If tourists who have visited Yedigoller Hotel were asked about their stay, the phrase most perfectly summarizing their impressions would be: “It was an experience, and it will not be repeated.”
Leaving Tbilisi at daybreak and arriving in Tao-Klarjeti one hour before midnight gives a person enough time to mentally prepare for putting cotton in their ears so that insects will not crawl in at midnight. If one gets lucky, one might even find pieces of potatoes under the heating device or befriend a mouse on their way to the shared bathroom. That is what we seniors were ready to face when we arrived at the hotel. We were all equipped with sanitizers, sleeping bags, and four days of food to survive on. Yet, numerous stories about bugs being squashed with slippers will have to be replaced by the very unexpected good review of the beloved Yedigoller Hotel.
The students were apportioned in cozy wooden cottages. Clean rooms and, sadly, no animals with countless legs to exchange conversations with. Though all of the students were exhausted due to the 13-hour bus trip, we all sat down at a table longer than the Nile and proceeded to eat what seemed to be food unappealing to most. Still, there was something very beautiful about us as a class agreeing on one thing for the first time in our 4-year-long history- the food was HORRID. Exhaustion did not stop us from engaging in endless poker games until we were greeted by the buses at 9a.m, ready for us to explore the sinking town of Yusufli.
At the gates of the small town of Yusufeli, we were informed that in a month, it would be turned into a Dam; thus, most of the former citizens were moved into another village. Our expectations were non-existent; visiting a sinking town was never a dream of ours, but we were pleasantly surprised. After scavenger-hunting for food and roaming around the two opposite streets of Yusufeli (because those were the only streets), we came across a beam of light. The so-called “Beam of light” was a small cafe, one of the few ones left open, where we were greeted by Toast-burgers (and, yes, as it turns out, such a thing exists) and live music from the managers. We danced and sang and even applauded the talented and generous musicians and left the lifeless city with the hope that we added some light and joy to it. The sinking city will always be remembered in the hearts of the class of 2023. Finally, though many of you have heard what happened after, that is a story for the next time…
Edited By: Nita Karkashadze
Journalist: Tekla Suluashvili