Ushguli

Good morning! After weeks the night was really dark and quiet and we get up for breakfast at 8:00. Here Ulrich admits to being up since 6:30 and having watched the sunrise – I am jealous. There were times when he asked me out for such occasions.

Well, it doesn’t matter. Breakfast is rich and gorgeous and today we are up to something special: at 10 am a guide and 5 horses will wait for us to ride into the valley to the Shkhara glacier. This means cutting a 9 km walk down into 6 km of riding and a walk to the glacier’s entrance.

Watching our girls from behind one could really get the impression, that they actually learned something during their three riding camps years ago. Also my two riding lessons with my sister turn out to have been helpful. At least I know to put my feet near the horse’s belly… But poor Ulrich is shaken badly.

We are lucky though. The horses are very patient and obviously used to incompetent riders, so they mostly walk and surely know perfectly well where they are supposed to go. The only difficulty arises when my right stirrup decides to go. Instead of being fastened with a belt buckle, their length is determined with about 7 knots, the last of which is just going. So no more chance in clinging to the horse but just trying to keep the stirrup from falling off my foot.

Anyway the idea of riding is very good. Walking along the valley would have been rather dull, while this way we have a beautiful experience and still the possibility of a nice walk to the glacier’s gate. Plus during the afternoon the weather deteriorates and we are quite happy to be warmed from below.

Back in the hotel we take a short break. Somehow I fell rather bowlegged and walking is really uncomfortable. Then Lotte and I go to the “cinema”. The daily movie is called “DEDE”, a georgian production in and around Ushguli. We are presented with a predictable Romeo-and-Juliet-story but the pictures of the landscape and the portraits of the actors are photographically very beautiful. Also the film shows many of the old traditions which are still prevalent in the region. DEDE was produced two yeas ago and until today you meet parts of the cast in the village milking cows, chasing pigs and baking Katchapuri.

Visiting the cinema turns out to be a special experience particularly because it is situated in the basement of one of the watchtowers, the seats are made up from three rows of terraced wooden planks made comfortable with a bunch of old sofa cushions, the presentation comes from an old notebook with a projector and the sound squawks from a set of miniature loudspeakers which are completely overstrained. We are shivering with cold and enjoying ourselves perfectly. And just bear in mind: For two years this movie is run five times a day and keeps a family going – now that’s sustainability! And just to tell you: if ever I come back to Ushguli I will go there again and I will make everyone to join me.

When we later return to the hotel it is cold and uncomfortable outside – looks like we enjoyed one of the last warm days of this year. Thank you Ushguli!

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