Round trip in Georgia

After one week staying at the monks place, we went for relaxing to Kazkhi to the climbing house, where we met again Anna and Maryam. Later Guga came with a guest and a couple from Switzerland joined as well. During the day we all went climbing together and in the evening cooked nice dinners, as now the time started to get fresh vegetables on the market. Johannes bolted a new line in Chiatura, which we named after our friend Nika (from the monks) "Bomba".

Johannes beim Bolten von "Bombe 6a+"
Johannes bolting “Bomba 6a+”
Ausblick vom Klettergebiet über die Manganminen-Stadt Chiatura
View from the climbing area over the manganese mining city Chiatura

On the day, the Swiss couple went back to Tbilisi, other 4 travellers joined us in the house and we spent a nice evening all together. The next day we packed our Black Flash with different hiking and camping gear, as our next plan was Racha. But before, we spent another night at the monks house, as we wanted to see how they make vodka. Unfortunately the gas was turned off because of some works, so we left for Racha. The first stop we made on the Shaori Reservoir, where we drove like real Georgians with our car next to the beach. We took a bath in the lake, but after a few hours the predicted thunderstorm arrived. We drove further to Oni and just shortly before it, we parked next to a spring. Because of the rain, we only had some bread and vegetables for dinner. Like the following three days, we slept that night with our sleeping bags in the car. Narrow but cozy. In the morning we drove to Oni, the main city of the region and we bought some food on the market. After that we tested 2 of the 3 open restaurants and in the second one we had a good lunch.

Der eine Teil des Mittagessens, ein frischer Salatteller
One part of the lunch, fresh plate of salad

Then we drove under heavy rainfall to Ghebi, following huge, torrential rivers, but we had to pass as well through some smaller rivers and finally arrived in the village.

Der Hauptfluss Rioni, es sah nach tagelangen Regenfällen aus
The main river Rioni, looks like heavy rainfalls

A bit out of Ghebi we found a parking place, far enough of the wild and huge river Rioni. As soon as the rain stopped, we went for a walk to the village and saw, that the main road going into the valley was washed away. An other river in the south part of the village looked like they had to expect now and then mud and rock slides. Back to the car we did not cook, as it started again raining. The next day we wanted to explore the valley, as we had planned to walk on the top of one mountain on the other side of the valley. After 1.5 h of walking the road was completely broken away on a length of 20 m and everything was still moving. After 10 minutes some responsibles for the road came to see the damage. They were confident to get everything fixed in 10 days, but at the bottom was the wild and strong river of Rioni.

Durchs Gebüsch angelnd überquerten wir grössere Bäche
We had to pass several rivers, climbing through bushes
Der Fachmann begutachtet den Erdrutsch
The specialist is examining the landslide

We had to change our plans and we wanted to follow a path on our map. As soon as we entered the forrest, we could not see the path and the rain started again, so we decided to go back to our car for playing backgammon.

Zuerst ging es durch ein Farnfeld - ohne Weg - und die Beine wurden trotz Regenhosen nass
First we walked through a field of fern – without track – and the clothes got wet although we were wearing rain clothes
Eindrückliche Baumformationen
Impressive trees

Luckily, in the evening the rain stopped, so finally we got the chance for cooking and made some nice Älplermakaronis with the left over cheese from Turkey.

Älplermakaronen - fast wie zu Hause
Älplermakaroni – like at home

After the meal, our neighbour invited us for some fresh milk to his house. He could not really understand that we were sleeping in our car. In general, the people we met were all very friendly, many of them wanted to help and invite us, or just were happy about some small talk. It seemed that not too many tourists come here, as we could not even see one guesthouse. But as well this place will change, some big buildings are under construction and in the next year an asphalted two lane road will be built.
Although our neighbour told us not to hike up on the mountain behind his house, we still wanted to try it the next day. In the beginning it seemed we were following a path, but we were quite a bit surprised, seeing after 200 m of altitude a small and well kept marijuana field.

Wieder einmal der Fachmann vor Ort, Begutachtung eines Marijuhana Feldes
Once again the specialist, this time he examines a field with marijuana plants

After that, there was no path left, so we had to walk the next 600 m of altitude on a ridge in the forest, sometimes through thick bushes.

