|Looking back on our climb|
It is cold - not surprising in view of the altitude - but we are unconditioned for this after the lovely warm weather of the last few days. Many of us are not dressed adequately for this climb. And we get colder as we hang around for quite a while waiting for our picnics which we will have to carry up to the church with us (if I had looked in the picnic bag before setting off I don't think I would have wasted energy carrying it to the top - a whole cucumber, a tomato, a hard boiled egg and a small and stale corn bread were my rations…)
|beautiful flowers along the way were|
some consolation to flagging spirits
|We stop to sing to cheer our damp spirits!|
The shocking pun cheers us up and we press on!
|the scars of the mud tracks - such a shame!|
This church and its separate bell tower were both built in the 14th century. During the invasion by Tbilisi Persians in the 18th century, it is said that this remote church was used for the safe keeping of precious artifacts from Mtskheta, including Saint Nino's Cross. The church is now an active place of worship in the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic tradition.
To our shame, the pilgrim in many of us turns to tourist as we make a bee line to the blazing stove just inside the church before even noticing the interior or feeling the spirituality of the place. I don't even have any photos of the interior.
The weather has turned for the worse again, there is a biting cold wind up there and it is trying to rain again. I have little appetite for my picnic, yearning instead for a hot cup of tea and a huge piece of comforting but forbidden cake. No chance of either! I certainly have no energy reserves at all to even contemplate the walk back down, and with several others load into one of the 4WDs to take us back down into the valley. That was quite some experience I can tell you!
It has turned into a lovely afternoon and evening. While waiting for the fragmented party to regroup in Kazbegi, we find an excellent little café/restaurant where we can warm ourselves up with hot drinks. The hot chocolate is delicious, very like the drink they serve in France which resembles hot thick chocolate custard; very comforting.
|view from the top!|