Georgia Hiking in Borjomi Natural Reserve

I decided to do the one-day hike in the Borjomi Natural Reserve. A 13 km trail that seemed nice and easy according to the map the Visitor Centre was distributing.

Well it wasn’t exactly ‘easy’. By looking at the statistics of this hike (click on the westernmost marker on the map), the trail goes up 1,000 metres and the total distance, including walking on the road from the village, is more than 22 km… It was mostly very steep, and had very muddy parts because it had been raining the night before. This really isn’t a stroll, and it is the sort of hike that makes you feel you really need good shoes (which I had not, obviously!).

The trails goes through the forest most of the time, so there’s hardly view apart from three different spots, so that’s a bit disappointing. Nevertheless, I got the chance to see one deer and one squirrel…

But the most surprising encounters came at the end…

First there were these two guys sitting at a table. As soon as they saw me, they invited me to join them. They offered some home made vodka, cheese, onion, bread and garlic. It was the first time I was eating raw garlic! I hadn’t been drinking since Batumi three days before. I erally had enough of beer and alcohol and was glad I could make a nice and healthy hike… Well I had three shooters of this vodka. I got drunk very quickly. One of the guys was a Mashrutka (mini bus) driver, and he’d recognized me. He was driving the Mashrutka that took me to Borjomi. The other one was also a driver, but a school bus driver… I was hoping they had both finished their day’s work, cause they were really drunk!
We had a nice chat in Georgian, with good a lot of miming again of course…

It was time for me to go, we took this nice picture, and I thanked them warmly for they kindness and hospitability.
I started walking again, but it wasn’t long before I passed this goup of young people sitting around a table. As soon as they so me, they invited to join… Some of them could speak English. We had a nice chat, they offered food and drink. They sang and we danced. They were half the staff of the Kutaisi McDonald’s, out on a team building excursion. They were at least 20 and just half of the staff… And it’s not a big McDonald’s. I had a quick ‘lunch’ there when I arrived in Kutaisi a week or so ago.

Later we all played ball games, we had a lot of fun, playing and laughing, without talking much. We had a lot of fun, and it was getting dark. This all happened where the line stops on the map. They drove me back to Borjomi in their van around 10pm. I was exhausted from the hike and the games… but so happy again with the luck I had to spend such a good time!

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