About non-aggressive bus drivers, a business man in Flip Flops, excitement-pee, sunscreen and a party marathon for grown-ups.
Wednesday, 20th of June 2012
Welcome – car driver’s style
Tbilisi (Tiflis) was not the first capital to enter by bike. Bratislava was easy though the Danube Cycling path was not leading us into the center. But surviving the crazy traffic in Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Skopje and Ankara made us prepare ourselves mentally for the worst.
The midday sun shone when we passed the suburbs and the two lanes plus shoulder converted into four lanes without shoulder. We kept cycling waiting for the big rush to start.
I expected the usual: traffic jams, drivers ignoring us when they want to exit or enter the street, truck drivers blowing their horns, big busses squeezing us out of the road.
It felt like a miracle but the Tbilisi drivers gave us a very respectful welcome. We stayed on the right lane and there was space enough for all of us. It was never that easy to get into a capital’s center by bike.
Welcome – Molly’s style
In the afternoon we met with Robin, our host. He suggested we could have a beer in the park in front of his house while waiting. We considered that as a great idea. I felt very ashamed when I met Robin.
He was a businessman, wore a suit, smelled good and was sober. I was dirty, smelled like beer and sweat, my shoes had holes and apart the liter of beer (I still held the huge plastic bottle in my left hand when I shook his right) made me pretty tipsy.
But Robin was great, we entered his house, he changed the suit with a shorts and Flip Flops, we took a proper shower, put on some clean clothes and we all drank some more beer together. Soon we felt on a more similar level.
Robins dog Molly was very excited to see us. She showed her excitement, love and happiness in a special way: she peed on our feet.
Welcome – Robin’s style
After some more beer and wine Robin took us out for dinner, where we started a 3-day lasting party marathon.
I don’t know if you remember that we hardly drank any alcohol in the five months that we spent in Turkey. We were completely out of training. Like a Georgian host Robin took good care that his guest’s glasses were never empty. Boy we had such a lot of fun and such horrible hangovers in those three days!
- First night – the training: We have lots of beer, wine and Georgian food in a restaurant and at Robin’s balcony after a 55 kilometer’s bike ride.
- Second night – the challenge: We have orange-juice and wine against the hangover. Roberto suffers from his hangover like others from a bad flue. He refuses unwaveringly to walk and is called “soft cock” all day. After a warm-up in a restaurant (Roberto does get up in the end – when hunger forces him to) we play beer-pong in a bar against some nice Georgians we met there. Thanks to Laleh, an Iranian tennis pro who spontaneously decides to support us, the “Team International” wins both rounds.
- Third night – the final: We have Bloody Marys for breakfast while we watch the Rugby game New Zealand versus Ireland. For Lunch we have a couple of beers in the stadium watching the Georgian Team playing against the Ukrainian team. In a German-Georgian restaurant we top the past two days with another bottle of Chacha. Somehow we all manage to arrive home safely, where we drink tap water – yes, really, alcohol-free tap water.
Welcome – Tbilisi style
It was Sunday when we all needed a break from beer, wine, vodka and Chacha. Roberto and I tried to spend the time working, but the hangover and the lack of sleep overcame him. Robin and his dog Molly spent the day between sofa and bed and it was late afternoon when Roberto and I finally went to get some food.
The following days were full of work. Robin had to go to the office again and we used the internet at home to write and upload some articles, videos and pictures. The city welcomed us in a special way. It gave us what we had been seeking for since Kutaissi: A shop where sunscreen was sold! It was too late to save my shoulders, but it was last minute for the rest if my skin.
With the skin protected we could enjoy the sightseeing in the 30-40°C hot city a lot more.