Early days in Armenia – with a sting in the tail..

Aologies for the length of this story but it is an interesting tale.. From Tbilisi we took a local van to Dmanisi, within striking distance of the gravel road border with Armenia. It was a nice ride up an English Beech forest gorge and little traffic as most vehicles take the paved border routes. The crossing into Armenia was painless and we found a small spot off the road to pitch our tent for the night. Some interesting facts about Armenia: It is thought to be the original cultivar of the humble … Continued

Konnecting Kazbegi to Khevsureti

The military road from Tbilisi to Stepantsminda (and on another 11km through to the Russian border) is the funnel through which countries north and south of the Caucasus mountains utilise as it is the only open road border between Georgia and Russia. We were warned how busy it was so we opted for a van ride and joined the traffic with number plates from Georgia, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia. It was a spectacular 3hr drive but super busy and as our driver said lots of 007, James Bond crazy driving. … Continued

Completing the loop back to Tbilisi

Akhalkaliki wasn’t an inspiring town, our bikes were clean and Alan had had his first jabs so we headed out of town and up to the high volcanic plain that cradled Lake Parvani and was edged by cones, the tallest being Didi Abuli (3300m). It was a fantastic ride following small tracks in big open, green country and we only saw one vehicle before we decided to call an early stop above the lake, near the village of Vladimirovka’s water source. We had passed herds of cows and flocks of sheep tended … Continued

Surprises in the Lesser Caucasus mountains

After a great stay in Kutaisi we sadly forewent another amazing Leyla breakfast for an early start across to the foothills of the Lesser Caucasus to avoid the lowland heat. It paid off and we climbed steadily up to Sairme through cool forest to our first surprise – a full on spa resort – Georgia style, hot pools, outdoor activities, hotels etc. We timed a nice lunch with a massive downpour which luckily passed as the $150 a night resort rooms were not in our budget, instead a steep climb up to … Continued

Pinch me moments (Mestia to Kutaisi)

We are lying in the tent beside the large slit laden Zeshko river, the sun has gone, obscured by the early evening thunder, lightening and rain storm that is upon us. Alan is reading and I am working my pink iPhone hard, choosing and editing photos, uploading to the blog and writing the story. My cheap SIM card and purchased data are locking into the 3G network – impressive! It has been a few days of ‘pinch me’ this can’t be for real moments…back to the story… From Mestia cyclists normally take … Continued

Gamarjoba from Georgia (hello)

We flew out of Queenstown as the sky was filling with cloud spaceships heralding a northwest weather change. It was a short hop to Sydney, 15 hours to Doha followed by a 3hr flight to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, nestled in green hills on the banks of the river Mtkvari. Hostel Fabrika, where we stayed a night, started life as a fabric factory and has been converted to large, ubercool hostel. It was a good place to start our trip with lots of room to put our bikes together, English speaking … Continued

Georgia on my mind…

Georgia, GeorgiaThe whole day throughJust an old sweet songKeeps Georgia on my mind  It is June and normally we are on the road by now but we have started a redevelopment on the section here in Albert Town. The small build in the backyard is 90% finished and we made the call to head off regardless (as per normal) and when we get back mid August we will move in so that stage 2 can begin (remove the old cottage that I have been in for 20 years and build a larger … Continued