the overcrowded metropolis, the very thing! In Sochi and nearby villages, you will definitely not be able to rest from crowds of people, for example, on the beach there you can only sunbathe while standing. And why so many people travel as seals to the Black Sea, it is better to go to Turkey to sunbathe. Give savages rest on the Black Sea! In general, it makes sense to go to Abkhazia for a quiet, quiet rest, with family and children. There is nowhere much to hang out here, probably because of this we liked it here even more. Indeed, instead of a cafe, you can see a large number of natural beauties and for little money.
There are few local residents in Abkhazia, they live poorly, and therefore they try to earn as much money as possible during the tourist season, since there is practically no work there. But prices in Abkhazia are still much lower than on the Russian coast, and the private sector, and local food, and excursions. And their attitude towards visitors is very good..
The next point is Lake Ritsa. Unfortunately, the guide took only an hour to Pitsunda to catch the rest. The road to the lake ran among the mountains, in a beautiful gorge, along the Bzyb river.
On the way, you can buy Abkhazian honey and achma ... Delicious things. As we understood, each guide has an agreement with certain points of sale of food and cafes, so the bus stops only near them, and we are told: they say, it is dangerous to eat in other places. Competition! Although you really need to be more careful with food, for example, at the market near Blue Lake, which along the way, baklava and achma, turned out to be the same age as my grandmother, and could compete with bricks in hardness.
Lake Ritsa is a large lake surrounded by high mountains, and many legends are associated with it. On the opposite bank is Stalin's dacha.
Then we came to New Athos, to the monastery and caves. There are many people at the ticket offices in the New Athos Caves, but they missed us as a skip-the-line tour. We forgot to buy a coupon for photographing, but no one subsequently checked us. We entered the hall, decorated with granite, with Abkhazian panels on the walls, here we are waiting for the local metro - small and rattling wagons that take tourists to the cave and back. In the cave about +10 degrees, it's good that they took warm clothes. It seems to me that the interior decoration of such caves is similar to one another. Before that, I went to the Azish cave in Adygea, and I saw about the same thing: stalactites, stalagmites, stalagnates. And photos in the dark don't turn out well.
The New Athos Monastery is located on a hill and there you need to go up the hill, so for lazy pilgrims, the locals organized a transfer - «comfortable» a Soviet-era truck with seats in the back, it takes 5 minutes to go. The monastery building is being renovated, half of the work has already been done. Inside the temple, on high vaults, traces of bullets.
Right there, in Novy Afon, we were all fed in a cafe. We didn’t feel like mamalyga (a national dish), maybe we need to eat it with something ...
We slept on the way back, but it is exhausting to visit so many places in a hurry. We definitely want now to return to Abkhazia for rest, but for a longer time, and on our own, to plunge into the atmosphere of this fabulous country and enjoy its natural beauty.
By the way, we asked the guide about hiking tours in the mountains of Abkhazia, and so, she strongly recommended not to do this, only if with a well-known local guide. Reinsured?