Freedom can only be found in the mountains, as the Georgians say. So, after a couple of days in Tbilisi, getting Alexine fixed and some work done, it was time to head to the mountains again. Everyone tells us Svaneti is amazing, but that’s on the other side of Georgia so we decided to head where all of Tbilisi is heading in the weekends: Kazbegi

It’s only a two hour drive from Tbilisi. What to see in Kazbegi? Well, there is the Trinity Church, probably the most famous church of Georgia. And that says something as we’re sure there are thousands of churches here. 

On the way to the Trinity Church we stopped at the Georgian & Russian friendship monument. Not such a great monument but the views are spectacular. Lots of tourists here go parapenting or horse back riding. We didn’t do any of that but just had a look before we continued our journey. 

Maffia monks

At the Trinity Church it was too crowded for our taste so we parked the van and had a walk through the mountains. Best idea ever! The hiking path we took wasn’t really a path, more like a trail made by cows and horses. It brought us all around the mountain and so we had the best view on the trinity church. The church itself isn’t so spectacular, it’s especially the backdrop. The mountains surrounding the church are just breathtaking. Truly astonishing. 

We slept the night with a great view on the mountain. Strangely, at night the monks are apparently working as cars drive on and off to the gates of the church.

Earlier on we where told about the dubious activities of the monks in the country. The word ‘maffia’ was even mentioned. We couldn’t really believe it until we were sleeping right next to the monastery and witnessed all the strange nightly activities there. Our suspicion only got strengthened when we saw monks on the news participating in the anti LHBTI riots in Tbilisi last weekend. Monks with double agenda’s perhaps?

Of course we will never know what goes on behind those closed church doors. However, everything that goes through our minds and is written down here is subject for debate. For our own safety we will not elaborate any further on the matter…

So, early in the morning, when most tourists are still sleeping, we walked over to the church and had a look around. Inside and outside not too impressive but again, with the mountains surrounding it, it feels very majestic. 

We soon hit the road to drive almost to the border with Russia to have a small but nice hike to a waterfall. Afterwards we drove to Juta, here we wanted to have a hike the next day. A proper hike, which we definitely had.

Hiking the Chaukhi pass

Early in the morning we started the hike. We were thinking of hiking to a lake, only 1.5 hours hike, but as we missed the lake and got closer to the Chaukhi pass we decided that it would be nice to reach the pass. The pass is at 3.200 metres high and the trail to it is amazing!! The mountains surrounding us, the flowers in the field, the little river we hiked alongside. The only downside were the many many insects, but alright, we take it. So we had to climb a lot to reach the pass but as the view got more and more beautiful it wasn’t a bad thing. The higher you get the more mountain tops you see, until you are on top of the pass and it truly feels like you’re on top of the world. 

After a while enjoying the view we headed back down. Going down is a lot easier than going up but it’s a lot heavier for the body. So, we didn’t go too quick and not too slow either. We had a nice speed and half way down took a detour as walking the same way back isn’t that much fun right? Good choice! The route was so great, from stones to flower fields, to river crossings and grass lands. All that with views on the magnificent mountainside which reminds us of the Dolomites. On our way back we even found the little lake, which to us felt manmade but we’re not sure. Not the most interesting place, so we were very very happy to have done the long hike. 

Back in Juta, after 6 hours of hiking, we jumped into the ice cold river next to the van. So refreshing, so nice. We get more and more used to this lifestyle. Taking a bath wherever you can, however cold it is.

No more rolling for Alexine

We didn’t want to stay in Juta so we continued our road. Not for too long though because Alexine didn’t want to continue. She stopped. Apparently we had to change the spark plugs every 5.000km and we’ve driven almost 15.000km now so yeah, they needed to be changed. Luckily we met a very nice guy at the gasoline station who knew someone who works on old cars. He came in the evening, changed the spark plugs, checked some other things and Alexine was running again. 

We learn so much on the road, not only about ourselves or the countries we drive through but also about the van. And up to now we’ve been lucky with the people we met who helped us fix her. On our own it would still be quite difficult. 

Love, Milene & Yuri