Our longest journey from Tbilisi was to Stepantsminda and took some 3 hours by mini-bus. The journey was through stunning scenery with the single track road snaking through a steep valley. The mini-buses in Georgia run on a fixed route when they are full, with stops on demand. Since Stepantsminda is a reasonably important settlement our mini-bus only made a single stop, for refreshments. We only wanted to visit a single place near the town
, partly for the building itself and partly for its location and journey to arrive there; non were a disappointment. From the mini-bus stop the walk up to the church was a sheer trek of about an hour, we took a direct route which in places needed using the trees to haul us up steep sections. Non the less we arrived at the spectacular site, overlooked by snow covered mountains and overlooking the town far below.
The church seemed to be a place of pilgrimage and it was packed with visitors. Having struggled up, we took the easier track down for fear of tumbling down the slope. And so, after a poor meal, we returned home to Tbilisi after an exhilarating day.