I wake up in the tent, in my sleeping bag, on my sleeping mat. I know we set up the tent before our orgy. And I know that the sleeping bag and mat were still deep in the backpack. Light smoke draws from the ashes of the fireplace. The sun has already risen, the river is babbling and it makes me realize that I am very, very nauseous and that I have a big headache. I notice that the tent entrance is open and that I am therefore witnessing these morning phenomena. One leg hangs out of the tent. I remember vomiting outside a couple of times during the night.
How did I get into the sleeping bag, how did I get into the tent? When?
The car doors are properly closed. How did this happen? I hear a faint groan from Uli and when he sits up very slowly I read the same thoughts and the same hangover from his face.
The thirst for adventure is subdued, but not gone. And so, after we have put everything back together (we find that half of the 5 liter canister is missing), we continue our way into the unknown. According to Google, we were in Russia, but the road led back to Georgia. Admittedly a very small street on the map.
We get to two more stone tower villages and climb up with severe physical pain. We continue to follow the road and are stopped by a Georgian soldier. He checks our passports and asks where we are going. Truthfully we say that we are following the path and are curious.
The man explains to us the two directions at this junction and which villages we will reach. On condition that we return the same day, he allows us to continue. We cross a steep valley, a herd of cows (“craaazy”) and find the described village on a slope.
But the road still continues. Your condition is even worse than before, but we are curious. We have to cross the river again by a few bends. The current is good, but we have already crossed the river. So, close your eyes and through … and we lose our grip on the ground in the middle of the river. All four wheels are spinning, Uli and I just give a loud “Shi *” from us. The box drifts with the current. I keep going in the hope of finding a stop. And in fact I catch a high stone in the water, over which I find my grip with the front wheels, driven forward and the car pulls itself to the bank. Take a deep breath. We continue down the street and are already standing by the river that separates the street. It is too tricky for us to just try it out. But we have to go back to the last place.
We turn around, I look closely at the river and sense a good line in a generous arc around the direct line from the point where we have to go into the river and where the road begins again. Take a deep breath. And then it goes back into the water. And it works. The Pajero struggles with all four wheels, we hear a lot of stones crashing against the underbody, and then again the slight, familiar sound of the real floor under the rubber.
On the way back we wave to the soldier, pass the place of our night of drinking, the fortress of Shatili, the pass and the racecourse. We find a good spot away from the road where it is flat and ideally there is a lot of firewood.
Around us are the mountains and forest, and for. A screech owl howls when the fire cracks over which I’m frying a sausage.