After a Saturday morning run, a trip to the gym (I joined a very old-school Russian Style Gym here in Tbilisi...I am getting pretty good at estimating the weights: "100 kilos, umm...it's heavy, umm...like 220 pounds"...see, pretty good), and a few hours on my NIP, I went on a roadtrip to Kojori, about 1/2 hour from Tbilisi.
Kojori is the site of a Medieval Fortress, a battle between Georgian Nationalists and Soviet invaders (circa 1921), and a pleasant mountain get away from the hustle bustle and smog of the Big City.
The Fortress is to the right. A very impressive location, built right into the rock. It might be difficult to see, but there is a winding, rusted, and partly fallen down staircase that leads to the entrance (covered by a 'murder hole' in the castle entry).
The stairs were in a sad state of disrepair, and required a little effort to negotiate. Missing treads, sheer cliffs, it was awesome, but no where near OSHA approved. Most of the treads seemed to have broken at the weld points, so I carefully tested before I went up.
From the top of the castle the views were phenomenal. In many ways the topgraphy and climate of this part of Georgia remind me of the foothills of California (think Placerville, not Santa Barbara).
We met a young Georgian butcher on a bird watching trip at the top of the fortress. Like most people we meet he was hospitible and engaging and he told us a little of the history of the fortress in halting english (which was an order of magnitude better than my pigeon Cartoli). We also heard a howling in the distance that sounded a bit like a warbly coyote bark and a dog howl to me. After a bit of back and forth, searching for the word, he told us the howling was from the Jackals. Hmmmm...might be a story in there?