Former Swiss Ambassador to Georgia Lukas Beglinger settles down in Ujarma
14 May, 2019
Lukas Beglinger, a former ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia has left the homeland to live in Georgia. After serving as an ambassador for 3 years, Mr. Beglinger explored different parts of Georgia and decided to settle down in Ujarma, a village in eastern Georgia. He feels privileged to have been experiencing different countries as an ambassador, especially Georgia.

Settling down in Ujarma, Mr. Lukas has found the village and the folks very welcoming and hardworking. He is particularly impressed with the
fact that Georgian farmers still grow vegetables and fruits in a natural way, their domestic animals freely wander the pastures instead of being kept in factory farms. The former ambassador and his wife Barbara Kohler Beglinger plan to arrange vegetable and fruit gardens and to build a wine cellar in house.

Their house offers a spectacular view of the Caucasus Mountains that are covered in snow during wintertime. Fresh air, green nature, and tempting hiking paths make the whole place even more enjoyable to the newly-settlers and their two lovely cats. The Beglingers are very grateful to their friendly neighbors. Daily communication with them helps Mr. and Mrs. Beglingers pick up more and more Georgian words and phrases.
Apart from arranging their own house, The Beglingers put efforts into the popularization of Georgian wine to Switzerland. They were introduced to the local wine types such as Qvevri wine and started to export the product to their homeland. Although, at first foreigners found Qvevri wine a little bit strange, the Georgian wine’s getting more and more attention today. According to Mr. Beglinger, it is the long-standing history of the Georgian wine and the unique taste that makes it different from other well-established wine types around the world.

Besides, they believe that the Georgian tea and dry fruits have high potential to be exported to Switzerland. The Beglingers discovered that Georgians have a special attitude towards indigenous herbs that are usually used as ingredients in traditional medicine.

Despite serious challenges the Beglingers and their neighbors face in Ujarma, such as frequent water and electricity cuts, lack of infrastructure, they believe Georgia’s moving forward and hope that these problems will be solved in the near future. Mr. Beglinger talked about the abundance of sulfur waters in Georgia that are thought to have medicinal properties. According to him, there is an area with sulfur springs near Ujarma which has a potential to become a balneological resort if supported by the necessary infrastructure. He is also concerned about youngsters and their parents leaving the Georgian villages to find jobs in larger cities or abroad. Mr. Beglinger hopes this tendency will change and the number of jobs and opportunities in Georgia will rise for the youth.
With just a glimpse inside the house, one can easily notice that the Beglingers love paintings, extraordinary sculptures, and music, especially Jazz. Mr. Lukas himself plays guitar and plans to learn to play the traditional Swiss instrument Alphorn, a special gift from his wife.

Impressed with the nature of Georgia, they are particularly delighted by listening to the singing of nightingales at their veranda. Nightingales' presence is another proof for them that Ujarma is an unspoiled place where birds feel safe to dwell and sing.

Author: Eka Kiknadze

Video Courtesy: Teo Tsutskiridze

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