For years, the senior trip to Tao Klarjeti has been a cherished tradition at GZAAT. Accompanied by their advisors and teachers, students embark on a three-day journey to a historical place and spend their time creating bonds and lasting memories. Any senior would agree that this year's trip, in particular, was distinct due to its wide range of emotions caused by visiting the important temples of our homeland and the unforgettable experiences and events that come along the way.
The road to Tao-Klarjeti was long but far from boring. Including the stops, it took approximately 15 hours to get to the final destination. Three days included
visits to the six remarkable temples and churches: Tbeti Monastery, Khakhuli Monastery, Oshki church, Otkhta cathedral church, Ishkhani cathedral church, and Bana Church. It was heartbreaking listening to the stories behind each place and seeing pictures depicting their former glory. It was almost impossible to make out the shapes of the frescoes on the walls, even though they were easily readable a few years ago. Seeing history be wiped away by rainstorms, nature's reclamation, or purposefully destroyed and destructed was a shattering experience. The once-proud monasteries, guarded and protected by our ancestors, now stood before us as fragments of their initial form. On the second day, we went to explore the small Yusufeli center where we did some shopping and tried delicious Turkish food such as soup corba, kebab, su boregi, baklava, and our beloved dondurma.
Picture this: we roll up to the hotel to these adorable small wood-cozy cottages made for up to five people each. They looked like a fairy tale but, little did we know, we should’ve expected some surprises. Let's start with the showers; those things were electric, but not in a good way. Every time someone tried to adjust the hot water, they got a little shock with it, or the light in the cottage turned off. It was funny seeing the comments and complaints of our classmates in the group chat: some claimed that they found a new roommate named Gogita sleeping in their bed. Now you'd think Gogita was some friendly guy but no, Gogita was a massive spider. Then there were mystery dirty socks that were not theirs. Also, one of our classmates, Iko Kontselidze burned his coat during our dinner in the hotel and ended up covered with cotton. Don't even get us started on stink bugs who certainly had more fun than we did. Now, onto the light and heating situation - or the lack of it, since it was freezing outside, the only way to get warm was to light the old fireplace. So the first night became a competition of gathering branches. However, keeping the light going the whole night was the real challenge in which we failed miserably. But in time, our savior Turkish man Ali appeared, the owner of the hotel who brought the heat back to our cottages.
And just when we thought the trip could not get any funnier, our classmate Nino pulled off the passport mix-up of the century. She brought the wrong passport, which expired in 2017, to the border and had to wait hours for her mother just to cross the border; luckily, in the end, she managed to join us at the hotel. Finally, despite all of these concerns, we ended the day with a small party in our hotel garden with the lights, music, and of course our friend Ali. Everyone enjoyed the night and had so much fun.
In the end, our senior Tao trip was like a comedy show. We learned that the best memories come when things don't go as planned. So here's to shocking showers, burnt coats, Yusufeli walks, our good friend Gogita, and the great sock mystery. Overall, the trip was very successful, informative, and enjoyable, and we would all agree that it was one of the best trips, so thanks to all the teachers who made it possible and accompanied us.
Edited by: Sofi Asatiani