Georgia of Contrasts

Tbilisi (Georgia), 06.05.2013

What a day! We’re finally back at our hotel and completely exhausted from this day so full of contrasts. It all started so well, waking up in a field of yellow flowers and bees all around, sun shining, and an opulent georgian breakfast. And Nelly, the house cow, came back home finally after a long night out with her friends, to deliver the daily 5l of milk.

DSC_0053 DSC_0051Then we headed for the nearby ski resort, took the lift up to the top of the mountain (videos here and here). Alpine landscape, perfect ski resort installations, these guys even have an airport up in the valley. From plane to mountain top probably takes less then 1h. Incredible! And what a view from up here.

DSC_0086 DSC_0081After that it was all down the mountain for over 2,5h, fast but always alert, to not hit a pothole, cow or rock. We thought that would be the most difficult part of the road to Tbilisi. But this was the most romantic and easy part ultimately, because driving in Georgia revealed to be quite an experience. Forget the “Rechtsfahrgebot” (rule of driving in the right), forget road signs, skip police controls, and especially don’t care about any indications regarding overtaking. The bigger and faster car wins, and you overtake all the time, in any circumstance. After 1h or so we started adapting, since shaking heads about the crazy Georgians doesn’t get you anywhere. And this is where we started getting to some speed. But it is very stressful, and you must be always alert, awake, in an aggressive driving mode.

DSC_0104 DSC_0097Before entering Tbilisi, we left the road for Gori, the town where Stalin was born. We wanted to see the mausoleum, but due to slow traffic we arrived at 18:05, 5 mins after closing time. We still had a chance to see the train wagon he used to go to the Yalta conference and the house he was born and grew up in. Very honestly we were completely disappointed. It was the third mausoleum we went to (after Tito in Belgrade and Atatürk in Ankara), and the most unimpressive, rotten and meaningless. Gori as a town is not a big deal, the castle is the most impressive thing to see. The monumental buildings in the mausoleum area are all collapsing and in bad conditions. And the mausoleum itself is falling to pieces, and quite small. We would have expected much more. But maybe Stalin is a person not too deserving of monuments. In the end he was one of the biggest mass murderers of the 20th century.

Anyway, we finally made it to Tbilisi. Fortunately we found the old city center, that truly is worth seeing. Tomorrow we’ll discover it.

Trip data (Day/Total)

– Km driven: 512/9.064

– Hrs driving: approx 8,5h/-

– Diesel l/100km: 7,8/9,7

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