A day and night in the Caucasus Mountains

Every time I get the chance of exploring a place on horseback, I will take it. The small village of Stepantsminda in the Caucasus mountains offered the possibility of “horse riding for tourists” but this time I was hoping for an authentic experience. However, I was disappointed to see that tourism touched this corner of Georgia even more than the other places we visited. Everything changed when we hiked up to the Gergeti Trinity Church though. Enjoying the spectacular views and trying to escape the crowd, we decided to ask a group of sympathetic Georgian men if they would take us back to the village with their jeep. They were hesitant but after a little contemplation, invited us for a picnic with vodka and beer, the main reason they had decided to stop driving. And of course, I immediately asked: ‘u vas yest’ loshad’?’ (do you have a horse?) to which one of them answered that he had 60 of them. A plan was made on the spot - next day we joined them to their isolated mountain house.