There was once Georgia

Kazbek

Sunday 31 st of July 2011

Welcome to Georgia!

Welcome to Georgia!

Here we are, finally, in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, at the Grand Hotel. After we get accommodated, we decide to ‘explore’ a bit the city. We had only two hours at our disposal, not very much time. We went to bed by 9 o’clock because next day we had to wake up early, but, Caucasus, we are here!

Monday, August the 1st 2011

Me and the giant

Me and the giant

I was sleeping so well when I suddenly heard knocks on the door… I was so sleepy that I didn’t have the guts to get out of bed. I told myself that he would leave, if nobody gets up… But he didn’t, he was knocking harder and harder. Alexandra, one of the girls I was sharing the room with, woke up and opened the door. It was my father (not that it could have been anyone elseJ) who, from the moment he entered the room, began telling me lot of stuff… I just woke up, and it seemed as if he was talking in another language, a language I couldn’t understand. When he finished talking, he stared at me, waiting for an answer, but I couldn’t say anything else at that moment, so I just said ok. He got out of the room, and me, happy he had finally left, I lied down on my bed. I stood there for some seconds, trying to get over my laziness and get up. I had no idea of what he had said, but I guessed he wanted me to get ready. In ten minutes, I was all dressed and had my luggage done, so I went downstairs to have breakfast. Twenty minutes later, we were setting our backpacks in the bus. In three hours, we were supposed to arrive to Kazbegi, the village situated at the foot of the mountain. I was tired, so I decided to take a nap, but I slept only for one hour. We finally arrived to Kazbegi. The rest of the team hired horses to carry the heavy luggage. We didn’t, so it was much more demanding. While I was carrying 20 kilos, and dad 35, the rest were carrying only 10, or less.

the giant in front of us

The giant in front of us

We began climbing uphill. I never knew why they were walking so fast the first day, which is one of the most difficult days.

While climbing, I was admiring the view in front of me, and behind me, I was watching the beautiful Sameba Monastery surrounded by fog.

The first day is one of the most demanding days, so we walked a bit slower. We arrived at the first camp only in the afternoon. We pegged our tents, had dinner, and then we began telling stories, but the dark came so fast! We went to bed by 9 o’clock.

Tuesday, August the 2nd 2011

The camp in the morning

The camp in the morning

Do I really have to wake up at 7 o’clock??? During my vacation too? Well… kind of a vacation, but I was the one who choose to come here so I have to support the consequences. When I woke up, I realized there was kind of an agitation outside. Some were having breakfast, others were packing, while me I was just starting to rise and shine. Well, one just has to hurry a little bit.

crossing the glacier

Crossing the glacier

For the next hour we kept walking on boulders over boulders till we reached the glacier.

It was so big, and full of crevasses so deep that one could not see the bottom.

The monastery

The monastery

Hours later we got the meteo station where after settling down for lunch we decided to go for an acclimatization trip up  the mountain to a little church. It was a little white, orthodox church that could accommodate no more than 3 people at the time. I loved it but I found such a lack of respect for others when one of persons from our group compared it with an ecological toilet. I am so tired of these people that keep blaming whatever is even remotely related to faith or country.

I entered it and prayed, asking God for help and support for the next day climbing. Once back at the camp we found out that the  good weather was about to change in 2 days so that we decided to attack the peak the next day instead of waiting for one more and get some rest. I was so excited and afraid, but also I was sensing something inside of me that was giving me strength. I knew it was my faith in God.

Wednesday, August the 3rd 2011

Surrounded by mountains

Surrounded by mountains

It was 1 o’clock in the morning… the thought that in two hours I will set off for the peak wouldn’t leave me alone. Every possible question came into my mind. Suddenly, I heard something, a voice that made my thoughts stop. It was dad, who had noticed I couldn’t sleep and said we should slowly start getting ready. There were lots of stuff to do, it was as if I had a list that never finished.

Always smiley

Always smiley

We managed to get our backpacks ready and went to the dinning room which looked like kind of an ant hill. Everyone was going back and forth not knowing what to do next. I was scared, and, seeing the fuss that was over there made me be more frightened. The thoughts came back again, and, as 3 o’clock was getting closer, the thoughts were multiplicating.

Most of the group was outside, in a cold grim, with a strong wind that blew all the dust in your eyes.

We were all stressed and scared, we were just staring one to another and smiling, as an encouragement, but we couldn’t describe the fear that was growing in each of us.

On the road again

On the road again

Then we set off for the peak. In front of me, I couldn’t see anything else than the light of my flashlight, I couldn’t feel anything else than the cold that was piercing my body, and I couldn’t hear anything else than footsteps, footsteps everywhere, and, from time to time, the heart beats that reminded me where I was and made the thoughts come back. But this time there weren’t thoughts that scared you, they were thoughts that made me regain my faith. Thoughts that said I will get to the top, that everything will be ok.

On the way to the top

On the way to the top

Because of some technical issues, our rope fell behind. One of the boys had lost his crampon and had to turn back and look for it. Seeing this we decided to get out of the rope and walked fast in order to reach the next one. As some of the members of this rope were very tired they decided to wait for the last one and we took their place.

Kazbek_2011 210In about half an hour we managed to get level and then outrun the rope of the other team has been way ahead of us. Of course this was not a contest, but just a little achievement. The sun had started to rise and we could admire the fantastic view in front of us, and also the peak.

A little break

A little break

We walked on for hours and hours.

I was experiencing nausea because of the fast pace imposed by our rope leader, totally inappropriate in these conditions but some how I managed to keep walking.

So we summited the peak of Kazbek.

On the top

On the top

Dad had tears on his eyes as he was congratulating me and saying: Kido, you did it again.

