Hiking in Kazbegi, Georgia

As sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines

I enjoyed my first trip to Georgia, but happening in late fall and early winter the conditions weren’t the best to see the mountains and nature it has to offer. I loved it regardless, so the wine, food, and the prices of everything were another good reason to come back. Visiting in July this time, tourist activity would be a bit higher and I’d have an opportunity to see some things I had missed on the first go. 

Even staying in Tbilisi, I decided to approach things a bit differently. I knew WiFi wasn’t always the best in Georgia, so I decided to use a coworking space while I was there: Impact Hub (Tbilisi). It wasn’t anything special, but the internet was fast and they had chairs and desks, so that met my requirements.

The coworking space is in Fabrika, a hostel where I stayed for a couple nights, and tiny little hipster community in general placed in the north-central Tbilisi. The area was pretty cool.

fabrika hostel
This photo courtesy of hotels.com makes it look cooler than it is

I stayed not far from there in a very modern part of town at an AirBnb. It had a balcony with a view over a lovely traffic circle and some guy who insisted on revving his engine driving around in circles on weekend nights.

View from apartment in Tbilisi
If you enlarge it you can see the McDonald’s (not the cool one though)

There is a chain of restaurants in Tbilisi called Machakhela which I highly recommend because it’s cheap and they have delicious khinkali.  One location was close to here, so I went there for like $2-3 lunches a lot. There’s a location close to pretty much everywhere though.

I’d also recommend Skola Cafe – Delicious breakfast and nice coffee to hang out and work for a while.

I was very anti-social during my Georgia visit. Did my work, wandered around, don’t think I talked to anyone. So no exciting stories.

I took a day trip to Mtskheta, one of the oldest cities in Georgia and its former capital. The highlight here is the old cathedral. I must have gone on a Saturday, because there were lots of couples getting married in the church. Like an assembly line of weddings. I was not dressed for a wedding.

View in Mtskheta, Georgia
An old thing and a view up to another old thing (monastery probably)

Here’s the 11th century Orthodox Christian cathedral (Svetitskhoveli Cathedral) that apparently everyone wants to get married in.

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
Pretty nice for being so old I guess

So that was pretty might Tbilisi. Just did my normal daily stuff except with better, cheaper food around.  I also met up with my Swedish friend that I had met in Egypt and then again in Granada for dinner one night.

My big trip was one that I wasn’t able to do last time because everything was frozen – a hiking trip up to the Kazbegi region, or more specifically based from the town of Stepantsminda.

I got a private room in a guesthouse with a view of the monastery on top of the mountain right from my room. So that was nice. There were a few other travelers in the house too, and we had a big Georgian dinner together one of the nights. It was ridiculously expensive by Georgian standards, but she made lots of vegetarian food and there was lots of wine and gross chacha, so there were certainly worse ways to spend an evening.

The big draw to this town is the Gergeti Trinity Church, a one-hour hike up a hill from the town. That hike was nice enough, but it’s even better to continue on to Mount Kazbek, which is the 3rd highest peak in Georgia. As you can see in the pictures, it’s snow-capped and has a glacier you can walk up to any time of the year. So I did that.

I wasn’t feeling very well, and I wasn’t prepared, but it became a “I’ll do one more hill” situation for a dozen hills in a row. And eventually I made it. I took a few pictures along the way.

Hiking in Kazbegi, Georgia
Hill #1: View towards mountain
View of Gergeti Trinity Church, Kazbegi
Hill #1: View back towards the church
Hiking in Kazbegi, Georgia
A few hills later back towards the Church
Hiking in Kazbegi, Georgia
Cloudy, typical
Hiking in Kazbegi, Georgia
There were some breaks in the clouds though

So it’s another hike I survived. I would have liked to be able to hang out and explore the mountains for longer, this was a temporary escape while I waited for projects at work to finish.

It turns out I could have stayed longer, but such is life. It’s a bit of a longer flight than I would have liked, but it’s still a cool country and it was nice to visit again.

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