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Davit Gareja and Vashlovani National Park, Georgia [9-13 May 2019]

After the polluted streets of Tbilisi it was time to hit the countryside again. We had heard that Davit Gareja is must see, an area dotted with abandoned monasteries in caves. Getting there was the first highlight. Google maps sent us on adventurous offroad tracks along the Azerbaijan border, where at one point when crossing a ridge one wheel of our van was at least half a meter in the air. Margit, outside checking the track, was so scared that she completely forgot to take pictures.

When exploring the caves at Davit Gareja the footpath follows the Georgian Azarbeijan borderline, sometimes in one, sometimes in the other country. Throughout our uncountable border crossing we were closely monitored by border guards from both sides.

The next highlight was Vashlovani National Park, an incredibly beautiful area in the far east of Georgia. In order to enter the park, you need to pay an entry and camping fee at the visitor center, and then get a permit from the border police. While the staff at the visitor center was very friendly and informative, the border police was not so cooperative, barking incomprehensible things and let us wait for two hours until we finally received our permit and were on our way.

Vashlovani National Park is only accessible by 4×4 vehicle and in wet conditions the tracks become impassable (at least for us).

Throughout the three days in the park we had heavy rain and thunderstorms twice. Each time we waited until early afternoon for the sun to dry the muddy tracks before we could continue exploring the park. Despite this, the scenery in the park is stunning beyond description, and we could have stayed several days longer in this wilderness. But we were fast approaching the beginning date of our Russian visa and wanted to be on our way north to the border.

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