I woke up at 09:00 today, showered, dressed for the cold weather, and then, upon seeing there had been fresh snowfall from last night, decided not to hit the ski slopes today, but to instead hike around town and the northern mountains to take photographs of this fantastic winter wonderland before it all melted (. . . and melt it did! By the end of the day, it was all but gone, returning to the state it had been in when I arrived yesterday). I then grabbed my tripod and camera and walked outside. The tree branches were all layered in snow and most of the ground was covered. I walked east on the main road and then took a side road north (the same I had taken yesterday when I wandered around); I then walked uphill, on the snowy and muddy trail, out of the city, and out of the farmland. I reached one of the trails to the viewpoint north of the city and followed it up the mountainside. I was loving every minute of this hike and the forest and mountains looked so serene and unadulterated with the freshly fallen snow and with no footprints laid out on the trail before me. I hiked along the trail for an hour or so before coming to where a small avalanche had occurred; chunks of ice had fallen and blocked the trail; I contemplated hiking through or over, but decided against it since I wasn’t sure how stable the ground would be; also, the snow on the trail had been getting deeper; so I thought it best to turn around and hike back in to town to eat lunch and buy some much needed sunblock. I returned to Mestia and already large swaths of snow had melted on the farmland north of the town. As I hiked toward the main avenue that cuts through the town, I decided to take a detour to one of the many medieval towers found in Mestia; I walked to the tower I had walked by yesterday evening – one that I observed had its door open; I figured, if I found the door still open, I would explore the tower’s insides; sure enough, the door was open, no one was around, and fortune favors the bold; so, I entered inside and climbed the wooden steps and ladders up through each level – all five of them – to the topmost (sixth) level; at the highest level, there was a ladder that led up to the roof; so I climbed it and poked my head out through the opening to take some photographs; I then returned to the bottom level and exited the tower; as far as I know, no one noticed me and I had done the tower no harm. I then walked along the main avenue, bought some sunblock at the local pharmacy, and then ate lunch at a restaurant nearby. For lunch, I had a chicken salad, mashed potatoes with cheese, water, and beer – I desperately needed the water after having nothing today and very little yesterday to drink (another reason to have cut my hike short). After lunch, I applied the sunblock and then walked to the other trail that leads to the viewpoint in the mountains north of Mestia. To reach this trail, I followed a creek, stepping on stones and sometimes trash, trying to keep my shoes dry as possible – since wooden fences flanked both sides of the creek, I had no choice but to walk through it most of the time. Once the fence line ended on my left, I reached dryish land and followed alongside the creek, trying to find the established trail; this task proved difficult thanks to the many, many established cattle trails in the area. I crossed the creek and reached a trail that looked manmade; I then followed this trail until it dissipated and became indistinguishable from the other cattle trails. I then hiked uphill leaving all trails behind in the hopes that I would reach THE trail, but all I reached were thorny shrubs. I decided to head back and try to find the trail at the edge of the town; so, I walked on many steep and slippery cattle trails before coming back to the edge of town and soon I spotted the established hiking trail. I followed this trail up the mountainside and through much mud and snow. This trail was steeper than the one I had hiked on before lunch and I found myself slipping far too often; also, much of the snow from last night had melted and the woods lost their allure from before. I continued on the trail for some time, but once I really started to have trouble keeping a sturdy foothold in the melting snow, I decided it was not worth continuing up the mountainside. I would have to be content with the viewpoints I had had up to this point (which are probably just as good . . . at least that’s what I’ll tell myself). I hiked back the way I came and then took a side trail to the left (or east) and walked back toward the trailhead I had started out on this morning, before lunch. I then reached the trail I had hiked on earlier and was surprised to see just how much snow had melted in the course of six hours (the winter wonderland was no more). I then returned to the town, bought some water (Borjomi – Georgian mineral water which has a natural sparkle), juice, and biscuits, and then returned to my hotel room, where I had some coffee, as well as the juice, and biscuits. While in my room, I typed out some journal entries and listened to music. Then, after 20:00, I walked out in to the night and to Seti Square, where I entered in to a warm restaurant to eat dinner. For dinner, I had ojakhuri (potatoes with pieces of pork, fried with onions, garlic, and white wine), kupati (Svanetian homemade pork sausage), and Georgian beer. After my splendid meal, I walked back to the hotel and encountered the Polish man I had ridden in to Mestia with yesterday; he ended up at the guesthouse right next to the one I was staying at; after talking with him a short while between our two guesthouses (and also while petting another friendly dog), I decided to accompany him for a short walk across the river where he was taking nighttime photographs of the lit-up towers; we talked some more and he showed me the posh hotel with a helipad and helicopter that is used to take the well-to-do heli-skiing. I had watched this helicopter fly back and forth, peak to peak, across the valley throughout the day, during my trekking in the woods; I wasn’t sure what its purpose was then and each time it flew by, I instinctively sought shelter under nearby trees (that’s the John Rambo instinct in me); I had no idea heli-skiing existed in this part of the world. After the Polish man took a number of photographs, we returned back to the guesthouses, gave our good-lucks and goodbyes, and then I returned to my room, where I got back to work on journal entries while drinking the Borjomi water and cups of Georgian tea (yes, they grow tea in this country as well – something I first learned through several paintings in the National Gallery in Tbilisi – this country is awesome). I then went to sleep after midnight.