Another exhilarating helicopter ride lifts us to Shenako, a second village, where the hidden spirit of place presents itself. When Denise Rocco moves in too close to a pagan shrine of animal's horns and candles, she is politely asked to move away. As at Kazbegi, the mountain gods seem alive. But these feel more friendly, like their luxurious green landscape.
All too soon the helicopter drops out of the sky again. This time the pilot Zaur is waving urgently from the cockpit. "Hurry," yells Soso over the sound of the rotors. "He wants us to leave, the weather is changing. We could be stuck here for a week!"
As we run for the whirling blades I suddenly realize that wouldn't be so bad at all.