From wildcamping to another Workaway

Our first two weeks of post-corona wildcamping flew by! We built many campfires, played a lot of games, had a lot of homemade wine and we met a lot of very nice locals. We spent 11 nights at the beautiful spot next to the Lagodekhi National Park (check out last week’s video). In the end, we were with nine persons; five from the Netherlands, one guy from Germany, one guy from Switzerland and an Austrian couple. Together with this group, it felt like we had made our own, ‘private’ mini camping!

The weather was great, twenty plus degrees and very sunny, so most of the time we just sat outside. We also had three days of rain, but whenever it would stop, all of us would gather outside to see if we could get the campfire back on or just to have a chat. Two nights, we moved to a different spot to do a hike there. By then, most of the rangers knew who we are and we communicated with the ‘head ranger’ a lot. (One day, there was a boy on a horse who came from the village and handed us a phone: it was the head ranger for us! This felt really special).

Back to our new spot: when we got there, a ranger that we hadn’t met yet came up to us and handed us his phone. This time we weren’t allowed to camp there. Because of Corona, the park is officially still closed. He escorted us to a place just down the road, on an open field. It was ok, but there was no river nearby. The ranger told us that we could not do the walk because of Corona, but he also said that it was okay to walk up the trail for a little bit. The border guards (the hike was very close to the border of Azerbaijan) would probably just stop us on our way and have us turn around.

Luckily for us it turned out great, because we met some really nice border guards. They stopped us and asked for our passports. We waited for approximately 45 minutes and then all we had to do was sign a book and we were good to go! The hike was nice and it had some great views, but our previous hike was definitely better. Especially because our destination was an old fortress and there was not much left of it. When we got back to our camp spot, we decided to stay one more night and then head back to our previous spot.

Last Tuesday was our last day there, and it was definitely one to remember! Since it was a national holiday, it got pretty crowded with locals. 40 guys celebrated someone’s 60th birthday party and they were having a big feast. At the beginning, some of the men came up to us with beer, meat, strawberries, bread and even a chocolate cake. One of the guys played accordion and he came up to play something for us. They kept inviting us to join their party and after a couple of wines, we all agreed. We had a lovely afternoon with singing, dancing and a lot of food and wine.

Right now, it’s Thursday afternoon, one day after we left our spot and the group behind. We would have loved to stay even longer, but we were also ready for a new adventure. We are finally doing a Workaway again! It’s a small organic farm with a German owner. This morning, we helped clear out a part of the land so that we can start growing new crops soon. Later in the afternoon (when the sun goes down, because it is 30 degrees now), we will do some harvesting. Tiny is parked in the middle of the land, and we have a beautiful view. Wide open fields and in the background, we see the Caucasus, with still some snowy tops!

As we are staying with a family of four, with two dogs, four puppies, a cat and one kitten, there’s a lot going on. Sparta already started playing with the dogs and he is not as afraid of people as he used to be. We can wear shorts, sit outside all day and play with the animals. And besides this, we will learn a lot about natural farming. Let’s see what other chores we will have to do this week!