Along the way we stopped at a roadside stand to buy some honey, and I noticed that one of our tires was going flat. We put the temporary spare tire on the car and then continued on, keeping an eye out for a tire shop. I wasn't sure what we would find since it was Sunday, but eventually we found a place that was open. The guy spoke no English, and Google Translate was no help, but through gesturing we ended up with a used replacement tire installed for the equivalent of $25. The old tire had a bulge, likely from driving on it too long while it was going flat.
Getting the tire replaced.
We took a short side trip to see the 6th century Jvari Monastery overlooking the town of Mtskheta.
The Jvari Monastery with remnants of wall
Church entry way
View of the town of Mtskheta from the Jvari Monastery
We then drove down to Mtskheta and visited Svetitkhoveli Cathedral, a medieval Eastern Orthodox cathedral dating from 1029.
By Levan Gokadze - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
It's a popular place for weddings
We then continued north on the Georgian Military Highway to the Ananuri Fortress.
Church inside fortress
As we drove north the hills turned to mountains and the "highway" narrowed and switchbacked up to the Jvari pass. It was an interesting experience - transport trucks, buses, vans & cars all trying to get to their destinations as fast as they could, generally with no regard for speed limits, passing lanes, or any other rules. But the views were amazing!
View from the Georgian Military Highway near the top of the Jvari pass.
We finally arrived in Stepantsminda (Kazbegi) and checked into our guesthouse.
View from our window