Batumi - Samtredia -
Everything appears different from Turkey. The food, the people
and even the scenery. Misty snow capped mountains in the
distance, very wooded ravines with waterfalls and old ruins,
gives it a bit of an medieval feel. The day was fairly easy as
we cycled past many traditional homes on large plots for
subsistence farming. The only thing that spoils the scenery is
the old disused factories form the old Soviet 5 year plans.
Many of the villages are also rather dilapidated and appear very
poor. The people are so reserved that they even appear
unfriendly. They stare at as in amazement and the children
appear rather scared of us. We stayed in a room above a petrol
station, with no hot water and torn bedding (we slept in our
14 May - Samtredia - Zestaponi -
So beautiful, rivers, forests, small villages, even although
some are rather abandoned and quite depressing. We found some
camping next to a river in a very idyllic spot. We were still
struggling to get used to the unsmiling people, so different
from Turkey. The language is also rather difficult to master
and appears very much like Russian. We could hardly manage the
basic words like hello, good buy, and thank you.
15 May - Zestaponi - Agara -
We left rather late at 10.45, as it was such a sunny morning and
such a beautiful spot. Stopped at various road side stalls to
buy cherries, neatly platted on a stick. A truly beautiful ride
along the river and through the mountains, over a pass and down
the other side. We stopped in Agara for a Khachapuri, the local
staple. A friendly man next door invited us to camp under the
varandah of a disused bar, as he thought it was going to rain.
No sooner had we pitched the tent and it started pouring down -
what a good thing we accepted his offer. At least we could cook
and sit around outside the tent, as it poured the whole night.
16-21 May - Agara - Tbilisi - 116km
The sky was still overcast as we packed up, but no rain. We
cycled to Gori, the birthplace of Stalin, and had a look
around. There are still an amazing amount of statues of the man
left including a large one in the town center. Every day we
seem to get a bit of rain, but at least its not cold. In such a
lush green place one can expect a lot of rain.
We arrived in Tbilisi and found that there are hardly any cheap
hotels in town. So we took a rather expensive room, but with
breakfast included it is normally a loss to the hotel!!
This time we first phoned the Azerbaijan embassy to find out if
one can get a visa at the border. The answer was defiantly not
so we had to apply at the embassy and wait 3 days for it to be
processed. In the meantime we moved to cheaper
accommodation nearer the centre of Tbilisi - an interesting
place which is popular amongst backpackers called Nasi's Home
22 May -
We packed up and
cycled to the embassy where we, as usual, had to wait in a long
queue. Once inside the building they informed us that we must
pay for the visa at a bank where we'd just come from, and the
visa would only be ready later that afternoon. (Oh the pleasure
of getting visas).