Beyond clouds - through Russia to Georgia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by randel, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. BenMen

    BenMen Adventurer

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    Thanks Duroturk for these info. I'm leaving Brussels on saturday. Can't wait to be there :evil
  2. duroturk

    duroturk Been here awhile

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    I agree, plus I heard rumors that this tarmac to Mestia is only because Saakashvili's new summer house in Mestia. No interest for the rest. :lol3

    And may be it is good that they will not extend the road to Ushguli. It is better protected like this.
  3. duroturk

    duroturk Been here awhile

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    Have a nice trip BenMen. You'll find tasty "khacapuri" at every corner. :wink:
  4. randel

    randel Been here awhile

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    Time for update!

    Day 11.

    It was still night when we woke up, because one dog was barking at our tent. And pretty close. Dog sounded not angry, but like asking from us: "Hey, why did you came? Guys? Would you like to go away? Then I can go back to sleep! Hey? Guys? Please?" :huh
    Probably he has newer before saw tents in his life and was confused what the hell was it. Just before we started to go out and try to calm down this dog, he leaved. Huh! Finally silence.
    We fall asleep again.
    Then some time later we woke up again. Our so-polite dog has arrived with his friend. And he was definitely quit angry! We had no wish to go out of our tent anymore! Actually we would like to be in totally different place then few meters away from seriously angry dog, separated only by thin fabric! For our luck that strange human-smelling thing (our tent) didn't attract that dog to attack us and after many barking sessions he decided that this strange thing called tent didn't move nor is especially dangerous and leaved us alone.
    In the morning, not much after we woke up, one local farmer with huge ax in his hands came to say hello to us. His first question after saying friendly hello to us was: "Estonians?" How did he know? We were some 10 meters away from our bikes, number plates were not visible from this side, only small national flags. Did he visit our camp during night when dogs were attacking us? Anyway, after short friendly discussion (usual where have you been, how long, where are you going etc) he leaved, saying anything about our incident on the night.

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    Going to Poti, road turned better and better.

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    Inguri water reservoir

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    World highest concrete Inguri dam, 272meters (892ft) high and 750meters (2500ft) long!

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    Without much drama we arrived Poti.

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    While we had plans to arrive Batumi today, after short ride in Poti city, we continued driving south. Lunch time.
    Our most expensive lunch during this trip, around 15€ each and despite we ordered double portions we felt like cheated.

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    Weather was hot and humid and traffic turned worse with every km. Entering Batumi it was like a race. We were on the slowest lane on four-lane (in one direction) road and did 120km/h. It wasn't highway, just regular road with crosswalks for pedestrians. Don't try to cross that road on foot when you are not local :eek1 I don't even know how local survive that, because nobody didn't care about stopping. Just crazy!

    Our track for today

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    In Batumi we went to tourist information to ask about cheap accommodation. We got a map from them with some places marked with pencil. After visiting first motel we stopped aside one street to check our map, while young boy, maybe 10 years old, spoke to us in almost perfect english (not russian!) - hello, are you looking for accommodation? Hotel? Apartment? I have something for you! 3-room apartment in city center! Cheap!
    We wasn't sure at first, what should we do, offer was good but can we trust him? We decided to check this apartment anyway - what harm can this do? - and found pretty clean and comfortable place. After quick check to another motel on our map we agreed with boys to pay 40€ for two days stay and moved in. As we discovered, one family was living in this apartment and now they had to move out to their summer cottage! :rofl
    We hear that this young has private teacher who teach him english just because that job. Young businessman with great attitude :lol3
    View to our apartment from the street.

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    From yard

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    And inside

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    We quickly put our dirty laundry in the washing machine, had a shower and went to walk in Batumi :1drink

    Local transportation :wink:

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    We went to small shop to buy some drinks. After asking from the guy behind counter which is his best georgian cognac we started already so familiar "where are you from" discussion. And of course that shop owner (as we discovered) had some memories from Estonia! He offered us to taste his best cognac and generously poured maybe 1/3 of one bottle into two glasses! :freaky It was good indeed and we bought one bottle to take with us.
    Views from Batumi.

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    Theater and Radisson hotel behind it.
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    Main boulevard was favorite place also for locals to gather. And while it was already midnight we saw also small kids running and elderly people walking around, it looked like families with many generations walking around.

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    Musical fountains

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    6th May park
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    People playing table tennis

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    We are not very sure when we returned to our apartment, it was still dark :wink:

    Next day was planned as a rest day.
    Breakfast near beach

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    Small bakery, theyr products tasted fantastically!

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    Same place we visited at night

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    Estonian tourist has arrived. It was great to send an sms to colleagues at home and wish them happy 1st of September! :lol3

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    While we had a camera with us we couldn't resist to take some pictures :wink:

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    Of course we were serious tourists and focus only on architectural and other symbols!
    Alphabetic tower

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    A "something"

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    Later we did a trip to Batumi market. Raul wanted to buy small screwdriver to open his camera and try to clean it after dropping it into puddle in Mestia. And while we got needed screwdriver repairing his camera didn't succeed.

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    This young girl was very patiently teaching this even younger boy.

