Vardzia and other places

After sport in the night waking up takes more time. Against all forecasts there is no kakhi spiruli but more or less clear sky. Damn.
But what the hell, maybe they'll change the forecast for tomorrow as well.
No breakfast where we live. We find a hotel in Likani where the staff is cleaning up after last night's wedding party and they agree to give us some sandwich, porridge and tea.
Next stop is the headquarter of the nature park. From the guard we don't find out nothing much but I get a decent map (I like maps :).
Drive through sunny mountains. After Atskuri the forest disappears. Certain phase difference in the timing of photostops brings along a driver-change.
We climb to Khertvisi castle. Two towers there have been built on Queen Tamar's order. First sign of habitation already from 2nd century. No-one is home. Further on the other side of the canyon the remains of Tmogvi castle blend in the rock.
Vardzia is a cave city, a bit like Ajanta in India but here it's not meant only for monks and hermits but for living for the whole village. There's also a church with Tamar's picture. And tunnels up and down.
On the way here we saw a sign 'Traditional bakery'. Reaching the place again, we stop and ask what's up. The area is famous for it's bread. A friendly older woman in black lets us in and takes the last breads from he oven. She makes us to sit in the garden, on a freshly lacquered table and goes to pick us some tomatoes, cucumber and paprika. We are her first customers. Then she brings tea, made from the plants she has gathered from surrounding mountains. And self-made jam. Delicious. Like visiting grandma.
When we want to pay she of course starts to protest and then picks for us nuts and plums and forces us to take along one more bread, cucumber and tomatoes. Finally she gives me two roses from her garden. Help.
Since the sun gives us some more time, we head towards Sapara monastery. It is located in the middle of the woods and dates from 13th century. Inside are singing monks. The monks around here look very educated and combed.
Clouds are pink and lilac. There are signs pointing to Turkish and Armenian borders. A neighborhood rich in countries. Strange, Georgia is not so small but if you start going somewhere then sooner or later you bump into a border.
I know there has to be a guest house of Nick and George in Atskuri. The signs point somewhere into the darkness and we are pretty sceptical about the affair. Especially David. With the help of passers-by we find a dark house where it's supposed to be a hotel. After some rattling around it a dog starts to bark and we decide to head back to Likani. When we are already by the car, a man appears and is willing to show us the room. The lights are turned on and a very nice house comes into view. Big rooms and internet. It's possible to get horses for tomorrow. The hostess Maia is thrilled to see us and it makes them especially happy to hear that I found them in the internet and so the advertisement there has been useful.
We chase away three boys from the computer. They are doing home work as we find out later. Then we are asked to come for dinner. In a cozy room there's a generous table for two, you couldn't put any more food on it. Maia still brings fried chicken and potaoes. Throughout the dinner we giggle happily and thank everything for that we didn't drive off. The hosts promise to grill a rabbit for us tomorrow. And there's sauna.
through four seasons

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