Ha! So I have just realised that I have been on the cusp of conquering Mar Musa II now for about two months. And no ... I didn't get lost, kidnapped by elves or so drunk on Georgian red I married a man called Beso and have been passing my days throwing clay pots.
I am actually back in Istanbul now.
But let's pretend I'm not.
Let's finish this story, shall we?
So the Gergeti Trinity Church is perched on a small mountain in the shadow of the towering Kazbegi peak which scrapes the heavens at 5034 meters. Despite being a renowned climb-beast ( I have been known to take the stairs at work from time to time) my plan was not to scale Kazbegi but rather reach this pretty little church instead. It looked so other-worldly from where I was staying. Like it belonged in Middle Earth or some other kingdom where fairies brew gin punches and unicorns spin candy floss from their magnificent alicorns.
Now despite being a climb-beast and conqueror of Mar Musa, it wasn't an easy trek. Even though the weather was kind to us the, climb was difficult because every so often the snow would give way underfoot and I found myself spending a lot of my time picking myself up out of little valleys of fallen snow... in sandals and socks. Not my finest fashion hour.
Along the way we met a dog who wanted to help us.
And then a little further on when we were beginning to think we perhaps were really lost and the church was an illusion brought on by too much grape juice, a wandering, jolly Slovakian appeared loaded with beer, biscuits and vodka. Morning Tea time! Hooray!
Watered and fed we continued with our newly acquired friend who insisted on speaking in Slovakian with me all the way to the top and was particularly interested in knowing about Kangaroos, Aborigines and the big red rock. Inexplicably I was able to understand everything he said and started translating to the Polish girls.
Morning Beer + altitude = I can speak Slovakian.
When we finally reached the plain on which the church squats, it was such a feeling of exhilaration I wanted to leap for joy but that I knew I would land on my bottom which I did a number of time during the final ascent anyway.
Our beer buddy left us at that point because, in a truly surreal James Bond moment, two of his friends suddenly came skiing well and truly off-piste (or already pissed), down the mountain behind us. The last we saw was him whooping in the air, waving a bottle of vodka.
The rest of the time was spent exploring the plain and the church and I took so many photos, which I love, I wish I could share them all