From Borjomi in the Lesser Caucasus comes, of course, the famous soda water, which not only makes you healthy, but also pretty. More interesting, however, is the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. Spruce forests on curved mountains, almost like the Black Forest. At higher altitudes, there are isolated pine trees on meadows. I’m a little disappointed to come across a mountain pasture with cows at the highest point of my two-day hike, strange concept of a national park, but especially the descent (trail no. 6) offered some great views that reconcile me. Unfortunately, parts of the forest seems to have just (a week later) fallen victim to a forest fire!
Before I continue my journey via a small border crossing into Turkey, I make a detour to Vardzia. In a gorge cutting into the dry eastern Anatolian plateau, there is a spectacular cave monastery dug out of the tuff in the middle of a rock face above the river. It had the dimensions of a city with over 6000 rooms.