We never did take that mini-bus to Mestia.
Turns out there is a bit of a cartel running the mini-bus service to Mestia and when we were transferred from a decent mini-bus to a filthy, beat up piece of junk for a six hour drive to Mestia, we said no thanks.
Instead we took our money to a very friendly man named Jon. Jon drove an older model Mercedes as a taxi and played some pretty smooth Georgian tunes on his stereo. Most importantly of all, he didn’t drive like a maniac.
As for Mestia, it is nestled beneath the Caucaus Mountains, as shown in this photo.