Cows are evil and bloodthirsty. At least one bull in the mountains of the north is out to eat people, not grass. He made a good show of pretending otherwise so that no one else would believe us, but we know... Evil...
It all started with a trip to Svaneti, specifically to the biggest touristy town up there, Mestia. From Mestia there are 6 or 7 hiking trails to choose from as well as marshutkas to the other villages with equally amazing hikes and views. The hike we chose was one of the shorter ones, just up to a cross that overlooks the town and back down.
Of course, you can't just climb up and what was supposed to be two hours of walking back and forth and slowly making your way up the mountain turned into 3 and a half hours of climbing, walking, and enjoying the views. The first third of the journey was TOUGH. It was almost straight up and didn't seem to end! It went around the mountain and across a little series of waterfalls from the melting snow higher up.
Finally we heard some cows (really mooing and being noisy) and we knew that the really tough part was almost over. Oh how wrong we were.
Remember that mooing? It was coming from one animal; a big black bull. It was in one of the pastures, walking toward the fence that separated the pasture from the hiking road. Well every so often there is an opening in the fence, by, what I have now learned is probably from the stampede of the evil cows. We had walked, maybe, 30 feet throught the path between pastures, we crossed a stretch of water running through the path, and then saw something we couldn't cross. In front of us is this bull, with horns lowered and it is looking at us with SUCH angry eyes. I wanted to take out the video camera, but I was worried about making sudden movements. We stood watching eachother for a bit, then it swung its head to eat some grass. At least that was what it wanted us to think, because then it started pawing the ground. It was evil. It started walking toward us, and we thought it was going to the water, so we crossed the stream to let it get its water, and to let us go along our way. BUT it crossed the water too and kept coming after us. Finally we backed off enough that it went through another hole in the fence and went back into the pasture, and we were able to get by. I then got out my video camera, and you wont see how evil was in the video because it knew I was video taping it and it played the harmless cow again... But I know better.
Anyway, we kept climbing up and eventually clawed our way to the top. Almost literally because we decided not to follow the winding path, but to climb the mountain up to top. And once again, it was STEEP.
But the view was breathtaking and truly special. In the video I made at the top, I mention that I was going to sing, and I did, all the way down. They say it takes 2 hours to go up the mountain, and 2 hours to come down, and it might, but for us, it was 3 ½ hours up and 1 hour down. We had two very good reasons for the faster journey down. 1st we had another run in with the BULL. We had just come down the little hill the Cross at the top of the mountain was on when who should walk onto the path but the big evil bull followed by the rest of the cows. This time, the bull was farther away and we wanted to get off the mountain, so we went by, but I had enough time to get my camera out so that you could see the evil of this cow too.
Later after we had put a major distance between the herd and ourselves, we came upon the pasture that we had been threatened at before. And when I say we came upon mean we realized that we were just above it. We looked at each other and decided it was grassy pastures and the forecast had been for rain (the day was amazing) but why push our luck. We made it to to the bottom where the pastures had begun without breaking our necks. Then we made it to the bottom of the mountain in time to see the world turn different colors. That rain was coming and it was coming with a vengeance. Which, in the couple minutes before it came, turned the sky AMAZING colors... A VERY good weekend.
I have videos of the mountain climb (it was a HIKE) but it won't load so for now, have some pictures to tide you over: