At 17:15 the airplane landed and shortly before 6 o'clock we finally said hello to each other. It felt good, seeing friends from back home. We drove to the hostel, got rid of all the luggage and then went to Mikels flat, where Johannes prepared a surprise party for Theres birthday. We had an unforgettable evening together with lot of good food.
The next day we slept in and discussed about the following days, as the weather forecast for the mountains was not the best. So we spontaneously decided to drive to the east of the country and the first day we visited the monastery of David Gereja, next to the Aserbajdschanian border.
Close to the boarder we camped and we really enjoyed it, as we haven’t been sleeping in our sleeping bags for quite a while. In the morning we got woken up by a passing flock of sheep.
After the breakfast we drove to Dedopliszqaro, where we got registered in the office of the nationalpark and then decided to visit the mud volcanoes. After 2 hours of driving on bad road, we arrived at the volcanoes.
There were many small ones, they were cold, bubbles came out and on a few of them, there was a thick layer of oil. Two volcanoes were pretty big with a diameter of around 3 metres. The surrounding nature was amazing and we got the chance to observe smaller and bigger birds, a tortoise and a few lizards.
That night we slept again in our tents and the following morning we spent exploring the landscape and then drove back to Tbilisi. It looked like there would be some sunny days in the mountains, so we drove the following day in around 8 hours to Mestia.
The dinner we had in the well known restaurant Laila. The next morning we started after the breakfast to Ushguli, on a for us unknown road. After having passed the ski resort of Tetnuldi, the road became narrow, sometimes covered with snow or mud. Thanks to our good driver Johannes, everything went well. Dani was a good co-driver and helped a lot with showing the right way or putting stones on the road.
In Ushguli we were welcomed heartily by a family, which we got recommended in Mestia. The family consisted of the parents and 6 children, of which the oldest spoke very well English. Shortly after our arrival, we got fresh homemade cheese, bread and butter. And of course, the chacha was not allowed to be missing. The dinner was delicious and we got different traditional food. The breakfast the next morning was similar, fried potatoes, bread, cheese, cake...
Well fed we started to our first skitour. The snow was ok, there was even a track for walking uphill, as the region is very famous for daily tourists. The next day we spent again in the village, as it was snowing again. The oldest daughter showed us the family tower next to the house. In the evening, we packed everything for the next few days in the base camp.
After a rich breakfast we started our walk under the shining sun to the Basecamp of Schchara. After around 3 hours we arrived tired (the backpacks were heavy and the sun was burning).
We found a good sleeping place, put our tents up and started to a small tour, where we made an avalanche profile. It showed us, that it was not that save and we should not go over 30 degrees.
In the evening we cooked good food on our cooker and then went to our tents, where warm sleeping bags were waiting for us.
Unfortunately the weather was not the best the following days, but nevertheless we went skitouring and made another snow profile. On the third day, we were touring on a back of a hill, suddenly we heard a wumm and at the same time an avalanche on the right and on the left side started. Impressed we followed the left one with our eyes. The incipient crack was longer than 500 m and the avalanche went down to the bottom of the valley. After that we didn't feel anymore to go to the peak.
The following day we finished our ascent and arrived on the top. On the second last day we were again lucky with the weather and enjoyed the terrific surrounding. Unfortunately the risk of avalanches was still too high for the nicest slopes, but nevertheless we found some nice ones and left some beautiful traces.
After 5 nights we run out of food and benzine, so we went back to Ushguli. On the last morning we got woken up at 7 am, 3 young men from Ushguli started early in the morning to the mineral water spring, for drinking water and chacha, as well as having breakfast and singing loudly. We don't know, how they got back, they did not have any skins for their skis...
On the way back we had again nice and warm weather.
We had a good time in the basecamp and experienced camping in cold temperature. We noticed as well that the sun helps a lot for the motivation; despite of strong wind and some snow showers, we nearly stayed there for one week. And it was good fun.
Arriving in Ushguli, our men first had to drink some chacha with the boss of the house (at least 3 has to be drunk) and just after that got the chance for a refreshing, hot shower. The food for dinner was again delicious and as it has not been enough, more chacha, till the bottle was empty. We all were sleeping very well that night...
After a rich breakfast and saying goodbye we drove back to Mestia. The road was now in better condition and as it was still early that day, all the stones above the road were still frozen. In Mestia we stopped for a short coffee and then drove further to Zugdidi, where we bought fresh food on the market. The night we spent in our tents at the coast of the black sea, in the nationalpark of Kolkheti. In one day more than 2000 m of altitude.
The next morning we saw around 50 fishermen, although fishing is not allowed in the park. From the information centre we got the chance to observe some big birds. We went back to our car and drove towards Kutaisi. Shortly before the town, we turned left and went to the Prometheus Cave, a huge flowstone cave, which has different sections divided in colourful lightened halls.
Pretty impressed we went to search a sleeping place for the night and found one next to a road, where only one car an hour passed. In the evening some sheep passed and we made a huge campfire.
Unfortunately, the next morning it was raining a little bit, but we still stopped in Kutaisi for walking over the big market. The next stop was Borjomi, where we knew there is a hot spring. As we were on the place, we were astonished. Despite the rainy weather, there were many tourists on the place, some of them even in the water. We first ate something and were already freezing. Finally we went into the water, which was around 30 degrees warm.
Getting out of the water, cost some effort, as the air temperature was less then 10 degrees. Because of trash laying around everywhere and the rainy and cold weather, we decided all together to spend one night in a hotel.
As we got up the following day, snow was laying on the roofs. We left Borjomi through rain and snow showers. The next stop was a bit out of Gori, in Uplistsikhe, an old town in caves.
After a walk through it, we drove to Tbilisi, where we stayed in the same hostel. In the evening we cooked Spätzli with a lot of salad and as dessert crêpes with chocolate. Well fed we went sleeping and the next day we went exploring the capital, from the botanical garden to the big markets.
In the evening we went to a good, Georgian restaurant and the next morning, we packed all our things. Rita and Dani went again to the city centre and in the afternoon, we drove all together to the airport.
We had a really good time with you and finally we got the chance to use our camping equipment. We wish you all the best for the next half year and afterwards, they will start as well a trip around the world with their bikes. And who knows, where we will meet next...