In the valley of Inguri River

A dense green mist spreads over the valley of the Inguri river, we look down on it from above, the road winding along the top rim of the canyon. Svaneti, Georgia’s northernmost province, was linked with the outside world only by mountain trails for thousands of years, so nobody made any real effort to occupy it. And so the rule of the Dadiani princes, who were only nominally dependent on the Russian Tsar, lasted up until Communism. “This road was built by Saakashvili”, our driver says in awe, while dodging the skinny cows and pigs, who cross at their glacial leisure, as well as the rocks that fall onto the roadbed, while passing over a dizzying abyss, “they did everything then, the current government nothing”. We enter a tunnel, from whose ceiling a spring is dripping copiously onto the road. The marshrutka stops under it, reversing back and forth, rubbing itself under the free car wash, much like the pigs yesterday against the wall of Gelati monastery.

We stop at the Jvari Pass, “otdykhat, eat and drink a little bit”. “How long will we stay?” “Fifteen minutes, half an hour, as long as it feels good”, the spunky little driver invites us in. A wooden hut, with two tables, we eat hot mutton stew, and the driver pours us glasses of orange juice from his own bottle. The neighbors come together at the arrival of the bus, a great platter of savory cheese pastry, khachapuri is ordered, which they accompany with chacha, a local grappa distilled with orange. Another minibus arrives, a loud-voiced man joins the company with his daughter and her boyfriend, the whole company is hanging onto and laughing at his stories. Then, at unanimous request, the girl produces a panduri, a Georgian guitar, and begins to tune it. “This is why I came to Georgia,” says Lloyd in delight.

Chemiguli shenmogelis – My heart is waiting for you

Chemiguli shenmogelis guli ankara
amdenikhnis molodinma guli tagala
meshen gamigeb chemo engulo
kalmakhebis sabudaro Enguro ankara
My heart is waiting for you, but
I’m tired of waiting so long.
You will understand me:
there are many fish in the Inguri river.

Svanur koshkze artsivebi skhedan – Birds are sitting on the Svan towers

Svanur koshkze artsivebi skhedan
khivianda bans adzleven mtani
ar sheshinde genatsvalos deda
nanil nanil nanaila nanil

Garetsiva kharishali gminas
elvam dasva khedebs okros tmani
daidzine farskvlavebsats sdzinavt
nanil nanil nanaila nanil

Ushishari Ushba hrubleps ikhvevs
nislishi tvlemen Ushguli da tsani
mamasheni kakholia jihvebs
nanil nanil nanaila nanil

Dromova da mtepshi tsakhvalt ertad
kamezrtebi ushishari Svani
tavs da oijakhs uertgule marad
nanil nanil nanaila nanil
Birds sit singing on the Svan towers
and the mountains also sing with them.
Don’t be afraid, mother’s dear little one,
nanil nanil nanaila nanil

It is cold and windy outside,
as a golden-haired fire is burning
Sleep, for the stars also sleep
nanil nanil nanaila nanil

Mt. Ushba doesn’t fear the gathering clouds,
the fog and clouds descend on Ushguli village.
Your father went out hunting for mountain goats
nanil nanil nanaila nanil

When you grow up, you’ll go hunting with him,
you will grow up a fearless Svan
you will be faithful to yourself and your family
nanil nanil nanaila nanil

And by this afternoon we have arrived to the upper stream of Inguri, under Ushba Mountain, to Ushguli, the highest-lying settlement of Europe, the land of the Svan towers

2 comentarios:

MOCKBA dijo...

Wow, so you, too, have arrived to this highest village in Europe which is located in Asia :) ? BTW I wondered if spelling it "Enguri" has become the norm in English, but apparently it is still Inguri

Studiolum dijo...

Thank you! To be on the safe side, I have always used the Romanized Georgian names on the maps. And yes, we reached it, and pulled by oxen at that!