We had waited long, cold, rainy days to visit Kazbegi and the right day had finally come! We couldn’t believe it, the depressive days in Tbilisi were almost over! We couldn’t stand the thought of having to stay a day longer there. We went to Metrostation Dedubi since there was a busstation over there. You can also find markets and bakeries there to buy food and drinks for your journey. The irritating thing is that the minibuses have to be completely full for departure, so we had to wait for more than 2 hours! We bought our tickets for 10 lari p.p. and it took us around 3 hours to get there through the Military Highway. This road actually is in the top 10 most-dangerous-roads in the world, not completely surprising for taking a highway to one of the most scenic mountain areas in the world. The beauty of the landscape distracted our attention from the danger we were finding ourselves in; not only because of the road but also the loose driving-style of our busdriver who thought to be the lead character of a James Bond-movie. When we got there, it was already dark and we hadn’t booked anything yet. At first we thought we’d get there in daylight since we didn’t know we had to wait that long for departure. There aren’t many guesthouses so we had some trouble finding one with heating and hot water, but eventually we got lucky and found a decent place to stay.
Kazbegi is a small village with only 2500 people living in it and most of the people get away in the winters because it gets too cold. Many (Georgian) tourists come for its great hiking or mountainbiking possibilities. Legends say the mountains are touched by gods and when you stand over there, feeling overwhelmed by the force of nature, you start to believe that it might be a bit true.
We spent our first day hiking to Tsmind Sameba Church, which is the main attraction point in Kazbegi. It was nice, but the real beauty lies in the surrounding areas of Kazbegi town. We went to Juta, which supposed to have one of the coolest hikingtrails. We met a fellow Dutch traveller, Frank, with whom we made a plan to be dropped at Juta by taxi, hike towards the glacier and mountainbike our way back from Juta to Kazbegi. The hike was just so wonderful that it cannot be described in words. The pictures may give you a certain image and feeling, but they definitely don’t do justice! We really got an inner touch with nature, since in the 5-hour hike we only saw 2 small groups of people. The way back by mountainbike was adventurous as well. Not only the unpaved road with a huge cliff next to it, but also passing by small villages with aggressive watchdogs running behind your mountainbike and getting too close to your legs barking their lungs out. And let me tell you that Georgian watchdogs are made to fight with wolves; they are one of the biggest dogs in the world. See this picture (not ours):
Well, let’s just say we were really happy to be safe and sound back at our guesthouse. I must say that we had sore muscles afterwards and in need of a day rest to fully recover, but hell yeah it was worth it.
Recommendation? YES! Kazbegi is one of those places you may find on those ‘places-you-have-to-see-before-you-die’-bucketlists! It’s just out of this world. You don’t have to come to Georgia for its people, food or culture. Nature is the magic word!