On the evening of 26 June 2023, I sat on a sofa in a pub, with the cat and the Laughing pillow next to me, and said goodbye. 6 weeks in Georgia – that was more than most other travellers had at their disposal. And not nearly enough to discover “everything” this small country has to offer. On a size just below that of Bavaria, there are so many different mountain regions, the Black Sea, big cities, historical places, villages, buildings, etc.. You can actually get anywhere from Tbilisi in a day – it makes travelling convenient. I found it a bit exhausting that the mountain regions are not linked and you always have to go down to the hotter plains. I found this change in temperature a bit difficult – perhaps a tribute to getting older.
Nevertheless, the shorter distances make it a pleasant country to travel. With train, marshrutka and taxi/car, you also have various means of transport at your disposal – the first two very cheap, the last one varying depending on the region and route. For my travel-guests, I would definitely recommend a combi.
What’s great about Georgia is that there are so many different things to experience and it’s easy to set priorities that can be combined with other things. When I look at my blog posts and let my memories wander, I realise how many different things I saw and experienced – despite my own personal fixation on mountains. And just as different as the places were my moods. Post-Soviet misery, aggressive dogs, wetness and some political things easily pulled me down, great mountains, Tbilisi’s old town beauty and some people pulled me up again.
It was interesting to realise once again what a difference travelling companions make. In principle, I have not muchdifficulty travelling alone, but especially when the going gets tough, it’s so nice to have someone by your side. I probably wouldn’t have had such good memories of this very wet pass hike in Tusheti without Nino and Pavels. And what a difference it was to be alone with the post-Soviet misery in Poti and to experience it together with Patrick in Akhalkalaki! Together, you are more likely to find the funny side of something and can better discuss problems of the mind.
In general, I was happy to have experienced a part of the journey together with Patrick, we were quite a good travel team and are still in contact now. You can have a lot of fun with Patrick and I had to laugh a lot – besides some profound deeper talks. And sure, there were points of friction, but who doesn’t have that with anyone? In any case, it was great to experience things together!
My main interest was hiking and I experienced so many different things! From the woody elevations in Borjomi to the windy exposure at Didi Abuli, the alpine-like area in Svaneti with the surprise ending behind Ushguli, the most beautiful mountain hike at Mt. Kazbek to the secluded valleys and heights in Tushetia – it was all unique. So, in any case, I am glad to be able to give travellers a colourful selection as well.
So it’s easy to do some tours without tents and so on. Finding the way was not difficult on the tours I did. But there are countless other possibilities – let’s see if/what I will experience. Again, I generally like to go alone, but with Nino and Pavels I realised how pleasant it is when someone else takes care of the organisation and I just have to go along.
Dogs are a big issue when hiking. It can happen everywhere that you (accidentally) step into their territory. So my conclusion is: never never never walk alone in dog areas! And get a briefing beforehand, which you always remind yourself of. Because at first you tend to react automatically. And adjust your mind so that you accept it. You have to be more vigilant in certain areas (individual homesteads, flocks of sheep), in others you can relax. In any case, it is manageable and you don’t feel bad afterwards when you have “survived”.
The companion dogs should not go unmentioned. There are plenty of them in Georgia, too, i.e. dogs that were somehow left alone and now like to look for hiking/walking company. They just go along, sometimes for hours, but I have also heard of dogs accompanying people for days.
Meeting people is always one of the best things on a trip. Nicki, whom I met in 2008, was actually mentioned too little in the blog and without a picture. Our encounters were all the more intense and beautiful for that. Besides her, Patrick, Nino and Pavels, I met a few others, e.g. warm-hearted Albert from the accommodation in Borjomi.
This lady, on the other hand, was not quite so human.
And how is that now with coming back again and the travel offer? Georgia is definitely a super interesting country and has already grown into my life a bit with my experiences from 2008. There are still a lot of things I’m curious about – but I have to say that it didn’t excite me personally quite as much as, for example, India or Kyrgyzstan. But I think that was also due to my inner state of mind, which was different than usual because of private circumstances. The trip to Georgia didn’t necessarily fit in with that. But I would like to give it another chance.
And my guest-travellers? Yes, I would definitely recommend Georgia to them! My chosen agency partners have turned out to be very great and I trust them 100% to do a very good job. And I myself am now in a position to make travel plans myself and can come up with my own experiences. My own highlights were Didi Abuli, Tbilisi Old Town and Tusheti. And Batumi, with its changes, has also really swept me off my feet. And the fact that it has such an incredible variety in such a small area.
So, see you next time, Georgia!