“Where are you going on holiday?”
“No the other one, the country.”
“Oh right. Where’s that exactly?”
We arrived in Tbilisi airport and got our bikes assembled not knowing where to sleep. A short cycle under the cover of darkness, we opted for a romantic field between a highway, machinery depot and slaughterhouse, ready for 2 weeks of chacha (strong home-made “Georgian wine vodka”), friendly locals, dogs barking, fantastic roads and a bit of handlebar chewing.
We headed west by train and had a few days on a track from Kashuri to Zestafoni, this was our first experience of the dogs we had been warned about. Other than one dog that needed a boot in the nose, the stray dogs were super friendly and just wanted some water, a biscuit and affection. In Zestafoni, I observed in foreign-bemusement as my “Russian translator” negotiated our options to get to Zugdidi – the start of our mountain circuit in the Svaneti area bordering Russia. Bus times, taxi prices and the back of a fat man’s van were discussed at great length.
“How much dd the taxi driver suggest?”
“60 Lari I think, but it might be 70 or 170.”