Turkey - Georgia, summer 2018

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by elias, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    Entering Georgia wasnt that difficult, and i think for motorcycles is allways easier than with a car. Nevertheless it took me just over an hour to cross the borders. After that, i stopped for a new sim card, exchange, and to get insurance for the motorcycle. There are 2 or 3 different offices out there, that they all do all these things. i chose one and went, Bernthard followed. They usually speak english, and explain to you everything. You can find different opions for the sim card , with less or more charges, and they help you put it in and make it work. Dont do it on your own, you will be confused. And the same is for the insurance. I paid 20 euro for a month, i could have taken for 15 days but wasnt sure how long i would stay and didnt want to start searching for extra in the middle of Georgia. There are also ATMs for taking money.

    After all the paperwork and all that noise, vehicles, people shouting, mud due to the rain, etc, we headed to Batumi to find a place to stay.

    At the borders.
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    #61
  2. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    First km in Georgia.

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    #62
  3. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    I'm so in. Marvelous! I've been reviewing Turkish restaurants here in town - and there are several. Great stuff.
    #63
  4. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

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    Someday...
    #64
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  5. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    After a short coffee we headed straight to Batumi to find a place to sleep and reorganize. My goal after Batumi was to go to Ushguli and further in the mountains, but the last week there were many storms up there. In addition, 2 days before i met an American with an Africa twin and he was informed a lot of river crossing in this area were full of trees and boulders. And also the weather for the next 2 to 3 days wasn't good.

    It was obvious that i had to change my plans. Bernthard wanted to visit Tbilisi, He was not thinking about off road at all, and wanted to go back to Turkey sooner. And of course I didn't want to Find Myself In The Middle of a Storm in 2000 meters

    But first our place for the night. I had 2 hostels in my mind. The first one was in the Center But it was fully booked . So we went to the second one, the "freedom" hostel.

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    #65
  6. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    There i found Tom from Poland, who runs this place. He also rents Motorcycles for guided off road Tours. I asked him about the Svaneti region i was interested, and he agreed that it was difficult to go alone, and I should propably wait a couple days for things to get dry.

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    #66
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  7. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    Chating with Tom was nice, and soon as the night came Bernthard and i, took a taxi, to go to the center, walk around and eat something. Batumi is a strange city. You get the feeling that it is buld only for tourists, and especially for Russians. You can see a lot of strange buildings, with crazy architecture, sometimes beautiful, others not. But Batumi has its own history, and it is related also with the Greak mythology, and has a big port also.

    Batumi by night!!
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    #67
  8. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    Some more....

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    #68
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  9. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    And something that was familiar to me.

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    #69
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  10. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    Next morning i got up at 7am. It was a horrible night. This area is full of mosquitoes. I was dressed with a bed sheet like a mummy, and still couldnt sleep. I had to leave. I was terrified only by thinking that i would spend one more night like this. But go where? After a quick discussion with my self, decided to go to Vardzia, from a road in south Georgia. This way i could avoid the rain and after 2 - 3 days i could go into the Caucasus.

    I said goodbye to Bernthard and Tom, and went to the center for breakfast. I ordered a traditional "Khachapuri" , without really knowing what it was. And this marvelous piece of art came. Roasted bread, filled with cheese , an egg on top and butter!!!!!!!!

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    #70
  11. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    On the road again.

    One important think that everybody should be aware of in Georgia, is that many cars have the steering wheel on the right hand. Thats because they are cheaper and many can buy them. Well in the city streets its not a big deal, but on the roads outside the cities with one lane per direction it is a big problem. Sometimes when they are behind a truck or a slower car they want to overtake but they cant see to the other side if someone else is coming. Despite that they do overtake, and most of the times without hesitation. Especially when a motorcycle is coming from the other side. its like you are invisible!!!!

    Around 400 km to Vardzia and the road has not much traffic, but i havent get used to my new super power (beeing invisible to other drivers), and cant enjoy the scenery.

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    #71
  12. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    The road gets progressively worse. with a lot of big pot-holes, and rocks that have fallen into the street, and of course no one stops, they all drive where the best part is, no matter what. So now i have to be carefull cars that overtake from every direction, trucks, bad roads, and of course animals, especially cows. They are everywhere, and after almost every corner.

    As the kms go by, i start to gain altitude. The road has become gravel , with roadworks, trucks passing by, dust, animals, mud, animals, passing through villages (with animals)......

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    #72
  13. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    At some point i dont see any more trees, it was a bit colder, so i understood i should be over 1800 m. There were many kiosks every now and then made of wood, with people selling things. Mostly things that they produce, like honey, cheese, milk, fruits and vegetables. I stopped near one of them just to drink some water, and a kid came out, and started asking questions about me and the bike. Unfortunatly didnt undestand much. before i leave he gave me a peace of cheese, smiled and said goodbye. After a while i reached the top of that high pass, just over 2000m. and started going down.

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    #73
  14. Dickyb

    Dickyb Bewildered Adventurer

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    Really enjoying following this trip. Reminds me of my trip to Georgia from Turkey a few years ago.

    Thank you for the memories.

    Cheers,

    Dickyb
    #74
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  15. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    After a few kms, i reached lower altitude again, and the road became tarmac again, it was very good quility also. After the small town of Akhaltsikhe the scenery was outstanding!!! A very good road, with small forests around sometimes, and a river on the side , with beautiful colors.

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    #75
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  16. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    At some point, in a village, i stopped to check the map. I took of my helmet to drink some water. Soon after, an old man approached me, unshaven, and with lots of wrinkles. He was staring at my number plate, and he asked me if i was coming from Greece, of cource not in english, only by saying something like "greco ?". When i answered yes, he grabbed and holded my hand, and hugged me, with a big smile, and maybe i saw a small tear in one eye. We talked a bit, with body language, and i think he told me that his son is in Thessaloniki, or maybe he was, i am not sure. He lives there permanent, but comes from Pontus region. This is a geographical region that extends from Sinop in Turkey to Batumi, and it used to have many Greeks. Many people like him live now to all of this region in west Georgia and Abhazia, and they really respect Greece, and they think us like brothers. I met many of them during my trip, but this man was very enthusiastic about me.
    #76
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  17. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    Finally i reached Vardzia. Actually to a village before Vardzia, in Tmogvi. I had seen in the internet a guesthouse named Zaza (the owners name). There are many guesthouses in this area, it has many tourists because of the monastery in Vardzia. After one hour from my arrival to the guesthouse, an Austrian couple came also. Zaza was an excellent host. He offered us dinner, he cooked some delicious Khinkali, salad, and cheese. He also brought 2 liters of his own red wine. We chatted for a long time, and before the wine was over, we started singing. First Zaza with a local song, and then the Austrians with something traditional from Tirol. Zaza was so impresed that went to bring one more liter of wine. After all that i slept like a baby.

    The guesthouse
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    Trying to communicate with Zaza
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    #77
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  18. Dillard

    Dillard Seeker

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    Fantastic Stuff!!
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    #78
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  19. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    Next day was busy. After breakfast with the Austrians and Zaza, i went to visit the monastery and caves in Vardzia, 4 kms away. It is a unique place, defnitely worth seeing it!!

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    #79
  20. elias

    elias Been here awhile

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    And some more...

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    #80