With the morning sun shining on our beardy faces, we devoured the spaghooters and flushed them down with some chai, provided by the furniture shopkeeper who was so kind to make us a table to comfortably eat our breakfast. Yuri’s knee was feeling better and we were all excited to cycle together again, after our host made sure all our pockets were filled with hazelnuts for the road. On our way to Georgia we saw the snowy mountain tops were coming closer and closer, and we started dreaming about our future snowboarding and skiing time. Bring it on! Along the way a guy threw some clementines at us, not to chase us away but an underhand throw, to provide us with some extra sugar.
In Ardesen, a small town, we made halt and found shelter in a building under construction that looked like an airport control tower. We occupied the penthouse for the night, and were woken up the next morning by some construction workers. They expressed their concern for our health as they thought it was too cold here and advised us not to sleep outside in the winter. Thanks, we’ll keep that in mind next time.
With our hungry minds focused on our breakfast, we failed to prevent a dog from catching our Gopro camera. Sadly, the Gopro didn’t survive this malicious attack. Bad dog! We cut our losses and cycled on, stopping for a short fitness break in the park and a quick dip in a roadside waterfall. The water was freezing, but nothing that could stop us from plunging in this way too appealing pond of clear water. Only seconds after showering under the waterfall are brains were frozen solid again and we had to get out. Refreshing shower indeed, this was a good idea.
We reached the Georgian border early and skipped all the way to the front of the line. The border patrol greeted us and wanted to know where we come from. So we tell them, we’re from Belgium. Mighty Mighty Belgium!
We had a short chat and asked for some Georgian words to learn, but instead of learning us something useful the guards decided it was better to learn us some dirty words in Georgian. Their broad smiles and chit-chat in the Georgian tongue couldn’t hide they were learning us wrong things.
With the Caucasus fading behind us, we were nearing Batumi in the evening. Georgia looks poor and a lot different from Turkey. It has been more than a month since we have seen a church. People are friendly, drivers are crazy. A new culture for us to learn and to appreciate, and we are eager to discover this new terrain.
We settled in a hostel and got acquainted with Mike the Swiss there. We invited him to come celebrate Stef’s birthday together with us, and we went to a restaurant. And so had a very very modest celebration with bottle of Armenian whiskey, chacha (Georgian Wodka), some pie-throwing and a late night gocar race. Sadly the police prevented us from joining the Christmas Choir repetition on the city square, but they appreciated our attempt. Merry Christmas to y’all!
The next day was not our most productive one so far. Anton braved the hangover and took a bus to Tbilisi, to make it there in time to welcome his Nicole from America. She was flying in on the 26th and this was too early to reach Tbilisi by bike. The others stayed in Batumi and enjoyed the Georgian kitchen once again. The food here is cheap and delicious. But really, we can’t describe this, every single thing we ordered at the restaurant was incredible and we ate all we could, not understanding how they can make something so tasty out of so little ingredients. Madame Bovar was the first dish to get our approval, followed by many others.