If – after China, Central Asia and Iran – Armenia had suddenly cleared the table, Georgia was about to overturn it completely.
The charms of Tbilisi, the history of Uplistsikhe and Gori, the magical views of Mtskheta and the snowy peaks of Kazbegi; few – cold – days, yet one of the purest and most enduring gems of my entire journey.
And then a race to the shores of the Black Sea, before the last, long ride to the borders of Europe.
26 November, Armenia – Georgia border ◀ Day 425 🇦🇲 – 🇬🇪 ▶
History, culture, traditions, food, mountains, lakes, monasteries, people: ten days in Armenia left me breathless.
In all senses.
For the cold especially.
Caucasian frost started seriously to show its teeth.
Someone told me that Georgia, with its slightly mild temperatures and famous wine, is able to offer more various choices. And warm ones.
So here is the thirty-first frontier of this journey.
With woolen socks wrapped around my crumpled trousers and the look of a beaver at the Oktoberfest, I think I could have started better with it.
But if it must come to wine, then I can say I’m more than ready!
28 November, Tbilisi ◀ Day 427 🇬🇪 ▶
A few hours of sunshine, damp cold, gloomy sky, rain and then a funny influence. Georgia hasn’t greeted me that well so far.
But Tbilisi, for the very little I could see … what a lovely surprise.
29 November, Gori ◀ Day 428 🇬🇪 ▶
Who knew that a few miles away from Tbilisi there is an ancient cave town that boasts more than 3,000 years and the birthplace (as well as museum) of one of the most important and controversial figures of human history?
Uplistsikhe and Gori, these are the names.
Well, I did not.
I always read very little, about a country, before entering it.
Also to be even more surprised, if possible.
As is certainly the case with Georgia and the entire Caucasus itself.
30 November, Mtskheta ◀ Day 429 🇬🇪 ▶
With the sun – especially after three days of clouds, cold and gray – everything is more beautiful.
Then imagine a place that is already wonderful by itself …
1 December, Kazbegi ◀ Day 430 🇬🇪 ▶
Then it happens that yesterday, seized by an indomitable bitterness, I felt the urgent need to mix the cards.
To go for a big change – even for a few days – towards other landscapes, other climates, other atmospheres.
So, in coincidence with the arrival of the last month of the year, I left the bicycle and a bag in Tbilisi and bought a low-cost transfer for a country which I never thought I would touch during this trip (even if I got really close to it in a couple of circumstances).
A country whose 5-letters-name starts with a consonant and … ends with a consonant.
Which one may it be?
A clue could be this photo, where I’m sitting right in front of one of the highest peaks of the continent I am in.
Or maybe I’m just kidding.
And this is still an incredible piece of Georgia.
2 December, Kazbegi ◀ Day 431 🇬🇪 ▶ VIDEO
3 December, Kazbegi ◀ Day 432 🇬🇪 ▶
For Georgia is a small country, without history, charm, energy and places of any kind of interest.
4 and 5 Dicembre, Tbilisi ◀ Days 433 and 434 🇬🇪 ▶
“Which one would you like to be? And for what reason?”
It always started like this.
A simple game – or amusing pastime – my father used to carry on for hours, when we were walking in the mountains, with me and my sisters (and sometimes even mum, cousins, uncles, friends …)
“Which animal would you like to be?”
“Which historical figure?”
The possibilities were many, the variables were infinite. Sometimes we had to start from a single letter, sometimes instead we were totally free to pick up an answer.
The nice thing, however, usually was not the answer itself. The reason was the most interesting part of the game, and sometimes even the most funny.
A game that could truly go on for ages – “Come on daddy, another question! The last one!”- and which certainly would allow our parents (and ourselves) to investigate, over the time, about our characters, our inclinations, our personalities.
I don’t know why this thing came into my mind today.
Perhaps because, after having been here for more than a week and therefore after having made it the capital where I voluntarily stayed longer throughout this journey, to the question “Which capital would you like to be?” I know for sure that today I would clearly give a very straight answer: “Tbilisi!”
And the reason?
Because wherever you go and wherever you look at it, at any time during the day and with any possible weather condition (though I can only imagine its magic on a spring day), Tbilisi gives always the same unreal feeling.
Of being in a painting.
6 December, Batumi ◀ Day 435 🇬🇪 ▶ VIDEO
7 December, Batumi ◀ Day 436 🇬🇪 ▶
Staring at the sea after a long time, always brings very special feelings.
Like the waves break on the shore and the water fights with the land in an endless battle with no winners, so the heart shivers, emotions are untied and imagination, feeding itself on wind and salt, becomes a seagull.
The last time I was in Koh Tao, in a warm and colorful Thai March.
Today it is in the Batumi bay, on an cold December day when snow has reached the mountains of western Georgia and I have finally understood why it’s called Black Sea.
My eyes open wide and my sight flies far.
To the left, or South-West, following a bland coast that slowly fades into indefinite gray.
There where is a new country – soon to be entirely crossed in an endless bus-ride – and where one of the largest and most sensational cities in the world already started singing to my ears.