The Great Caucasus adventure ends

Armenia

Up to the north

IMG_4051Wild flowers were rioting across the boarders. The main artery between Georgia and Armenia barricaded my armed soul. I let the heavy breath of the wind land on my sweaty skin and evaporate my sins. I drained my forgotten dreams over the green valleys of the Debed Canyon hoping that they will last. I sent the swallows to catch the promises that I once blew away. The charming monasteries of Haghpat, Odzun and Sanahin were auscultating my secret desires.  I led my handicapped spirit to heal its wounds inside the chapels of the muddy villages. I let my stingy tears travel through the hanging wires. I set my consciousness on the railway tracks of the rusty future. I put my darkness rest in peace and I pulled my light out of my fist. I indulged myself in reveries. I was free.

Yerevan

IMG_4339The iced heart of Mt Ararat was searching for the city’s snugness. I could see the buildings from the Cascade standing like scarecrows in the fields of horrors. I could hear the poor sounds of high heels penetrating deep inside my ear drums like thorns of some poisonous wildflower. The women of modernity were making their way out of the dugout of forbidden passions and the sky was raining regrets above their heads- the reconciliation of the universe and its errant souls. The lath-hammer of the night was reaping the thick clouds of uncertainty. The city was naked under the lucid moonlight. A god- fearing muse of vivid passions.

Down to the south

IMG_4460IMG_4653I put on my wings and I did all my way down to the Yeghegis Valley. The vicissitudes of the height were scandalizing my senses. Sweet- sounding sundrops were my shield against the threatening winds. I dived into the flesh of the legendary ancestry to find the monasteries of Khor Virap, Noravank and later on Tatev wrapped inside a fairytale. Their atmospheric magic reincarnated wild legends of kingdoms and conquerors from the past. The untamed heroism of years of architectural tinkering was marked on their variation but their uniqueness was discovered in the frugality of their pure existence. Embalmed into the silence of its valleys the Caucasus fell asleep and so did we. The world turned its back and it never turned back. Our adventure had come to an end.

More photos on our Armenian road trip can be found here.

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The Great Caucasus adventure continues

Azerbaijan

Laza

IMG_302918 hours of train, 3 hours of marshrutky, 3 hours of driving. Mild electroshocks of curiosity pulled me out of the numbness of my body. I saw myself as the snake charmer of the road dyne in which our black Lada Niva was lost. The promising valleys were all standing there untouched with the pure wind brushing their fresh mop of hair and the soft rain oiling their curvy bodies. ‘’If I look long enough into their charming abyss I might put the evil eye on them. But they are beautyproof. They can ward it off with no fear.’’ A cup of warm chai and grapes, that skinny wise looking dog on my knees and the night fairy of the misty valleys hypnotised my fragile spirit. I lost myself in the fog of my dreams. No fear, no regret, only freedom.

Xinaliq

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I woke up on the peak of my heart.I had flown all the way up, I was 2.335m high.I could see well, fresh brewed wind had wiped out all my poisonous worries. I had made it, I was here among the real people with the warm smiles and the exotic souls. I looked at them, I touched them and i lived the way they showed me. They found their place inside my ignorant heart, I gave it to them. I prison no memory, I simply keep it like a hidden treasure. Magically wrapped inside its spooky clouds Xinaliq was now mine.

Baku

IMG_3931I walked fast. I saw people looking at me, i speeded up. The tyrannosaurs of modernity blocked my way. Luxurious facades, seductive ladies with their marble hearts. I forgot how to fly, I lost my pride in the sky.I felt smaller and smaller, I was gradually shrinking. I kept my head down and i learnt to behave. Being back to civilization showed me the way. Skyscrapers pained my eyes but i didn’t fear. The Caspian sea was all that I could hear. I made my way through the tiny stone paths where the patterned carpets and oil lamps whispered the legends of a glorious past. A cloud of madness was hiding the cenotaph of all the future desires. Gentrified mindsets, this is not what I admire.

 Mud volcanoes, Qobustan

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I was now in the desolated semideserts. I dived into the deepest recesses of humanity. Mud was giving birth to slow paced melodies of relief.  The volcanoes were resting under the firing sun. A while later I could feel the vibes of antiquity. The petroglyphs were exposing their engraved secrets. My eyes played with their symmetric lines and milled their rough surfaces. The sun went down and the sky got naked. Gallant darkness ripped off the greedy clouds. The sparks of fire warmed up our tired souls. Wine and tasty meat proved to be the best recipes for sleep.

More photos on our journey around Azerbaijan can be found here.

The Great Caucasus adventure begins

Georgia

Tbilisi  

Old Town TbilisiJust 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.

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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.

view from Nariqala fortress

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.

Mtskheta

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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.

Davit Gareja

IMG_3977Early 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.

IMG_4007The 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.

Kazbegi

IMG_4836IMG_4950IMG_5032The 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.