On Wednesday 13 July we left Georgia well rested after an untypically super lazy week in Tblisi. We had to stay this long to wait for our Chinese visum to come through, which it did. We got the 90 plus 90, double entry, six months until first entry visa. This is happy bike traveler-speak for the best kind of visum we could have wished for. Through the ever useful Caravanistan site we found out that the Chinese embassies of Bishkek and Almaty are no longer issuing visas, so we were very happy with this Tbilisi solution. There is no bureaucracy stopping us now, at least not until we get to the border of Laos where we will hope to get a visum on arrival.
We used our visum limbo to sleep in, to shop for some camping supplies (to other bike travelers: most things you would be looking for are impossible to find in Tbilisi) and to enjoy some of the sights as a non-cycling tourist. One day trip that I would recommend to anyone would be the bus from Freedom Sqaure to Davit Gareja, a cave monastery on the border of Azerbaijan. The frescoed caves that make up the monastery are spectacular, as is the desolate and arid landscape around. We left our bikes at home since Tblisi is total mayhem traffic-wise and the public transport is virtually free and easy to navigate. The first two days we were in a busy ‘work’ mode: dropping off our passports at the embassy, running errands, not finding camping gear we were looking for. We then snapped out of the hectic state of mind and headed for the classical boiling hot sulfur baths. Our minds and bodies went into a deep and total relax mode from which we only fully emerged once we got back on the bicycle. These lazy days are needed too, and the recuperation means we are 100% ready for the Armenian mountains.
We managed to pick up two words of the unique Georgian language during our stay: Gamarjoba means hello and madloba means thank you. On our last day we finally remembered one more: Nakhvamdis means goodbye. Nakhvamdis Sakartvelo!
Also: we added more pics to the Georgia photo album