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Abercromby, John / A trip through the eastern Caucasus

A trip through the eastern Caucasus: chapter I: from Tiflis to Nukha,   pp. [1]-29

Page 7

the left and took a northerly direction. The scenery 
began to get more interesting and rugged. We crossed 
a ridge of hills; soon were following down a narrow 
valley with steep wooded sides, and passed flocks of 
sheep watched by savage dogs and wild-looking boys. 
At length a welcome sight burst upon us-the main 
chain of the Eastern Caucasus. There it stood like a 
snow-streaked, jagged wall of pale, almost diaphanous, 
violet gray hue, not much darker in tone than the 
pale blue sky above it. If at any period of the year 
it presents terrors to those seeking to cross it, now it 
seemed to have none. It looked more like a thin veil 
between Asia and Europe that could be lifted without 
an effort. 
Following the valley we descended to Bakurchikh. 
Now we were in the centre of Kakheti, where the best 
wine in Georgia is made; a smiling, rich, and populous 
country, very different from the barren plain outside 
Tiflis. It reminded me of Tuscany. Here figs, pome- 
granates, mulberries, walnuts, and vines grow in rich 
profusion. Everywhere houses and villages are dotted 
over the landscape. Enormous earthenware pots, as 
much as a yoke of oxen can draw, were standing near 
the houses. They use them for keeping wine in. 
The Georgians are great wine-drinkers, and no doubt 
all travellers are told, as I was, the story of a man 
whose daily allowance was one vedro, or fifteen bottles. 
By taking the road we did we avoided the fortress of 
Signakh altogether. It lay on the hill to our right. 
On the left was a fine fertile, well-cultivated plain, 
that stretched as far as the foot of the main chain 

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