Monday, 8 September 2008

The road to Pasma

The track from Dartlo to Pasma is just that. A track but good enough for the obligatory 4x4 white Nivas or Ladas, although not so much this year because of the terrible weather previuosly which had washed part of the roads away. The track follows the river, hugging the shale slopes. Last year we forded the river which felt like a real risk at the time.

Just one of the tributaries making its way to the river .When I was 15 I don't remember this type of adventure. I can only hope such experiences will prepare the girls for their own future adventures.

If you are wondering where was the back-up team with the bags and luxuries. Well I'm sorry, we only had what we could carry on our horse's. Although Goggi, our horseman, appeared to only have a sleeping bag and nothing else.

On the trail to Pasma the surrounding landscape closes in and it seems as though the mountains are taking a grip on your soul. It feels like a deeply sacred place and judging by the ancient towers built an eternity ago I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt that way.

This gentleman from Pasma was picking thyme by the roadside. The Tush make what they call mountain Chai or mountain tea to you and I from the thyme that they pick.

Our homestead for two fantastic days in Pasma.

A view from our homestead looking at one of the towers in Pasma, where I might add only men can visit. The Georgians live in a very patriarchal society.

Breakfast in Pasma and I appear to have dropped something in my lap. Typical.

The girls hanging out. Life in Tusheti for young people is very social. Loads of chat and in the evening more gossip by the fire somewhere in the centre of the village. In Pasma the young people take turns reciting or making their own poetry by the fireside well into the night.

A magnificent Pasma tower. These giant edifices were used to house villagers in times of invasion from the Cechen over the border.

The veg garden behind our homestead. The food is always so fresh and perfect in Tusheti. I think it must be something to do with the clean air and organic growing.

This view is from the village looking up at the Church/Shrine. A very holy place indeed and as before, no women are allowed near this hallowed place. A significant part of the village was set aside for Shrines and the Church although I firmly believe the church predated Christianity and on first impressions Pasma appears to have been some sort of religious centre for Tusheti.

Who needs a shower when you have a bucket of cold water and a good sister?

Me, at one with the world.

This view is from Pasma looking down onto the valley below. Pasma sits on a vantage point looking down at the valley below.

This helicopter supports the boarder guards and kept passing over the village. An incongruous sight in Pasma.

Our host in Pasma.

We discovered many of these inscriptions on stones as part of the buildings in Pasma. I would love to understand more about their purpose and meaning.

Hegho just up the valley towards Chechenya.

On our second day in Pasma we wanted to make our way to Hegho which is the last inhabited village in the valley close to the Chechen boarder. Our horses had to cross the river without us and back again because the path on our side was so bad.

Iona and Irma sharing a horse, which is common in Tusheti. At least we didn't have our rucksacks on this occasion.

On arrival close to Hegho, we were greeted by these very welcoming Georgian guards. The girls were delighted but I expect not as much as the guards were.

Returning over the river our foal nearly got carried away by the swift river current.

Melissa - who will not thank me for this picture but I like it.

Our trip to Hegho was to the end of the valley - well as far as we could go without papers. The following day Melissa and the girls were to climb with the horses over the pass and I was to travel partly by horse and retrace our steps to find a 4x4 and then on to Verkhovani where there was another festival and some wild hose racing. I had been over the pass previously and I knew my health was not up to such a tough trip but hey ho.

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