A jour­ney through time

Joanna Lum­ley ex­pe­ri­ences both tra­di­tional and mod­ern life as she trav­els across Ge­or­gia and Azer­bai­jan…

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Joanna Lum­ley sam­ples East­ern Europe’s ex­tra­or­di­nary his­tory and its bur­geon­ing fu­ture in this week’s sec­ond leg of her Silk Road Adventure.

After ex­plor­ing thriv­ing Ge­or­gian cap­i­tal Tbil­isi, and learn­ing how it has shed its Soviet past, she trav­els to the Svaneti High­lands in the Cau­ca­sus Moun­tains. There, she ex­pe­ri­ences the tra­di­tional way of life in the re­gion by stay­ing on a re­mote farm with an el­derly, self-suf­fi­cient cou­ple.

‘This cou­ple live up there off what they grow or make them­selves, but some­times they’re stuck in­side due to seven feet of snow,’ says Joanna. ‘I’ve never gone up a moun­tain­side like that; there’s vir­tu­ally no road!’

Her­itage

Joanna then looks at the coun­try’s wine-mak­ing tra­di­tion that goes back thou­sands of years and, keen to learn more about silk man­u­fac­ture over the cen­turies, she also meets a colony of busy silk­worms who could help re­vive the coun­try’s silk in­dus­try.

‘They’re so cute!’ smiles Joanna. ‘Their life cy­cle is only some­thing like 28 days, which broke my heart.’

Head­ing into Azer­bai­jan, Joanna vis­its spec­tac­u­lar, fu­tur­is­tic sky­scrapers in the cap­i­tal city, Baku.

‘They have tow­ers shaped like flames, and the light shows are a vis­ual de­light,’ she says. ‘I’ve a fear of heights, but I climbed on one build­ing like Syd­ney Opera House – the scale of it!’

Ed­u­ca­tion… Joanna learns about Ge­or­gia’ssilk­worms (inset)

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