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    Our second day in Batumi ended with walking on Batumi beach. :wink:
  5. Pickup man

    Pickup man Been here awhile

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    Batumi looks like a fantastic and interesting place. Looks like the beach didnt have much sand
    but the women there made up for it Im sure, and it looks as if they serve beer for breakfast too.:1drink
  6. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    Louisville, KY...really too far from the hills!
    I know I keep saying WOW! ...but WOW! I MUST visit Georgia, this ride you guys have taken is way cool! Great job!
    More please!:clap
  7. Connito

    Connito Adventurer

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    Way cool indeed!

    Thanks for sharing it!

    Cheers,
    Peter
  8. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

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  9. NaMi

    NaMi Mirko

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  10. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    awesome ride report!!!
  11. vanveen

    vanveen Been here awhile

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    wonderful trip and the pictures are fantastic, I love the old buildings, thanks for posting
  12. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

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    Subscribed! I know what I am catching up on tomorrow morning when I wake up!
  13. hatschky

    hatschky Adventurer

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    Fantastic!

    Thanks for sharing.

    :lurk
  14. pledians

    pledians Adventurer

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    Thats it, i will visit Georgia! I speak fluent russian...
  15. BenMen

    BenMen Adventurer

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    I can confirm, they did not extend the tarmac to Ushguli. There's still 44 km of track to get there from Mestia. And it's better like that ! What a place! You have to deserve it :D
    You need good tyres to get to Ushguli. The track was muddy, I had Metzeller Tourance (the front was worn out) to go up there, and it was hard with my 1200 GSA fully loaded. So hard I changed my tyres in Ushguli to put my TKC80 on. Downhill was really much better :rofl
    You can check my pictures here: http://www.2roues2yeux.com/mernoire/Photos_1.html

    Just click on "LANCER LE DIAPORAMA"
  16. BK.RD.RNR

    BK.RD.RNR Torque Stick

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    Beautiful photos BenMen! :freaky

    Sure wish someone would finish a ride report around here... :D:lol3
  17. d.burbach

    d.burbach Been here awhile

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    To see Russia from a motorcycle would be about all I could ask from this life.
  18. randel

    randel Been here awhile

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    Sorry for delay, I just can't continue this ride report and summer didn't help either.

    Anyway, here's another day, 13th

    After breakfast we returned keys of our apartment and headed south with plans to visit Abastumani observatory and continue direction Vardzia. It was very hot and two days (and nights) in Batumi didn't help either. Temperature reaches 39C (102F) and we felt like our brains are melting inside helmets. It was quite surreal until road finally started to climb higher and temperature drops a bit. Finally we reached 2025m high Goderdzi pass.

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    After lunch we reached our first destination Abastumani observatory

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    As we soon found out, they are making guided tours mostly at nights (quite logical actually), but they agreed to make short tour at day, but warned us that we can not see the sky. Raul decided to skip that tour and preferred to take a nap next to bike while I joined small group of tourists arrived right after us.

    Old observatory

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    40cm refractor

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    But all in all this excursion was big disappointment. Most of this hour guide talked about astronomy basics and showed pictures of Moon and planets. And we saw only 40cm telescope. big 125cm reflector was on another building where we could not enter.
    But road to observatory was nice and smooth.
    Anyway, we continued our trip to Akhaltsikhe and Vardzia.
    On the road we saw funny sign - "Vale" means "wrong" in estonian, so we drove straight on and didnt make wrong turn :rofl

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    Sun was already low and we started to look for campsite. It was amazing how different are Georgian mountains. When Svaneti looked like Alps and Tusheti was wild like Romanian Carpates these mountains remembered us Spain.

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    Our campsite not far from Aspindza

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    213km today

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  19. randel

    randel Been here awhile

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    Day 14.

    This day started with chain adjustment. And what I saw doesn't look good. And doesn't sound good either. At all.

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    But soon we reached Khertvisi fortress. and I forget my problems :wink:

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    After short walk in fortress we continued our trip to Vardzia, southernmost point of our trip.

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    We reached Vardzia cave city at lunchtime, hottest time of the day.

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    Estonian wild tourists going to Vardzia :wink:

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    Climbing wasn't easy.

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    Size of this city was truly amazing

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    We leaved Vardzia and started riding north. We really had a feeling of going home now. Only some days left.

    Lunch at Borjomi, really tasty soup.

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    After lunch we followed road to Gori and visited Stalin museum. Stalin, former Soviet Union dictator, was born in Gori.

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    Very interesting tour, but it was strange to see how proud local people were about Stalin. For us estonians he is an evil symbol of 50 year long Soviet occupation.

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    House where Stalin was born.

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    Luxury armored rail wagon, equipped also with air conditioning.

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    After visit to museum we decided to drive all the way back to the questhouse near Pasanauri where we met georgian truck drivers when we arrived.

    Zhinvali water reservoir

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    Guesthouse

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    Of course we met our georgian friends there. We had a really nice evening talking about our adventures and having local meal and drinks.

    312km today. Tomorrow we will leave Georgia.

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  20. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    Great pic of a great landscape!

    Too bad the trip (and report) is already coming to an end. Thanks for taking us with you!