Friday, 20 March 2015

Georgia part 3: Kakheti

Saturday March 7th, finally after two weeks of resting (our bodies need and claim some laziness) and a temptation of hitch-hiking :-), we left Taylor and Tbilissi, heading to the George W Bush highway, with a huge smiling picture of him, to get out of the city.

Tim and Karina were already at the Armenian border, ready to cross. But we wanted to discover a bit more Georgia , especially Kakheti, the wine region.

The weather was perfect, sunny with a breeze. I cycled most of the day with short sleeve T-shirt and short. We felt so in shape, light-hearted even the road was uphill, up to 10% sometimes....

The next day was cold, and rainy. and the road continued to go up and up again. We reached Telavi around 2PM, decided to stop for the night: if we had continued then we would have to wild camp, which was not nice under the hard rain. So we just showed up, covered in our nylon, by way of rain coats, at the police station, asking for help. No one spoke English so my little Russian revealed itself very useful to say: we have no money, we need a dry place for our tent!!!! After some minutes of discussion, they put our bikes on a pick-up and drove su to a big hotel.... in construction. We had a big room for us. The guardian invited us to share some warmth in his room. Unfortunately, he didn't speak Russian so the conversation was very much limited.

It snowed the next day so we stayed there a day more, visiting a bit the town, playing a it with the two dogs, going to the market where we bought the best smoked bacon (lard) ever for so cheap!!!! We also had some wonderful beef filet and gave ourselves a pleasure with a big bottle of beer. A 3 Michelin stars dinner we had, I tell ya :-) :-). The two dogs went crazy when we gave them the bones, we had to separate them: they were so jealous and didn't want each other to get closer to us....

Tuesday March 10th, the weather was cold but at least dry. We visited Badagoni, probably the best wine producer in Georgie. We tasted a red from 2014, a bit young and surprisingly good. Following their advices, we went to Alaverdi, famous for the Monastery wine, still made in the traditional way in jar of terra cotta, unique in the world!!!!!

Here, we bleeded ourselves to death to buy the best Badagoni bottle, also made in the traditional way, but with the Italian quality control in addition...
We drank it in a place one could not dream for better.

And it was indeed damn good, worth the money to every single drop!!!!

The next evening, we had dinner with Chenchikhan (????) the Sherpa we already crossed.

The table was made of a truck tire and two planks of wood, we seated almost on the ground, at 50 cm from the sheeps , eating raw sardines with unwashed hands and drinking home made wine and chacha. We spent the night, surrounded by "meeeehing" sheeps and barking dogs. Chenchikhan had the two most useless dogs we've ever seen, they avoided almost sheeps.....

Thursday March 12th was quite a special day: we visited a bakery, learnt how puri was made. It was impressive to see Valeri almost disappeared in the burning jar to place the bread!!!!!

Then on the road, people kept stopping us to give us food, chacha, beer... that we were already slightly drunk when we stopped in the middle of a uphill road, in a field near the woods.

Our tent was set when some men appeared with their cows. Somehow they made us understand that there were wolves nearby at night. We must look so miserable then that one man just pronounced the only magical Russian word of the whole "hands and facial expression conversation": Мой Дом (my house). Zaza lived in a very nice two stories house with Ana, his beautiful wife and two lovely kids, Lali and Georgi. The treated us like kings while normally, they were doing us a great favor to let us stay in their house.

(young Robert de Niro, in my favorite character: Zaza, our Georgian host!!!!)

Such generosity touched us deeply every time. We promised ourselves to be as generous as we could, to help others as much as we could, to pay back all the good things we are receiving on the roads.

Saturday March 15th, a week later, we finally reached Davit Gareji, one of the must see in Georgia before heading to the Armenian border. The road was difficult, stiff and sometimes in bad condition. The heat hit us hard but we kept rolling. The monastery is 50km away from almost everything :-) :-)  But the visit was worth the effort!!!!

We spent the last night on Georgian land in an abandoned gaz station. Here we met a couple of friends: an Armenian and an Azeri who have to go to Georgia to see each other!!!

It rained a lot the last days: we arrived in Georgia under the rain and under the rain, we left, hearts and minds full of wonderful memories.

To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. lovely potatoes...thanks for let us travelling with you!!! ;)