Tbilisi is stiflingly hot in July, it seemed like a good time to head to the cooler mountainous regions of Georgia. This trip was taken over two days with “აბოდიალებულები” (which roughly translates as “the wanderers”) in a Mercedes Sprinter driven by Nika. We met at Marjanshvili for an early 7.10pm start (true to form this was later than the scheduled 6.30pm).
Racha is a highland area in Western Georgia. Our first stop was by the scenic Shaori Reservoir. It would be even more scenic if previous visitors hadn’t left their litter.
After a short pause by the water, it was back in the minibus to visit Nikortsminda Cathedral, originally built in the reign of Bagrat III in the 11th Century, the inner walls are painted with frescoes dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
Continuing the religious theme we went on to visit the ruins of the monastery complex at Chelishi, which involved a short walk along a very muddy path.
After the monastery we ventured to the source of the Sharaula River. This path involved negotiating some piping; Khato had no problems with this, I managed okay (although I was fearful my legs might start shaking, like on my third failed driving test) but some of our party needed a helping hand.
The source of the river proved a photo opportunity for some of the group to pose with the “Adrenalin Hiking Club” banner. You can check out their Facebook page here : Adrenalin Hiking Club Facebook Page
After the source of the Sharaula, it was time to find an ice cave, which was cool in both sense of the word.
We finished the day with a dip in the reservoir for the brave.
Then made our way to a guest house in Ambrolauri for the obligatory Georgian supra (feast).
I left the supra at 11pm, but many of the Georgians more conditioned to such feasting, continued toasting each other, eating and drinking until 3am.
Continued: A trip to Racha: Day 2