Just after midnight we finally reached that Old Town hideaway. The weak moonlight revealed the dilapidated exterior of the 1860s building. The collapsing wooden stairs were helpful enough for making our way up to that lovely wood-columned verandah where warm chai and even warmer smiles were waiting for us. The host was awake full of energy and curiosity. The moon accompanied the magic mumblings of the night and the stars were the spectators to our late night confessions.
The sunrise found us sunk into our soft mattresses. The wind whispered sweet melodies to our sweaty bodies. The city was awake and so were we. Soon enough, we found ourselves wandering around its old balconied houses and quirky paths resting our bodies at its leafy squares. We made all our way up to the hills to dig with our thirsty eyes inside the confusing mixity of its shabby Soviet apartment blocks which were rubbing shoulders with its old stone churches and eye-catching watchtowers.
You could hear the beating heart of the city from the Nariqala fortress when looking down to the villagelike neighbourhoods strung along the Mtkwari river. On our way down imaginative smells of khachapuri tickled our stomachs. Our appetite was captured by the various fresh baked cheese pies which became the perfect keep-me-going meal for the rest of our Georgian trip.
Early clouds embraced the morning sky.The hanging wires were soon leaking raindrops of melancholy. We got off the marshrutky and we found Mtskheta soaking uncorroded under the grey sky.A short walk up the hill for a deep breath of fresh air and the near mystical significance of the city for Georgian culture was soon understood.
The Jvari church we so much awaited to see was visible from the cliffy hilltops with its silent blessings weaving spiritual plots in the air. All we did was enjoying the timid sunbeams making their way out of the thick clouds on the tiled rooftops, the Cathedral and the river crossroads setting an alluring panorama blown away by the humid wind.
Early afternoon and our wine talks convinced our untamed spirit for a long ride near the boarders of Georgia with Azerbaijan.One of the most remarkable Georgian sites, more than 15 monasteries spread over a wide remote area was now our destination.
The mountains were embracing tightly the monastery caves and the harmonious horizon was uniting the remote wilderness of the sight. Muddy paths of unexplored beauty led us to the way up to the stone chapel where a well- deserved view was finally reached.
The Georgian Military Highway was hiding a gem somewhere between its first 65 km from Tbilisi. Ananuri fortress was standing there with its churches like an ephemeral oasis that escaped from the Middle Ages. Sublime architecture and fine views made it for the rough ride that was expected for the rest of the journey.
And here we were. The relay race between the mountain sides seemed endless throughout our whole way up to the Tsminda Sameba church.
2200m and the higher we hiked the smaller we looked but the bigger we felt. The sturdy muscles of the wind were squeezing our remaining energy.
But when we arrived the wind of freedom was offered open-handed to our soaking bodies. Dark, misty and sharp the Caucasus was spreading all around us. A feast for the eyes.
More photos on our Georgian adventure can be found here.