Adventures in Georgia (for you, Erik)

I was asked to write about some live stories from my trip, so here is a post about yesterday. It also gives you a view to my “ordinary” biking day.

31.8.2010 . I woke up 5.20 a.m in a room which wouldn’t fit anything else than my panniers and the bed I slept on, of course wearing nothing but my boxers. The temperature here in Batumi, Georgia, is even for locals freaking hot these days, reaching almost 40 degrees. A good meter to measure the temperature is snickers chocholate bar- when it’s melted even in a air conditioned store, it’s definitely too warm to bike. But this morning I blustered all the meters, above all the termometer, and decided to bike to Poti, the nearest townt “only” 70km away.

At 6 a.m i said good bye to Batumi sign, and proceeded along the coast towards my destination. Traffic was light until 8 a.m, when i already reached the half way, and at 10 a.m i found myself standing on the crossroads: One sign post showing Poti 12km and the other Kutaisi 87km (as well as baku 840 km, which was probably not made for the bikers). Kutaisi was supposed to be  my next day’s programme, but when the first 54km felt so easy, road was smooth, and there was still 9hours before the sunset, I took the risk turning east towards Kutaisi. To my stunner,  the avg speed was rising from 17 km/h up to 19km/h and even above it. I had sipped from my 1,5 liter water bottle just once before the first hundred kilometres…. It was only 40km to go, and it was no more than few minutes after noon.

But I wouldn’t tell you this story if it had no climax in it, would I? Indeed, Things started to go awry when it was supposed to be only 27km to Kutaisi (ironically my lucky number). Somehow the numbers changed into 35, which wouldn’t have been big of a deal, if the wind woudn’t have changed as well. I mean, I’m from finland and I’m used to ride in the hard haedwind, and 35km isn’t that bad, but even for me this wind was too much. First ten kilometres I biked in upstand position in two stages. Third five kilometer-stage I barely finished, though finishing my water bottle to the ground way too soon. The following plan was to lead the bike next 5km, but I had to quit after 2km. The wind had simply knocked me out, just next to a shade with a perfect bench. I lied on a bench next to the road and out of pure exhaust fell asleep for 50 minutes. After waking up, with dried out mouth, I decided to ride to the next drive-by market and to buy some energy no matter what. Luckily it was only 1km away, with four men sitting outside waving at me to sit down. One of them bragged about his German skills- so we could communicate- though he turned out to could even worse deutsch sprechen than me, knowing only the phrases wie heist du and tchus. Nevertheless I did get my energy from cold, straight from ice- fanta bottle, and somehow struggled myself to Kutaisi, counting down every 100 meters.

But the day wasn’t finished yet, because I needed to find a budget friendly accomodation, preferably with a shower. This wish in the second largest city of georgia didn’t sound too difficult, especially when I had written down two pensions (homestays) with their addresses. For a real traveler’s pity, there were no maps around, streets were mostly in Georgian alphabet and even the locals didn’t know the name of the streets. Fortunatelly, as wandering around the small center of kutaisi I bumped into three youngsters out of which one girl spoke fluent English. And as helpful as Georgians are, she offered me her help to find a suitable accomodation. Eventhough both of the homestays I had looked up were impossible to find, my Georgian saviours talked to some middle-aged lady in the park who was renting rooms for 8,5 euros per night. Not a best bargain, but for the circumstances I was in, with pure happiness I took the deal and booked two nights.

Now I’m staying in a room with an old stinky man who keeps lots of noice during the night when going to a bathroom (only cold water by the way) and I must put lots of mosquito repellent before falling asleep, but otherwise I’m resting fine for tomorrow. The alarm clock is set at 5.20 a.m, and some praying will be done before bed time to the gods of Georgian nature.

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6 Comments

  1. Posted September 1, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Like the story. I feel so honoured that you wrote it for me too. Happy travels and gamarjobat!

  2. Kevin
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great story Lukas!

  3. Joonas
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    More stories like this one! I like the details, you get more of a feel of your everyday reality.

    How have you been feeling, is it like being in the finals everyday? What have you been thinking about during all that biking?

    Much strenght man!!

    • Posted September 4, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks. Stories like this are mostly for my friends, but I’ll try to write stories and facts both equally.
      I may be exhausted after a day, but one day off, and I’m almost fully recovered. Route is getting much more demanding now (steep mountains, bad road, communication, temperature), so we shall see what happens. But so far everything is ok.

  4. Posted September 4, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    And yes, when you reach places further from home, stories are getting more interesting as well. I guess there would be no excitement in story about how I didn’t find McDonalds in Germany, or how big was that hole in the asphalt f.e in Czech Republic 🙂

  5. Posted September 13, 2010 at 4:42 am | Permalink | Reply

    well, lukas,
    for those at home almost every story is interesting. at least i made that experience with my diary style with daily reports, generally short except if something special to tell.
    by the way, how did the ferry connection to batumi/georgia work?
    keep on pedaling happily!
    herbert

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