Auf dem Grat im Wald
On the ridge in the forest

We were happy when we passed the tree line and could enjoy the beautiful view.

Endlich geschafft, freie Sicht auf die Umgebung
Finally we made it, open view to the mountains
Das Wetter war super und wir konnten die gegenüberliegende Bergkette bestaunen
The weather was perfect and we could see the mountain rage on the other side of the valley

On the way we did not meet any animals, but for several hundred meters, we were following a path of huge footprints, maybe they came from a bear. For descending we chose the backside of the mountain, where we even found a very old road and looking very carefully, we were able to follow it most of the time. At the bottom of the valley, we came to a place called Gona, where there is a military checkpoint and a few houses. It was an amazing place and we had the best view over the caucasian mountains.

Auf dem Weg zurück nach Ghebi, im Hintergrund der Kaukasus
On the way back to Ghebi, in the background the caucasian mountains

Walking back on the gravel road for 10 km, we arrived after 8 hours of walking at our car, where we were happy to get rid of our shoes.
The next morning we said good bye to our neighbours and drove to the old health resort of Shovi, where only a few houses and huge hotels in bad conditions were left.

Eine ehemalige Hotelanlage, dahinter befand sich das einzige Hotel, was noch in Betrieb war. Was für eine Aussicht...
An ancient hotel complex and just behind was the only still running hotel of the region. What a nice view…
Shovi hatte dafür anderes zu bieten, Johannes mit seinem Lieblingsfahrzeug
But Shovi had other things to offer, Johannes with his favourite truck
Und auch Theres fand ein Spielzeug für sich
Theres found as well a toy

Along the Southossetian boarder, we hiked on the road towards the Russian boarder and because of the heavy rainfalls of the last days, we once even had to take our shoes off and for walking through a cold river. We got admired by a Russian couple, which was afraid to drive with their new car through the river. Back at the car, we decided not to stay here and drive back to the Shaori Reservoir, where we spent a night in the tent, surrounded by fishermen, which spent the whole night on the shore mainly sleeping in their chairs.
After that we spent another 2 days in Chiatura with tidying up and relaxing. The weather was still not the best, so we decided to go back to Tbilisi, back to the Tbilisi Sea. On the weekend was a climbing and highlining festival in the botanical garden, where we met many friends.

Kletterfestival "Rock it" im botanischen Garten
The climbing festival “Rock it” in the botanical garden – people of all ages were present

On Sunday, Guga organised a climbing competition on the Monument, where he recently bolted some artificial routes.

Klettern am Monument, einem alten, sowjetischen Denkmal aus schönem Beton
Climbing on the monument, an old, sovjetic benchmark, made out of nice concrete
Es wurde auch eine Slackline gespannt; hier Johannes beim Helfen, danach war er an der Reihe
They rigged as well a slackline; Johannes first helped others, then he gave it also a try

As the weather was getting hotter, we decided to go to the mountains, to Chaukhi. The first night we parked below Juta, as we were not sure about the condition of the road and if we could park in the village. We checked all by foot and luckily a taxi driver gave us a ride. Everything just looked perfect, so we drove up the next day with our truck. For one week Emma stayed there and got admired by many tourists and locals. Back from the basecamp, we drove behind the car of Tamo and Maryam back to the flat and luckily no car passed us. For two days we relaxed in Emma, as the weather was still not the best. After that we drove to Kazbegi, to buy a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, but because of the many tourists around, we didn't stay too long and drove to the nearby climbing area of Arsha.

Der Vitaminvorrat wurde wieder aufgefüllt
We stocked up our vitamins

The place was cosy so we spent more than a week there, climbing, biking, washing clothes and painting all the interior of the kitchen. After having been there for 8 nights, we moved on.

Rechts oben die Kletterfelsen
The rocks for climbing in the background
Auf dem Weg nach Tbilisi, ein alter, orthodoxer Friedhof
On the way to Tbilisi, an old , orthodox cemetery

We planned to meet Neslye and Oli in Svaneti, so we brought our truck to Tbilisi, packed all our camping gear and went off with the Black Flash. Exactly after 2 weeks we came back, and stayed for some days at the Tbilisi Sea. This time it was really hot, so we didn't want to stay too long and started our trip to Armenia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.