Well rested by a good night’s sleep half of our group starts the ascent to Lomisa Monastery in the region of Mskheta, which has been presented to us as a very special place by a friendly young lady who also made it possible for us to get into contact with the local monks due to her proficient translation skills. The monks promptly gave us a bottle of homegrown wine and we were pretty ashamed that in the chaos of our leaving Tbilisi we plainly forgot to take any presents for potential hosts.
Well, off we go. We start ascent into a glorious autumn morning. For the first 300 m of altitude we follow a beautiful footpath through heaps of rustling foliage and reach our first viewing point shortly above the tree line. It consists of a small altar and cross and presents a stunning view to the north as well as a place of praying for pilgrims.
We continue up to the monastery. Three monks live here permanently although they regularly descend into the village to top up their supplies. It seems to be a tradition for the omnipresent pilgrims to take a piece of firewood up the mountain as a gift for the monks.
Despite us being able to enjoy the way up as well as the monastery itself without the encounter of too many others, Lomisa seems to be quite an important subsidiary of the Orthodox Church as we discover when telling our friends about our march and exploring further on the internet. Another thing we did not realize in advance is the fact, that up at the monastery we are situated exactly on the controversial border to South Ossetia.
The place itself is simply peaceful and emanates a great dignity. The little church is really tight and paltry but made up with so many Icons brought up here by hikers and pilgrims. Even if instead of doing just over 400 m in altitude we ended up doing more than 700 it was definitely worth it. The charisma of this place is magical.