During our second day in Oni, Temur and his wife brought us to one of the most incredible sights we’ve seen so far in Georgia. Temur’s wife has a sister who lives in a small village on the Caucasian mountainside, which is only a few kilometers away from the Russian border. After winding through the hills in Temur’s muddy car and dodging huge puddles and pot holes, we arrived to her home and parked the car. Cows and pigs roamed the land and Temur picked apples and berries from the trees for us to eat before our long hike.
We headed uphill in tall rubber boots and Temur stopped to pull two sticks out of the brush he had hidden. These would be our hiking sticks (or lifesavers!) throughout the upcoming trek. Gorgeous snowcapped mountains and changing red and yellow leaves painted the clear blue sky as we made our way to a hidden cave.
The entrance of the cave was spectacular. Water ran out of the entrance and down a tall mountain into a stream covered with mossy rocks.
With no hesitation, Temur jumped down into the cave and motioned for us to join. We walked through the cave wading in muddle puddles and climbing slippery rocks. I admired the changing colors and shapes of the rocks. We also met a few bats along the way!
Boiled eggs, khachapuri, roasted chicken, cheese, and fresh cucumbers and vegetables lined the blanket. We toasted, “Gaumarjos!” and drank Temur’s homemade Khvanchkara semi-sweet wine.
Although our hosts only speak a few words of English, their company is much appreciated and we wouldn’t have been able to complete the trek without them by our side.