Georgia’s wide open spaces made it easier to camp. But the early fall weather brought different challenges as we tried to shelter ourselves from cold, foggy and rainy nights.
Again, like in many other countries, our best nights were the ones where we stayed with locals.
However, Georgians, like their neighbors in Azerbaijan, are more serious types, and smiles come slow. Luckily, we were able to break the ice with our, uh, charming, charismatic personality blend of sad-looking, hunched-over tourists and brave walkers who can haul heavy backpacks with some amount of strength and finesse.
Our favorite nights in Georgia were with Maka in Okrokana.
Maka, the auntie-cousin of a friend back home, welcomed us with open arms, and gave us run of her family’s summer home. We chatted under pines trees and in the kitchen for many hours, and then parted ways to do our own stuff, reuniting later in the evening to share a meal and a bottle of wine or beer.
For me, being there was a big dose of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation that helped me break my summer slump (link).
Five-star stays with locals
Other nights we found ourselves in the company of Azerbaijan shepherds; Armenian potato farmers; Georgian and Azerbaijan train workers, and Georgian monks and families.
We also spent many nights in September in our tent, camping near smaller, secondary mountain roads that curved around villages, rivers, lakes, forests and fields of cut grass, hay and harvested potatoes.
Some nights, thick fog wrapped our tent and thunderstorms passed through the area, making for several uncomfortable inside as condensation dampened our sleeping bags, something we fear will follow us into Turkey as we stay along the Black Sea coastline during October’s rainy season.
A few nights, usually on the days that correspond with our non-walking rest days, we stayed in budget guesthouses. On those days, most of our time is dedicated to doing laundry, catching up on our journal and blog writing and prepping for the week’s walk ahead.
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