I wake up hearing the alarm and after looking around it seems that I've been quite energetic in the evening.
I've even brushed my teeth. The memories of how I got here from the tavern are rather vague. That's why I don't know what motivated me to sleep with socks on.
Basically I've slept outside. The balcony's door is open and there are tents on the balcony. The view shows Mount Kazbek with no clouds. Taking pictures must wake up people sleeping in the tents.
Lela sets the breakfast table. Tea and bread are followed by a long discussion about life, including cursing Russians in Russian. I leave with a load of good wishes.
It's two degrees outside.
I make a detour to Sno village where some weird monuments should be. No sight of them, only warm sun and view of  snowy mountain. Because of the prolonged breakfast I'm in a hurry again. It's not an easy job to be a tourist.
The clouds are in neighboring valley all the time. As yesterday, all the traffic has gathered to the only dusty stretch of the road. In the middle of happy driving suddenly a policeman stops me. May I be doing something wrong in addition to speeding and being still slightly drunk from last night? When the policeman sees me, he waves friendly that I can go. Very light-minded of him.
At Zhinvali water reservoir I have to turn to Shatili. It's 100 kms from there. I tank in a place that isn't a gas station but you can just get gas there. The old man tells me to drive carefully because the road is bad.
I drive through a few herds of sheep. Occasionally the road is pretty decently paved. A cloud sneaks closer while I'm having picnic by the stream. It swarms of crickets. The place is surrounded by colorflul forests and their shadows.
Some men with forest truck and a horse stop me, bow and let me drive again.
In Korsha village I meet a record big sheep herd. When I'm about in the middle of them they stop. A jam appears to be in front so I spend some time tightly in wool. The sheep rock the car and hit it with their horns. Good that small scratches don't bother anybody.
Asphalt disappears before Barishakho and the road starts slowly going worse. But it's still not as bad as I thought. Less cows on the way.
There could be nice views from the Datvis-Jvari pass if it hadn't turned so cloudy. Maybe on my way back?
I cross the pass and disappear from cellphone network. On the other side there are pieces of sun that slow me down again. And at some places it's possible to race even with 40 km/h. The drive from Zhinvali to Barishakho took 2 hours, further to Shatili another 3 hours, with plenty of photostops.
In Shatili the road forks. I take the upper one and land on the roof of the castle city. Shatili is an abandoned city with towers from 10th-12th century. Two towers have been renovated for a hotel. Rest of the village is a bit further. I see a man with mobile phone. This means there's network.
The towers look deserted. I see a young man but it seems a bit stupid to ask if there could be a hotel somewhere in these ruins. I go down. Two men come and tell me that it's snowing on the pass, the road is closed and I have to stay there for the night. That I had planned anyway. Down there it's warm, 17 degrees. I ask them where's a hotel. They show that if I go around the corner, there is a lone house and I can stay there. Not a word about hotel in the tower. When I start to drive I see a light in a window of one of the towers. I go to check it but the door is locked. Who knows. Actually I should have called a Tbilisi phone number to book the hotel but I can't call anywhere from here.
A friendly elderly couple lives in the house around the corner. They are clearly surprised to see a tourist suddenly in their front yard who wants to stay for two nights and have dinner. I choose the upper room with balcony.
We agree on khachapuri for seven o'clock. Until then I go and have a closer look at the towers. Light shows through a door. The door is closed with a big padlock from outside. Through a crack I can see a table with food and tableware inside. Weird.
This place should be crawling with tourists for it looks unbelievable.
Freshly backed khatchapuri, tomato, grapes. The hostess is modest and doesn't speak much Russian. Up to six months in a year the pass is closed and during that time they live somewhere close to Tbilisi. A Mexican soap opera is on TV as the backroung for dinner. When it ends then the hostess takes out a book and starts to read.
According to the guidebook it's 8 km to Mutso. The hosts say it's 12 kms. There and back it makes only as little as 8 km difference... Then again, 24 km is still shorter than Scoutshike and I have more time and the bag is lighter. Chechens haven't been around for 10 years. It's clear that these people have seen tourists before. They're not the least surprised to find out my intention to walk to Mutso. From the map I see that the road goes along the stream, no ascents and descents.
I boil myself in the shower before heading to bed.

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