When we hitchhike, we also look for some places to spend the night safely. By ‘spend the night’ I mean camping. We never tried camping in urban areas, maybe because we’re too lazy and we prefer to stay in the cheapest hostel, where we have warm water and comfortable (more or less) bed. But outside the urban areas we camp all the time.
Georgia and Armenia are safe countries to camp wild*, of course if you behave safely. There are always some rules that help you to avoid troubles: don’t make noise, don’t set up campfire, don’t leave a mess. Be respectful and don’t act like a conqueror.
[* camp wild – I’m not sure if this phrase is correct so feel free to tell me if it’s not! :)]
When we look for a place to sleep, we always want it to be hidden in bushes and near water. And not too close to any kind of buildings. In Georgia there are plenty of those places! In Armenia not so many, but people are very helpful.
Georgia and Armenia are perfect for the first time to camp wild. The only disadvantage is communication – it’s good to speak Russian, even just some basics.
This is the list of our camping places in Georgia and Armenia, chronologically (in brackets are numbers of nights that we have spent in those places).
1. By river Mtkvari, near town Gori (1)
One very nice Georgian helped us to find this place and after one hour he came back because he was so worried about us. He said that we had no food and no alcohol (we had :D) and this was not the best place to sleep because there were no people. We told him that we had everything what we need and the place was just perfect to us but he wasn’t convinced. However, it was the first example of Caucasian hospitality and helpfulness.
Luckily, near our place there was a big bridge, where we could hide when the storm came in the morning… We needed 5 more minutes to put our stuff together but we didn’t make it on time… Well, still it was nice to have breakfast under the bridge. 🙂
2. In the Caucasus Mountains (2)
You can read more about it here (it’ll open in a new window). 🙂 This was one of the best places to camp, because of the nice views of Mount Kazbek and other high mountains that encircled our glade.
3. By the Sevan lake (1)
That wasn’t the best place… We had hope to find a wild beach but everything around lake is privatised and beaches are pebbly and very narrow (about 2.5 metres) and wind was so strong that it made the waves very high and when water was splashing on the shore, we could feel it on our faces. We didn’t want to take risk to sleep there so we asked one man to camp on his parcel. He agreed but his son wasn’t very happy about that.
In the night somebody was sneaking around our tent with a torch. We thought that maybe he’ll do something to us but after few minutes he went away… And in the morning we found two bottles of water and coke near the entrance. 🙂 Isn’t it nice?
4. Near the cable-car to monastyr Tatev (1)
It was also very surprising place to sleep. First, we were invited for a dinner by one Armenian and later he and his wife took us to the cable-car station (which is the big tourist attraction here). They asked the guards if we can camp there. We said that it’s not necessary, we just need bushes and river but they said that at night there are a lot of wolves here (!) and it would be better for us to camp in the protected area. We (and guards) agreed and it was just perfect because we could use the bathroom with warm water and in the morning we were first in the long queue for cable-car! 🙂
5. After crossing the border between Armenia and Georgia (1)
This was the worst night ever. We came here at night (you can imagine that in this part of world there are no streetlights outside cities and towns, right?) and it was raining cats and dogs… We just put our tent in some bushes behind the bus stop and we couldn’t sleep at night because of strange noises outside… Later we realized that they came from bushes moved by wind and rain, but at the first moment we were totally not content about this situation.
And in the morning there was thick mist and it was sooooo cooooold… That was the first time when we said that we wanted to go home… 🙁
6. A campsite in Kobuleti (3)
Comparing to the previous place, this was really nice area to stay (although the toilets were in the petrol station and they were in a very poor condition) because of not so many people. So we had a lot of space for ourselves and the weather was beautiful and we could rest at last! 🙂
7. A beach in Gonio (1)
Gonio is just one kilometer from the Georgian-Turkish border and we didn’t want to stay in very touristy city, Batumi. So we hoped to find a wild beach in Gonio. But it was just the same like by the Sevan lake… The difference was that nobody let us to camp near their houses and it was nothing about Georgian hospitality and helpfulness. We hate that place.
8. A beach in Turkey (1)
It’s not Georgia and Armenia anymore but we can put it in this list. We came to this beach when it was night already and it was so warm that we just used the sleeping bags and not the whole tent. It was a great feeling to fall asleep listening to the sound of waves and looking at the Milky Way in the cloudless sky. 🙂
We love camping wild because we would never gain those memories and experience in other way. We met a lot of friendly people, we saw a lot of diverse places. And those feelings are addictive. We want more and more. 🙂
PS. This is our experience and if you want to try to hitchhike or camp wild, it’s on your own responsibility.