He looked so proud of me, that I don’t know how I managed to save myself from bursting into tears. Our beloved flag of Romania has summated Kazbek also, with the help of God.

Heading back to the refuge

Heading back to the refuge

We started climbing downhill. It was difficult as the snow was soft now and us tired but finnally we got back to the base camp. Out of 19 climbers 15 had managed to get on top and the climber that had lost the crampons showed us what he was made from the next day when he managed to summit the peak together with a Georgian guide.

The group from Tg Mures proposed another peak for the next day, but I can still hear the words one of them ha said: we’ll see in the morning.

Thursday august the 4th 2011

Looking  back

Looking back

I was sleeping as I heard my dad talking to me and telling me to wake up. I looked at my phone.It was 7:00 am. I though I was having a nightmare but I wasn’t. I go up, dressed myself and went to the kitchen where the only person I knew was dad. All our heroes were sleeping furiously. I decided to practice tolerance and  just smiled at dad.

We set off downhill by 11 and after 5 long hours that stretched forever we got to the village of Kazbegi where we attacked the first bar we spotted in order to have a bear and soda. Finally, hours later I was laying in my bed so happy that I was given this opportunity.

Friday august the 5th 2011

Today is the first day that I can sleep as much as I want. So I woke up late and went for  breakfast. An hour later dad shows up, staring at us as if he was seeing our faces for the first time and with such an enthusiasm depicted on his face that I had to burst out in laughter.

In the afternoon we got back to Tbilisi, where we unpacked and went to town to celebrate the victory. Interesting evening. We came back at the hotel by midnight.

Sturday, August the 6th 2011

Bathumi, on the other end of the sea

Bathumi, on the other end of the sea

Batumi, here we come! We are going to the seaside! On the other side of the Black Sea. The only nasty thing is that we have to travel 8 hours on the bus.

I thought it was going to be boring, but with the guys from our group, you couldn’t get bored. They either said jokes, either began discussing politics.

The most important is that we had fun. We reached Batumi by 5:00 pm and after we checked in we set off for a trip in the city. A nice and well groomed city, Batumi features a lot of statues, plenty of vegetation and a fine sidewalk alongside the sea.

We came back by midnight and instead of going to sleep we went for a deep in the sea. Wonderful. In the middle of all that fuss a guy attracted my attention. It was George, that was staring intently at the sea. He said that when he was a little boy he used to wonder where was the end of the sea. And now he was sitting on it. He just could not believe it.

I was very touched.

So, midnight, all of us in the sea, the adults sharing a bottle of cognac when I hear dad’s voice:Hey, drawn if  you must but do not drop the bottle. One of the boys was struggling with the waves that were intent to steal the bottle off his hand. It was so cool. Too pity an hour later we had to go to bed.

Sunday august the 7th 2011

Good morning.

Today we have not done much, a little bit of dipping in the sea, visiting the city and back to Tbilisi.  I am glad I had the opportunity to travel in the fore seats and have a better view of the landscape.

Monday august the 8th 2011

Till evening we visited a lot of churches, monasteries, museums and bars. I am exhausted now. I noticed that even they are orthodox as we are their churches are not painted on the inside as ours. As soon as I got to the hotel I jumped in bed.

Kazbek_2011 1003

Tuesday august the 9th 2011

Our last day in Georgia, so we decided to walk deeper in the city not just the downtown. So, me, dad, and Bogdan set off.

The buildings are very old and a lot look like the tower of Pisa. Cracked all over, but provided with those very beautiful Georgian balconies.

Kazbek_2011 1085We also visited a synagogue. As we step in we are asked by an old Jew where do we come from. When hearing that we are Romanians he looks at us and then in a perfect Rumanian language says: Long live Great Romania. Well what could we say more to this than Thank you so very much? Amazing. Dad was laughing his head off.

Finally we set off for the airport. On one hand I can not believe we are leaving but on the other I am so glad. I am going home. I asked everybody around to write something in my diary, as a souvenir. They all complied to my request. Thank you guys.

After a two hour flight we arrived to Istanbul. Because we had to spend three hours in Istanbul, the guts from Targu Mures proposed to take the subway. We arrived to Bakirkoy, a metro station in Istanbul. They wanted to buy some beers but the turks kept on telling us: alcohol, iok, rabatan! You are not allowed to drink during this holiday. So we bought beers from the supermarket. Me and dad went to buy something to eat, and when we came back, the guys weren’t there anymore. We couldn’t see them anywhere, but suddenly we hear someone calling us… I looked around… nowone…

-‘Up here’, says the voice. I look up. There was an abandoned building, 20 metres high, with a round staircase, and they had climbed to the top! Doctors, lawyers… all of them on the top of the staircase… Well, why not? J From up there, we could see Istanbul. It was so big. And probably I couldn’t even see a quarter of it. They had their beers and then we went back to the subway.

In the airport, they searched through all my hand luggage, and finally found some flashlight batteries that weren’t even used! Terorist!  : ))

Finally back home

Finally back home

It’s 23:30, we are flying above Bucharest. I feel the way the plane starts going, slowly, downhill. Bucharest becomes bigger and bigger, the lights are shining spreadingly, and then, boom! We touched land. I’m home. I’m finally home. It doesn’t matter that I am in Bucharest, I am home, in Romania. There’s still a long way to Deva, our hometown, but it doesn’t matter, we did it! We did it! I thank God one more time, and I hit the road, the road that takes me home. I hope I will inspire other kids also, and be a model for them, so that they abandon the virtual world, and travel, travel all over the world, because by traveling, you see new places, meet new people and learn lots of interesting things.

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1 Response to There was once Georgia

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