Well, it seems like only yesterday I was typing about knocking out 68km on the bike. (Though it was around 48 hours ago.)
And now I have to type that I’m doing cycle touring my own way.. which includes cycle touring by taxi, cycle touring by train, and tomorrow I’ll be cycle touring by bus. Just the way(s) I like it.
Sean however is in full beast mode. Not only is he continuing to take the lion’s share of the luggage, but he’s also doing cycle touring the more traditional way, i.e. he is actually cycling.
I gave up on the ride from Gori to Khashuri, which was only 53km by the main motorway, the E60. After about 30 minutes of being on the road, massive headwinds started. A Google search stated the gusts were 28kmph and I wouldn’t know otherwise!
I only took one photo, which shows I was having a really bad time! It was to capture a hill where I had to pedal to go downhill. That’s not a typo. I had to pedal to get down a fairly steep hill. Not what I signed up for!
After a light tantrum and a few tears (from me), Sean had the pretty great idea to put me in a taxi for the rest of the journey, which was roughly 28km. Probably his best idea since I’ve known him.
I then had a great time!
We got to Gvirilas Sakhli Guest House in record time.
Before Sean arrived, the proprietress (a really nice lady) asked if I minded if she and her son left, as we were there only guests for the night. I said I didn’t, but after Sean and I went to the supermarket for some bits, and had a strange cashier follow us around, standing at our elbows, but not saying anything or making eye contact, I did start to get a “budget horror” feeling.
Everything was ok though, and after a great nights’ sleep, we peddaled to the train station so I could get to our next stop, Zestafoni.
On to Zestafoni
In case you’re ever thinking of visiting Georgia, it’s probably useful to know that the first train of the day is for the tradesmen. The trains are old, and slow, but they are outrageously cheap. The 66km journey cost 1 GEL – which is the equivalent of 30 pence! If you planned it right, it could be a fantastically cheap way to get from one side of the country to the other whilst seeing the highlights.
The train conductors were amazing, and helped me get my bike and luggage onto the train. Once on, it cost an extra 5 GEL to transport the bike, which is just over a quid.
Once in Zestafoni I met some of the friendliest locals so far – who were very interested to know where I’d been, and where I was going next. I cycled to the next guest house, Guesthouse Zedafoni, and waited for Sean.
As soon as he arrived I made him have a rushed shower so the man of the (guest) house could take us to Katskhi Column, or Kacxis Sveti. It was not a disappointing trip!
A sign nearby stated it used to be the site of pagan worship, before becoming a monastery after the advent of the Georgian Orthodox Religion. It’s one of the best things we’ve seen in Georgia so far, because it’s a bit bonkers.
We were also taken to the Katskhi Monastery nearby, built around 1010. It is one of the most recent churches built with six sides and was quite beautiful.
We then toddled back to Zestafoni for quite a good little dinner – two pasties (one with cheese, and one with beans) and two waters for 4 GEL – which is just over a pound.
However, this meal was nothing compared the breakfast that was served at the guesthouse the next morning. We were the only two people staying (as we’re in low season), and I think we were given the royal treatment!
The breakfast set us up nicely for the next leg – 38km to Kutaisi, which I actually managed to cycle!
We haven’t done much exploring around Kutaisi, as our plan tomorrow is for me to get the train to Batumi on the west coast, and Sean plans to cycle the entire 148km in a day. Madman.
I will let you know how that goes. Love! Xx