Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jvari & the Sheep Fat Hat

Snaking up to Jvari through the icy mountain roads, we passed yet another magnificent trash tree. Our little grandpa of a driver informed us, through both expressive hand gestures and a bit of Russian, that this was a particularly special tree because after the brides get married in the church of Jvari, they tear a piece of their veil or dress and tie it on the tree for good luck to the next brides to be. So with our good bridal luck in tow, we made it safely up the mountain where we saw the stunning church overlooking the river.

Separated into two different parts, the older part of the church was called the "Hermit Hole." A monk lived at the bottom of a 8 foot hole for seven years and all he was fed was bread and water, or as Nikola (our cab driver told me) "like bird." We unfortunately couldn't decipher why exactly this was. After taking in all the clean mountain air that filled our lungs with icy breath, we huddled towards the church door in search of warmth. The inside of Jvari Monastery was simple and circular with a huge wooden cross extending upwards in the center of the circular church with flowers and lit candles surrounding its base. The church was built in the 4th century by St. Nino, the woman who first brought Christianity to Georgia. It was beautiful, but the view will stick in my memory forever.  (see above) After our tour we headed back to the central bus station in Tbilisi, where we were lucky enough to snag the last Marshrutka (ultra-dangerous mini-bus) to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, at 15:00. Because the trains only run every other day to Armenia, on the even days, we had to make do and get to Armenia any way we could. (Stayed tuned for True Life: I Survived the Marshrutka!)

When we returned to the hostel to grab our things, we left the hostel in search of lunch. But before I could walk a mere twenty meters, and old man literally stopped in the street. Stared at me. Stared some more. Baa'ed at me! As in, he made a sheep's noise in my direction. He laughed, and walked away. No one will ever let me live it down. I was baa'ed at in Tbilisi. Granted the hat is made out of sheep fat and wool, and it kind of smells like a barn. But seriously, check out the hat. Legit, I know. Oh, and a kid baa'ed at me too. Classic really.

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