Quiet days in ̶C̶l̶i̶c̶h̶y̶ Tbilisi

We were playing a concert in Tbilisi, in a venue called Backstage 76. In the last minute, it was joined by our Couchsurfing host, Christopher Manning, who turned out to be a multiinstrumentalist and experimental musician, and who joined us with his bass clarinette. I quite enjoyed our set, aswell as the concert before us, where Nicka Tseretely on the the Harmonica and Scott Taylor on his Accordion where improvising for around an hour. Unfortunately there is not even a picture from our session this time. All i can offer is the poster of the event 🙂

After our adventures in the mountains we were cycling through the nice georgian landscapes. Everything was beautifully green and lush and the road was finally in good condition and the slopes just perfect, so you would have a nice 獎勵, a reward (that’s how we call the descents after going up for a while. a nice 獎勵 is slowly and continously going down, a bad one is super steep, so you end up just using your breaks all the time, and naturally, they are also over very fast). Unfortunately Hsiang-Hsin felt sick all the time and had a hard time cycling. In addition it was raining almost continously the whole day. Never a lot, but enough to go on your nerves after a while. We still didn’t take a shower for 5 days now, and we already contacted some hosts in the towns ahead. So we decided to hitchhike and do a little fast forward. Well, it turned out to be a big fast forward, because the driver was going all the way to Tbilisi. Well, it was not even 200km, but for Georgian standards, you get through half of the country on this distance. We had a concert coming up in a week there, so actually still some time to cycle. But considering our situation we decided to go with him. The drive there was beautiful, on the whole trip we hardly saw houses, mostly just green. I think for nature lovers. Georgia is really the best bet. But during the ride the rain got worse and worse. On the way we passed an accident and the driver told us this was the 7th accident he passed today. Until we arrived in Tbilisi the number went up to 10! We still hoped that the rain would stop before we arrived, but it just got worse and worse. Soon after we left the car we were soaking wet. We didn’t have any place to stay and no Sim-Card. After walking around in the heavy rain for a while we found a restaurant, that allowed us to sit in their entrance for a while and use their internet. We contacted people on warmshowers, started to call them, with the phone of the guy on the gas station on the other side of the road. But no success. We were also out of money, so i decided to go to change money and look around if i could find a hotel. It took me half an hour walk, and the only hotel i could find, looked fancy and not very happy when i came in their soaking wet and mentioned our bicycles. Just when i went back to tell Hsiang-Hsin the bad news, she told me the good ones! Someone from Warmshowers is willing to take us in for the night! Happily we cycled the 5 km through the continuing heavy rain, and what hasn’t been wet yet, now surely was. On the way i somehow lost Hsiang-Hsin, cycled in a circle for half an hour, trying to find her, and finally asked someone for Internet. He brought me to a bar, bought me a beer, and i contacted her. The russian programmer who brought me here, already offered me a meal, and it was tempting, because it would have been the first proper meal of the day (at 10 PM), but Hsiang-Hsin wrote me they want to leave right now and where to meet them. I quickly said Good Bye to this nice guy, finished my beer, and met with our host. By now, every inch of my clothes was soaked with water. He showed us on the map where his house is, and i took a photo of the map, because Hsiang-Hsins cellphone was dead. It looked very easy, so he got a Taxi and we went on our way. Up the hill. Very up… It was super steep and most of the time we could just push our bikes. We got lost and asked for the way… and continued up the hill. After half an hour, walking up and down the hills, and seemingly walking in circles, asking someone for the way every hundred meter. We stopped a police car, that agreed to guide us to the adress. And down we went! It seemed like all the climbing we did before was in vein, and we would go almost back to where we started. Finally, we turned into another street, and it was going all up again, just now even steeper than before!!! Another kilometer of this kind and we finally arrived at the home of Rob, a cyclist from Belgium, who set out to see the world and stayed in Tbilisi for good. He kindly took us in so spontaniously, and we would spend the next days here, drying our clothes, books and camping gear and finally really ARRIVE in Georgia.

Some nice views over Tbilisi in our neighbourhood. But honestly, it’s quite a demanding city for cyclists, with sometimes extremely heavy slopes, where even pushing requires regular breaks.
I can’t help but see a Swastika, everytime i happen upon this letter. Terrible 😛
In the neighbourhood we stayed in, basically every house had their own grapes. Wine is really big in Georgia!
The first grapes! Aren’t they cute?
Spring was in full blossom when we arrived in Tbilisi. Everywhere it was blooming in all colors and shades. But most happy i was about this find: Wild Rucola! I saw it a few times before in the wild, but this plant really seems to like the most nasty places like in the green aisle next to a highway, or on a wasteland, that looks like dogs and humans alike prefer to come to, to dump their wastes of all sorts. These specimen were growing in a comparable safe environment, with just a little alley passing by and the streetdogs just barking in safe distance 😉 And it was a looot!
Somehow the graves in this graveyard where all in little cages. I am not really sure for what. Is grave desecration here so prevalent or do Georgians just appreciate their privacy, even in afterlife?
That seems to be another interesting mourning tradition. Full body holograms printed on the gravestones.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral. Nice place with a good view and good atmosphere to make some Lari for dinner with street music. The church bell was one super deep tuned gong, which was a magical ending of our jam =)
The miniature shrine churches we knew from Greece were now coming back in Georgia. Seems to be an orthodox feature. I think i remember seeing wooden miniature churches next to wooden big churches in Ukraine aswell.

One more thing we pursued in Tbilisi was getting our Visas for Iran. Since one year, Iran has a kind of E-Visa System and we tried our luck. Just the next day, the answer arrived, and we got… refused. At least that’s what we thought, but when checking my mails, i realized that while Hsiang-Hsin got refused, i got accepted. It would still take her another week and some connections till she finally could pick up her visa in Yerevan. For me it was kind of straightforward. Had to pay 50€ at a bank and had to come back the other day with some documents and could pick it up. If you are interested in my experience or of others, regarding the Iranian E-Visa, you can check my post on this (very helpful) website: Caravanistan
After i picked up my visa, we left Tbilisi for Armenia.

Finally sheeps! Despite seeming like the perfect landscape for keeping sheeps, we couldn’t find any. All we saw was cows and horses. Just before we left Georgia, we finally founds some of Hsiang-Hsin favourite animals and we could määäh our good bye’s to Georgia.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s