Notti Georgiane, parte II

🇮🇹 Per la versione italiana clicca qui.

Traduzione di Sebastian Petretti.

About Georgian’s Hospitality

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

Matthew 25:35

Being alone again in the middle of the night for the second time felt like it could have been one of the hundreds of other pleasant nights I wish I had lived already. It felt like I have lived here before, to have been brought up between these houses, all this felt like real, but exclusively during the night. Not that I knew where to go, don’t get me wrong, but I knew how to go. For this reason, I decided to homage the places I loved more on the first trip. The fact I knew what was waiting for me helped me cope with the insanely low temperature of a November night.

It felt like home. It felt like I was back home after a long time.

Arrived at the hostel a few meters from Liberty’s Square where I spent my first night in Tbilisi everything felt the same but in reality, much had changed in less than a year. As soon as I got down the bus, buildings, parks and lamps where there when nothing was there before. I loved everything as much, nevertheless. I crossed paths with more people despite the time, yet its essence, rough but so familiar was exactly the same.

I wanted to move on the other side of the city towards Marjianishvili. From the bridge I could stare at the elegance of the skyline’s city meeting such a black sky, that with its nothingness it seemed like sorry of having to steal some of the spotlight the city deserves. The Kura silently reflected its surroundings, with a pale mimetite brush here and there, I was witnessing a living painting which was handing back some of the stars to who had eyes for it. Stunning.

Nonetheless, the fact dawn is still far to come, black which the sky here is made of has the ability to cover and hide anything under it, the night is thick and gives a sense of invisibility to who dares living it.

While I was passing Marjianishvili’s Door I realised the streets are safe here, day and night, no one is tempted to misbehave by the dark, who lives the night has nothing to hide here, it’s just them hiding from the sun… Staring at the Door carefully brought me back to Moscow’s Door, but this time Minsk’s one came to mind as well since between the two times I visited here I had been to Minsk as well. Some old brooms animated by some humble street cleaners were the first hint morning was coming, time to start my journey on the Georgian Golgotha. I had to kneel before Sameba, I wanted to see how it looked up closely while everything else was pitch black.

At spitting distance from the Cathedral, a little bakery just started its peaceful routine. I was freezing cold and would have loved something to eat right now. I poked my nose in and asked if I could buy a loaf of bread, but unfortunately, he had just started the fire so there was some time to wait. He invited me in to wait comforted by the heat of the ground oven. The first breath I took was a strong mix of low-quality tobacco smell and gas; the air was so hot it hurt my throat. It took me a couple of minutes to get used to it.

It took me a little bit more to get used to the idea we could have blown up in any moment, this stuff happens here. Just a few days before a bakery very close to where I would have slept blew up in this same circumstance – in Kiev. Everyone knows it’s a possibility, they just live with it. He’s not alone, and everyone there, ever so kindly, invited me to take their seat. Eventually we all sat down, and I end up just next to where they roll their dough before being baked. As I said, there were others, who weren’t working, they were just there with their friend. An Armenian and another Georgian.

They patiently listened to my brief presentation, ending on where I’m headed to and why. As I stop talking, the Georgian, who was smoking, grabs a plastic bottle filled with samogon; a coffee cup for the “new one” and we’re ready to start with their typical toasts towards a new friendship. “To us!”. “To a good health!”. “To friendship!”. “To the voyage!”. “To a new brotherhood between Italy and Georgia!”.

The samogon couldn’t keep up with all these toasts, and we ended up finishing the whole bottle. Thankfully, the bread was ready to eat. Never have I ever bit something so eagerly. It was delicious, humble yet tasty. Its texture couldn’t have been more satisfying. I got closer to the oven – as I said before, around here it’s caved in the ground, not in the wall – and they show me how the magic happens. The dough is put on a side, squished a bit and just before the freshly baked bread remembers gravity is a thing, the baker grabs it with a pair of clips or barehanded.

I start feeling the alcohol hitting harder then expected, shortly after we didn’t hesitate to dance some lezginka together.

I kept an eye on the Cathedral from my stool every now and then, until once I saw an old lady waiting for the shop to open and a light blue sky. Another day has started, this means my time with my new friends has come to an end, and that I must carry on with my trip. You can never stop for too long when you have somewhere else to go, on a trip as in life. You’ll never know if your next train, marshrutka, or even bus will ever pass again. Especially here you should never rely on the next anything.

After saying goodbye thousands of times and quarrelled to convince them taking my money, I ended up buying another loaf. Happily paying for the equivalent of twenty loafs knowing I’ll owe a big favour anyways, I decided to keep moving south-wards, aware I have a huge gratitude debt towards to very good men. I sincerely hope to meet them again on my next night trip around here.

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