I was once taught somewhere that feedback always starts with something good and ends with something good. So you pack that not-so-awesome thing between something sweet. I’m trying this now with the next country on our trip. So Georgia … here’s your feedback:
Beautiful landscapes rise with the small and the great Caucasus in this tiny country, also coasts and the associated subtropical maritime climate are not missing here. So you can say this country is geographically blessed with everything you could wish for. Beach holiday in small Dubai (Batumi), snowboarding on the always snow-covered glaciers (Kazbegi), hiking in green valleys (Tusheti), climbing on rugged mountain slopes. There is something for everyone and in the smallest space. But just because it is small, it does not mean that everything can be reached quickly. This has not necessarily to do something with the streets … yes, we have seen better, but also experienced much worse. No, it is the inhabitants of this jewel that make the driving a martial art. There are stripes on the ground, but nobody really cares, as well as traffic rules in general. A sheer ruthless attachment, scratches, horns and trimmings push the beads of sweat on the forehead within a few minutes. So it’s really not surprising to be unable to find a car without dents and scratches here. Someone even drove against our parked Ernst (do not worry, Ernst won). Without seperation of labor in driver and navigator, we would have been completely lost here. Unfortunately, this mood of driving seems to have seized on the faces of most of the people, because we mostly hoped for friendly faces in vain. And yet, this country is also home to good hearted people who thankfully sacrificed for small friendly gestures.
So … everything sounds worse than it is, but honestly we were not thrilled in the end. On the first evening we met our friends from Greece again and Laika was able to live out their natural play instinct with Reco. After two days together, our ways separated again, we visited the small blossoming coastal town of Batumi and moved on a straight line towards Tbilisi, only interrupted by a lonely bath in a hot spring. The rush was due to the first embassy visit, so we wanted to be able to easily enter Iran later. The one-week waiting time in and around the city was just nerve-wracking, because every little car ride was the ordeal of good humor by the war on the streets. Add to that the uncertainty of how long we really have to wait. So we spent the time with trips to the local climbing gym, tried to run errands of other spare parts, drove to the nearby mountains in order to gain distance to the people (this new altitude record for Ernst 2700m) … And again and again Ernst just turned off during driving. Without warning.
But in itself it went on and on. And every time we thought we had found the mistake … First we had identified the water separator as the cause. It was completely rotten, so we get it out. Then we thought the fuel filter was blocked (you always hear of the bad fuel in these countries) so synonymous exchange it. Then we thought we had a lot of air in the system, maybe a leak somewhere, partly we renewed the pipes and hoses … and yet one day on the way to the mountains … off. And this time he did not switch on again. The night right on the busy street was not the nicest thing on the trip, yet it’s always comforting to have everything with you. Ernst started fine on the next morning, but we wanted to fix, so we went back to the valley to clear the next suspicion … bad fuel. The gas station attendant at the next station was also of our opinion, and he often hears the problem and helped us friendly with the de-fuelling by means of a suction hose. With the new fuel Ernst ran again … we thought. The luck lasted only about 200 km to the day when we wanted to leave Tbilisi with the Iranian visa in the direction of Azerbaijan. >We did not even reach the city limits … and so we found us standing on the highway:
- To push a LT Florida alone is almost impossible
- Helpful Georgians are unfortunately rare
- Listen to Conny, she’s almost always right. Conny wanted to take of the tank since the beginning to see if everything is still ok in it, just I refused the bunch of work, it normally is. So I was able to confirm her suspicions with the preliminary step to the removal. With a twisted wire, I fished a piece of cleaning paper out of the fuel hose … While being clogged we were not wondering anymore that Ernst had no fuel one time or the other.
Quite frankly, if it had not been the few nice people who invited us to home-brewed vodka at night or created a way for us to do our laundry, we would have been very disappointed with this country. Sure, it was the wrong season. Not winter anymore but not spring yet, so that the real beauty was hidden from our eyes. Unfortunately, the road traffic is mainly remembered. And so we give you some advice: If you ever want to visit Georgia, do not explore it by car 😉
PS: The thing about the vodka: One evening we were north of Tbilisi, near Norio, in a nature park. Dense fog, darkness, and bad road forced us to stopp, before we reached our actual destination, a monastery. Shortly after dinner, there was a knock on our door. The first thought: Oh no, we’re standing here on someone’s property and should go away. But it was not like this. A man with his dogs asked us for help. Us. His friend had been broken down in front of us with his Lada and now he needed start-up help. That was not a problem and so we pushed down the Lada until he drove again. Out of gratitude the man invited us to his home. Contrary to all fears, it could be an axe murderer, we went after a few refuse with him. We learned that his name was Tornike, that he lived in Austria for a while and that he was setting up a restaurant on the farmstead of his father. His German was a bit rusty, but with each glass of vodka it was more fluid. We had to drink, too. The good self-brewed. With only 80%. A miracle that we did not become blind. At some point we were able to leave, but he wanted to keep us there. The next morning we visited him again to say thank you and saw only the wonderful property! So if you’re around there, be sure to visit him, he’s looking forward! Here are the coordinates: 41.815276 N, 44.964335 E