The green!

So 1 month later and we're now in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Apologies for the once a month blog but if you can believe the opportunity did not arise until now.

After a recommendation from a fellow hitch hiker we visited a touristic but beautiful seaside town called Kas. We spent a few lovely days there with our couchsurfing host Zeynep, playing with the street dogs, cooking delicious food and catching glimpses of seals!
After this little break we took Zeynep's recommendation and headed towards a famous climbing spot called 'gayik bayiri' close to the city of Antalya with no equipment and only the motivation and desire to climb!

Autostop was very easy in Turkey and we arrived there easily and discovered that it wasn't possible to rent any equipment so thought that we would just enjoy watching the climbers. But at the next moment a German couple who were leaving back to Germany in a few hours offered to let us climb with them, how cool! We shared exactly the same shoe sizes! of course it was meant to be that we were here.

From Gayik Bayiri we headed to the city of Konya in central turkey, the home of Mevlana Rumi, the famous Sufi poet. We arrived with the intention to discover more about Rumi and perhaps to try or at least watch the whirling dervishes, famed for spinning in circles in a trance like states. In reality we visited the museum which was interesting but lacking in information about Rumi himself and found that the only whirling dervish performances where for tourists in large arenas and not as intimate as we had hoped.

We did however get to meet Julien and Sophie, our friends in Bulgaria had told us about them a while ago and really wanted us all to meet and it just so happened that it was in Konya that everything came together. They are travelling by foot....yes by foot! from France to China and beyond! They have no time frame and no planned route (mostly zig zagging) and had already been in Turkey for 9 months when we met. I will be posting an interview with them soon but for now I can say that it was really interesting to hear their stories and learn about this alternative way of travelling.

From Konya we took the road north east and arrived at the incredibly unique and wonderful landscape that is Cappadocia. This is an awesome place of bizarre rock formations caused by erosion from water. Homes were carved into these rocks and inhabited by troglodytes and many other people throughout their history. We spent 2 or 3 days here hiking, climbing into small secret rooms and sleeping in some very interesting places! 

Looking at our little map we noticed that the north east of  Turkey bordering Georgia was exceptionally green! beyond anything I'd really seen before except perhaps in the tropics.
So we decided before heading to Georgia we should explore the area a little.
We were not disappointed and spent the next few days taking small dirt roads were cars seldom go through a lush wet landscape home to all sorts of trees, flowers and unique almost Swiss like houses.

After nearly 1 month and a half we were sad to leave Turkey, it had been such a surprising country in almost every respect and we have almost nothing but positive memories from our time there. Never the less we were happy that we were advancing east, when we arrived in Georgia we had no kind of idea about the country and absolutely no idea of where to go. One look at a map and we decided on a road...
What a road it was! Mostly dirt or asphalt with huge holes, with small rivers running across, It was a beautifully green lush way, mostly un touched by industry with lots of small scale farms. It took about 2 days or more to go around 200km on this road but it was completely worth it and although we didn't have many interactions with Georgians yet and found that hitch hiking wasn't as easy here it still felt like the right place to be. 

The final thing to tell is about what's happened over the last few days. So we arrived in a place Called Borjomi, famed for it's healing water and beautiful wild national park. Whilst there we approached a small monastery and asked if they might know a place to sleep. We were told to walk up behind the monastery and past the enormous graveyard and we would find a place to camp. We did find a fairly nice spot but I noticed we had no water so we headed back down to get some, I don't really know why I did it other than wanting more contact with the locals of a country when I visit or perhaps testing the compassion or religious people but I asked again if there's any place we could sleep closer...
5 Minutes later and we're invited in for an enormous supper, meeting all the nuns and being serenaded with Georgian polyphonic music. We are told that we would be given our own room in an apartment close by.
WOW! That's a lot more than I expected....Sometimes just pushing a little bit more and asking can change everything.
In the evening we get to know a bit more a lovely woman called Nino who is a Refugee from the disputed region in the north west of Georgia called Abchazia and has 4 daughters who live in Tbilisi, the capital city. She graciously invites us to her home when we arrive in Tbilisi and we happily accept. For now we've spent the last 3 days with them, talking about the problems in Abchazia, getting to know her daughters and deciding on the route east. We're thinking to go to Armenia and then to apply for an Iranian visa, after that we do not know......

Love to you all and we hope that we can blog more often these days!

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  1. Lovely pictures! Just a little correction: Apraxia (from Greek praxis, an act, work, or deed) is the inability to execute learned purposeful movements. Abchazia is a breakaway part of Georgia nominally controlled by Russia. :-)

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