Why were we standing on a barren plateau laughing into the howling wind?
It was the dog. We both dislike dogs. This sheep dog crawled towards us across the gravel on its belly all jiggles and wiggles. His black and white coat shiny. His goofy grin contagious. Before we could shoo him away he dashed toward us and laid across Jordan’s feet then rolled onto his back. All smiles.
Not only do we not like dogs, they tend to not like us. This handsome creature caught us off guard.
We laughed and laughed. I took a photo of the dog draped across Jordan’s feet with the valleys and mountains of Armenia parading across the vista in swoops and curls. We were standing on the top of the Selim Pass dividing Georgia and Armenia. Our feet planted on the Silk Road. Next to the 700-year-old hand-carved basaltic stone Orbelian Caravanserai.
A caravanserai was a roadside inn where travelers (caravaners) could rest and recover from the day’s journey. Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe, especially along the Silk Road.
Marco Polo slept here on one of the many stone niches lining the caravanserai’s dark hall the size of a basketball court with a domed roof and stone floor. Ancient fire smoke shaded and shadowed the sculpted walls. One small arched entrance. One way in and one way out. A rest stop and safe haven for traders, marauders, and travelers. And wandering dogs.
We traveled for six weeks this fall throughout the wilds of the Republic of Georgia, Armenia, and Artsakh. I wrote this piece at a writing workshop where the prompt was “When we looked at each other we laughed and laughed.” I’m so glad this memory arose. A delight moment in a delight place.
Photos of Jordan with dog on Selim Pass and Lisa inside the Caravanserai.
Read my other stories about this region: Republic of Georgia—Fabulous Hiking, Fresh Food, & Gracious People and Adventuring to Parts Unknown—Armenia, Georgia, and Karabakh. If you love dance, watch this upbeat dance video filmed in Georgia featuring the Georgian National Ballet.