After the heavy rain of yesterday, we were really happy to see the clear blue sky when we woke up. We camped on a small football field where it seems cows have been playing football recently. Today we are driving to Borjomi where we hope to do a small hike tomorrow.
The road to Borjomi from our camping spot is about 140km. It offers many great views when it climbs higher on the right bank of the river.
The road takes you over the Goderdzi Pass. The slopes of the pass are well known by the local ski fans. Once over the pass, the road slightly gets better and finally reaches Akhaltsikhe. Where we immediately notice the recently renovated Rabat Fortress. The ticket to visit the fortress also includes a visit to the archaeological museum. Inside the walls you can find many buildings of different styles. The mosque with gilded dome is probably the most eye catching.
On our way from Akhaltsikhe to Borjomi, we noticed a sign for “The Green Monastery”. While not mentioned in our guidebook, we followed the small road into the forest. We were definitely not the only one visiting this monastery. It seems to be very popular place to visit. Most of them were of course Georgians.
A little further in the forest we parked the car and walked further on the lovely road to reach The Green Monastery. The reason why it’s not mentioned in our guidebook is that is has only been reconstructed in 2012. It’s situated in a beautiful forest and monks live in small wooden houses just outside the monastery walls.
We found a young man living with the monks who gave us some information about this place. He told us the legend how the monastery was attacked once and the blood of the monks protecting the monastery could still be seen on the stones in the little brook on the left of the monastery walls. He showed us the brook where red stones where laying in the water.
Time to finally get to our end destination for today. Borjomi. We had to find the administration center of Borjomi National Park to get a permit to access the national park tomorrow. A one day permit is free, but we were happy to make a donation after they gave us a lot of information about Borjomi and the national park. They also told us where we should go for dinner. I think it was called ‘Old Borjomi’ or something. It was definitly in the Merab Kostava Street just next to the Borjomi Hostel.
Borjomi is not only known for the national park, it’s mostly famous for its spring water. Although we were very disappointed to see the public spring near the city park. While everyone talks about the water of Borjomi, we appreciated the unknown spring in Surami much more. The spring is a little run down and a relatively long waiting time if you want to try some of the water. Mainly because people fill 5 liter bottle but also because of the poor stream.
I found also this nice video covering the same places that we visited this day: