Tbilisi is a story that will not be easy to explain here, as every one of us created their own storyline again, which is usual during our prolonged stays in big cities.
Stef and Anton went snowboarding with Nicole on the 30th of December, and tried to find a place to sleep in Gudauri, the ski resort 120 km to the north. Oli counted on this, and tried to join them, only to take a taxi back with his three friends because everything was fully booked. Anyway, better luck tomorrow.
The next day, the four cyclers and their American woman took the taxi together early in the morning to enjoy powdery snow and kill it on the slopes. Yuri decided not to stress his knee and watched from the lounge, laying back in a sitting bag with his nose in his book and the sun on his bun. The others took a chairlift to the top of the mountain and rocketed down the slopes. Hell yeah! Snowboarding in Georgia, we didn’t expect this to happen, what a nice coincidence! Every now and then we met Yuri at the hang-out, and at sunset we all rode down together, Yuri supporting us from the chairlift above. The view over the mountains was amazing, the sun played some light tricks on the snowy mountain tops and made the whole scenery really magical. This ski resort felt much more untouched than resorts we know in France, the village was tiny and there are very few people on the slopes. We really enjoyed our trip here, even though the resort is ten times smaller than our favorite resort in the Alps.
We celebrated new year’s eve together, and shot our very own fireworks in the middle of the streets. In Georgia it is perfectly normal to buy huge rockets in a supermarket and fire them off yourself in the evening. In Belgium (and America) this is unthinkable, even when we started aiming lower with our rockets, noone batted an eye. This resulted in 5 overly excited friends firing handheld bazookas along with all of Tbilisi. The fireworks were literally everywhere, and we enjoyed the view over the Tbilisi skyline, lit up by the colorful sky-flowers.
Anton tried to book a flight to Baku, Azerbaijan and back to have an extra day with Nicole during her layover, but this caused conflicts with our Iranian visa so we all said goodbye to Nicole on the first of January, and the days after we split up into two groups. Oli and Stef went snowboarding with four professional Russian pole dancers, of which two instructors and two students. Nothing exotic, just dancing ;) . They invited the two beardy beasts to sleep in what they called “their garage”. This was the attic of a small building they shared with at least 10 other guests. Oli and Stef were very happy they finally found a place , as everything in the resort was fully booked. We had fun on the slopes and in the evenings we taught them a typical Belgian card game, laughed and joked about our adventures. In return for their accommodation, they made a deal: they would cook dinner for the Russian ladies bare-chested. Two nights later the six of us moved to Tbilisi to explore the old city together, including the funicular up to the Narikala fortress and the statue of Lady Georgia. Definitely a must see, where you’ll get an amazing view over the city! Thank you girls for this amazing few days and thanks for the little lesson in Russian numbers, language and culture. xoxo
Finally we want to share a funny side story about Tbilisi. Every last Friday of the month, in whole Georgia, people celebrate “Critical Mass”. This is an event where all bicyclers in every big city come together and cycle around, under guidance of a small police force, to express their love for cycling. In Tbilisi there is a huge statue of a bicycle, and this is also the meeting point for this event. Sadly we missed this event and an opportunity to make a picture, but it is well worth saying all four of us have climbed this giant of a bicycle, on different occassions, on different nights.