Saturday, June 2, 2018

Kakheti on the Rocks

On Friday morning, our trusty driver, Khvicha, introduced us to our new guide -- Tornike, a promising young economics student, very knowledgeable and with good English. We spent the day in and around a picturesque "complex of rock-hewn monasteries in the Kakheti region"- to quote the itinerary we got from our tour organizer. See a couple of pics below:
David Gareji Monastery

David Gareji Monastery

By now I know that the monastery was founded by one of Georgia's most admired kings, David the Builder. Stories and statues of him abound. What you can't see in the above pics nor read about, is how slippery those rocks are when climbing up them, and when sliding down them. No, you're not supposed to slide down... you're supposed to be wearing good trekking shoes, and place your well-shod feet very judiciously and carefully, and... well, I was doing fine until the last couple of yards, when my left toe hit an unaccommodating rock, my jeans-clad tush hit the trail, and my right knee hit a rough rock, and there I was, at the bottom of the trail. No harm done, really: just a bruised toe, a scraped shin, dusty jeans, and an embarrassed grin. I'm sure I was neither the first nor the last to stumble on this treacherous trail. And our guide was extremely gentlemanly throughout.
Michael, Tornike, very-smooth-rocks
Regardless of the above slip, the view from these structures is beautiful, worth every step of the climb.
That evening we discovered the Caucasian restaurant mentioned in my previous post, incidentally. And the next day, Saturday, we continued to explore the Kakheti region. But not before helping ourselves to the Saturday selection of cakes at the breakfast buffet: 
Weekend breakfast buffet, Ameri Plaza Hotel, Tbilisi
Our guide had told us about the importance of Saint Nino, the woman who introduced Christianity into Georgia, or introduced Georgians to Christianity, in the 4th century AD. I gathered her heritage, and her tomb in the Bodbe Nunnery, were very meaningful to him, and to many believers belonging to the Georgian Orthodox Church. 
Bodbe Nunnery
However, I myself am not religiously-inclined, and my interest in places of worship is, well, not of the worshippy kind. Yes, I'm interested in the culture and traditions of the countries I visit. I'm impressed by aesthetic architecture. I'm impressed by beautiful old buildings, be they atop mountains or on islands
Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
in the center of town or on an island that's in the center of town (Ile de la Cite, duh!), or in exotic places like Cambodia: 
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Anyway, by the time this trip was over, I couldn't tell one church from the other, nor remember which one was where and what was special about them. May all the relevant gods forgive me.
- to be continued... -

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