“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”
The hostel we worked at in Tblisi brought me back to my time backpacking through South America few years ago. Unlike the more elegant guest house we worked at when we first arrived in Georgia, this large and busy hostel was filled with the younger “backpacker” type rather than the 40+ year old two-week vacationers. Though Kevin immediately labeled the place as “too hippy” (possibly because we had to take off our shoes at the entrance or because the person working there had flaming red hair and liked to juggle) we both quickly found it to be a wonderful place to meet like-minded travelers (including a hitchhiking solo female and two other cycle tourists) and cook a whole lot of food in a kitchen.
“We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
45C is about 35C higher than I typically enjoy. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a mountain girl through and through and if there isn’t snow on the ground, chances are it’s too hot by my standards. Cycling through the countryside in the Georgian valley has proven to be extremely difficult due to the heat, though in all honesty, it hasn’t diminished my already growing love for this country. If this isn’t proof that cycling (and really life in general) is just a mental game based on your attitude, I don’t know what is. Despite the heat, there isn’t anywhere else in the world I would rather be as Georgia has already proven to be full of wonderful countryside and hospitable people.
Before arriving in Tblisi, the capital of Georgia, I checked hostel prices only to find that they were quite a lot more than they had been in India. Though ten to fifteen dollars a night may not seem like a lot in the west, when you are use to living our of your tent (for free), or in a two dollar a night guest house, it’s hard to imagine spending that much. I decided to email a half dozen hostels with a proposal. In return for a free room, Kevin and I would work a few hours a day (cleaning, checking people in, or doing whatever else is needed). Much to my surprise I got two different places saying sure, we can work something out, come on over.
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
If you are anything like me you can probably hardly even place Georgia on a map (to the east of Turkey, south of Russia, north of Armenia) unless you have already been there, so a little history lesson is in store before we enter into this beautiful country. As a small country of five million inhabitants Georgia is a predominately Eastern Orthodox Christian country which is filled with vineyards, beautiful old churches (due to the fact that they adopted Christianity very early on, in the fourth century), small farming villages, and mountains. The Caucasus, which run down from Russia, host a range of peaks over 5,000m and an array of different national parks and beautiful landscapes to go along with it.