Cuttino's Georgian Life

A journal of my Peace Corps service in the Republic of Georgia, 2006-2008.

Monday, October 01, 2007

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part 2

Right before fall set in, a group of friends and I decided to spend some time at a cabin in Borjomi National Park. The park is one of the largest in Europe and is impressively run. It regulates the visitors, has a full-time ranger staff, and keeps everything in good condition. So, its great to see such a nice destination that remains relatively untouched.

Unfortunately, the hike to the camp turned into a 15 kilometer trek up the side of the mountain. Nothing too extreme, but I found myself woefully out of shape and exhausted most of the way (the supra the night before certainly didn't help matters either). By the time we reached the top of the mountain ridge, it was getting dark and we were getting nervous about finding the cabin. As we continued along the trail, we found ourselves in the middle of a sheep herd. Two shepherds approached us and invited us in. They were kind enough to help us find the cabin, built a fire, and shared some vodka.

We had brought some marshmallows and graham crackers ("smuggled" from America by some new volunteers) and we showed the shepherds how to make s'mores. They were good sports about it, but had the usual look that Georgians have when we Americans push our cuisine on them. Our British friend, Clare, had also never seen a s'more and seemed more open to the experience. The next morning, the shepherds found us again and invited us over for breakfast--raspberry tea and bread.

The shepherd, on the left, serving us tea for breakfast.

In the end, they seemed reluctant to let us leave. They spend weeks at a time on top of the mountain during the summer, so life seems rather slow and monotonous. If you ever go hiking in Borjomi, bring some marshmallows--you never know if you'll need to entertain some bored Georgians.


Post a Comment

<< Home