The sweaty mountain

9 Dec 2019

Kazbegi, end of March, 2019

I am deeply attracted to alleys, to secondary roads, to forgotten and shabby spaces, free from the petty influence of mass tourism.

Near to Gudauri, repaired from the luxurious ski resorts and hidden on the back of Kazbegi, the precious mecca of mountain lovers and internet likes, there is *** a village in almost total isolation in a marvellous gorge, surrounded by towers that are now fragments, behind gigantic peaks covered in snow and wrinkly pastures.

To get there is necessary a trek along the penury of unwelcoming houses: a timid conglomerate of individuals who live in total desolation by the edge of the road.

Walking through is digusting, the road is filled with trash, the once pristine river is summerged in plastic. It is mandatory to keep going straight ahead until the sky opens, until the houses of the farmers can be found.

It’s a sunny day, but as often happens at the end of march: rain.

I take off my shoes. With me I have nothing but a small backpack, a woolen cover, a bottle of water, a caricatural big piece of bread.

A very cold streams marks the begining of the the track uphill.

Idling, a few steps from me, a group of three men are having a pic nic. They call me to join. They offer me wine, food, they do longer and longer toast, the last ones in tears.

There is not much need to communicate a lot: my georgian is very poor, my russian non existent, my gestures the only abundant resource, their good will my only light: in a few hours the winter sun will set fast, and I, super unprepared, ask for advice.

Each one gave me a judgement: crazy, drunk, reckless: I am by myself, without a phone, few banknotes, my notebook, a pen, a huge curiosity to go until the end.

I agree.

The village is only two hours away from where I say goodbye to the men; one of the companions suggest me a name I could trust once I get there.

I carry on.

It is not very wise to walk while drunk on mountain routes. This ones were not particulary dangerous, however the drowsiness and my wobbling, do not make pleasant anything but the desire of a bed in where to crash and sleep: I admire the incredibly green and wet pastures, I contemplate the idea of sleeping in one of the abandoned cars, to knock on/down the door of one of the semi-deserted houses: I decide to proceed.

I walk alone until I see a car: a guy and two russian girls who stops to take pictures: we choose to ignore each other.

Right by the sunset, I start to see ***: I am calmer and start to walk slower.

Many adore to admire from the top the bottom. I was at the top yet higher peaks were around: the village is enclosured, farther away there’s the unaccesible border with Russia.

I ask to the first person I meet to show me, if possible, the house of my future host: she refuse to host me: I failed: I knock on the next door: I am greet in.

We try to know each other, she offers me bread, cheese, and tea. I observe the spartan and warm place: I ask for a bed, I am very sleepy: it is not very polite: my host understand, she smiles at me as if I were some regular visitor. She offers me more wine: is vinegar, she introduce me to her husband who kindly offer me more...

At the second floor of the house a bed awaits for me: it’s comfortable; heavy wooden blankets, keep away the cold. I take off my clothes: I fall asleep.

I sudden wake up at the deeps of night: I need to go to the toilet outside.

I am struck: the sky is clear, an outstanding moon is competing with the starred universe: the mountains are all around: more than white: they reflect all this light.

I won’t describe the cold.

I come back to my room, uncapable of sleep I go outside again, and again: I have became an insect, a moth, exclusevely attracted to all that brightness, to the purest of moons, the stars, the snow covered mountains, the darkness below the horizon line.

The next day I wake up late, I go to the kitchen: they offer me warm milk with sugar, bread, cheese, wine.

My host, Tamara, wants to introduce me to her two shy cows.

“Its still very cold, they need to remain inside” she tells me, she smiles.

We salute each other with affection.

On my way back: another surprise: I notice a green side of the hill I am walking by: it was all covered in water: the green wall of the hill was sweating, pouring tons of water from the inside.

I drink.

Later someone will tell me that in a more remote past those waters used to be very precious and looked after. They are still precious: a mountain that sweats is a fable.

I am going back to the ugliness, the polution, to the desolation, the main road.

At the village of *** only eight people live, all of them very old.

I notice standing like a pole on the road a babushka: she is a sure sign.

I will wait with her the martshutka that will take me home.

#Georgia  #Kazbegi  #Caucasus