Hello Kutaisi, Georgia
After some sad goodbyes to my folks who had flown all the way to Edinburgh to see me off to Georgia, Chris and I embarked on the Edinburgh overnight bus to London, spent a whole day in Luton (eugh!) and got on a 5.5 hour flight to Kutaisi, Georgia.
Least to say we were exhausted when we finally arrived the the sleepy town at 4am.
After avoiding touts and taxis and beginning to worry about how we would get to town, we asked a man for help who turned out to be Irish and lived just down the road from Chris!
He and his sons pointed us in the right direction and we arrived to our little flat in the centre of the city.
After a bit of a lie in the next day, we set off to explore. Holy moly it was hot!
The 35 degrees plus humidity hit us hard, and it wasn’t long until we stopped at the riverside cafe for a pit stop. Who did we run into? The same Irish lads who had the same idea we did. We ended up exchanging numbers and meeting for drinks that night.
Despite the heat we managed to explore most of the centre, even walking to the Botannic Gardens which has been restored since the communist era, and has a mixture of wooded and desert plants.
We walked back through the town square of Kutaisi with markets heaving with fruit, spices and vegetables of all sorts, with Georgian women shouting out what they were seeing and men hunched up and asleep on the food!
Outside men gathered on park benches playing poker and backgammon, dressing in shirts and jeans and not minding the heat all.
We called it a day after a few drinks with our Irish friends and said our goodbyes as they were heading down south the next day.
The next morning we ventured up to Bagrati Cathedral. Having been told it would take us a good hour, we stocked up on water and left first thing, only to be amused when it actually took us less than 10 minutes..
The Kutaisi cathedral was beautiful, particularly the turquoise domes. It looks grand and majestic from outside but was surprisingly bare and small inside. I was made to cover up, and a local Georgian woman who was also just visiting started arranging my headscarf and skirt.
We spent the rest of the evening planning our hitchhiking trip up North, so tomorrow will be visiting Gelati cathedral and then packing all our kit up, and getting ready for hiking in the Caucasus!