Georgia, Armenia

Tbilisi-Yerevan-Tbilisi

The last few days I did not have any time to write down any stories. Riding with Mirko was great fun and we had a good time together. Yesterday we went from Tbilisi to Yerevan, Armenia. Today we parted ways once we were back in Georgia. Mirko went to Batumi and will be on his way to Turkey tomorrow. I on the other hand had to get back to Tbilisi as tonight Sarah will be here and I had to make sure I will be there at least….

Now that Sarah is flying at 10 km above ground I can show you some more of the amazing scenery from Georgia and Armenia.

The Border from Russia to Georgia is in a pass and at about 2000 meters above sea level. In some parts the road is in a real bad condition but the surroundings are spectacular. Some of the following pictures I got from Mirko

 

We stayed in Tbilisi for the night and set off for Armenia the next morning. We stopped somewhere to get the bikes washed.

At the border we had to buy a visa and some insurance for the bike.

Then we moved on towards Yerevan, the capital. We went through a canyon and U turn after U turn we slowly made our way up and out of the mountain range. We took a high pass and visit lake Sevan.

We got in Yerevan around 16:00 and traffic like in Tbilisi is somewhat intense and you have to pay attention all the time. We had to ask a taxi to guide us to the hotel as we would not have found it otherwise. After a shower and an update on my site for you guys we went to the center, had some dinner and had a walk around.

The route:

Today we went back to Georgia we passed at some small border post at 2100 meters.

We parted ways at Ninotsminda I went towards Tbilisi and Mirko to Batumi. The road from there was amazing, in the beginning it was quite cold due to the height, but once I got lower the temp went back up and the road was twisting and turning in and out the valleys. Parts of this roads I will surly visit with Sarah again in the next few days so I did not care to much about taking pictures and I was having to much fun on those twisty roads.

The route:

It is now around 18:30 local time and I am back in Tbilisi and in the hotel I booked for 3 nights.

The bike is safely stored in the garage and now have some time to due a proper post on the site.

Sarah should be here around midnight. (it is two hours later here in Georgia) I can not wait to see here again.

Tomorrow we will have some time to visit Tbilisi by day.

Oh and about 300 km more and the bike and me did 10.000 km so far on this trip.

Categories: Georgia, Armenia | 12 Comments

First days with Sarah

Picked up Sarah from the airport on Wednesday evening. I was there on time but she was not….

So I had a walk around

When the plane finely did land it took a while before people where getting out of the customs-zone.

First there was some high-chief-important person that needed 4 camera’s to make something very important very clear.

But then finely, tada…..

They do not like her old paper passport to much so every passport check they had to enter her data by hand. But she is here now and we got back to the hotel pretty quick. The next day we had a walk around Tbilisi.

Later that evening it started raining and during the night it was quite heavy. I thought that heading back towards Russia on the so called Georgian Military Highway would not be possible. But today the weather was nice and after we had some breakfast

we got on the bike and headed back up into the mountains. It was colder this time and there were clouds so we decided not to do the whole road. We did get pretty high though (in altitude, not in any special tobacco kind of way) On our way back we stopped at a restaurant and had some shashliek.

 

The route:

Tomorrow we will go somewhere else, we do not know where yet. But we reserved the same hotel in Tbilisi for 29 and 30 October and we can leave some luggage behind.

Until next time

Cheers

Steven & Sarah

Categories: Georgia, Armenia | 10 Comments

To Yerevan, Armenia

I am a few days behind but have had no time to do any updates. We are now back in Georgia and we will have a few days rest in Batumi tomorrow. So then I will post the rest….

We set off at around 9:30 from Tbilisi but it was clouded and cold. We got out of the city quite fast and the Armenian border is not that far but due to the weather it was pretty hard on Sarah being a little sick already.

 I had booked a hotel in Tsaghkadzor and when we got there it sort of looked abandoned. The girl at the reception showed us a room and it was cold and not really attractive. When we decided to leave and look elsewhere, a friendly English speaking man came to see us and then they showed us another room. In there they had prepared and there was a mobile heater running, clean sheets, etc. We had to take a shower in another room since hot water was not working in our room. We did get a discount on the room and the friendly man brought us to one of the most bizarre and wonderful restaurants we had ever been. The place consisted of small cabin’s with just a table and some chairs. The waiters had to run around the place to serve everybody. The food was excellent and we both thought that we would pay the high price and feared we did not have enough money on us. But we were pleasantly surprised as it was not even that expensive.

We slept ok but the overall feel of the hotel was weird. The weather was a lot better.

This morning we left for Garni, a temple close to Yerevan. Along the way we stopped at a rest area and there were a bunch of school kids there that all wanted to sit on the bike and put on our helmets. They were all about 10 years old and just started learning English. So we all counted to 10 in English out loud.

The temple itself is not that spectacular but the views around it where.

After that we went to Yerevan this time we had a better hotel. We went for a walk around city center and had some dinner.

Tomorrow we will try to visit Ani, the former Armenian capital and head back to Georgia.

The route:

Categories: Georgia, Armenia | 2 Comments

Yerevan to Batumi

Well we are now in Batumi for a few days of rest. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

When we left Yerevan 3 days ago. The view from our Hotel:

The landscape:

We went to see Ani, which is in fact now in Turkey. But the border around this area is guarded by Russians. It was a dirt road with a lot of stones to get there luckily for us it has not rained here for quite some time. Unfortunately we where not allowed to get inside the guarded area. So there is not much to see from behind these gates.

After some lunch we moved on back to Georgia.

We came through a beautiful valley and got to Akhaltiske around nightfall it was a long ride today.

The route:

We found a hotel and went out for some dinner. The next morning we wanted to visit the city’s castle and then go to see the cave city near Vardzia. On the way to the castle we stopped for fuel and there where 3 guys from Turkey on 2 BMW GS’s and a Honda Pan European. We went to see the Castle together and I got an invitation to visit them in Istanbul. The Castle is well maintained and looked after. There is a mosque and a church inside. It was great fun meeting those guys and to spent some time with them.

We then went to see the cave city. It was quite impressive to see and visit, but quite the climb to get up there.

Spot the bike:

On our way out of there we overtook a fan from France, we stopped and decided to have some tea at the next cafe. They were 2 couples. One owning the fan and they did a long trip and also visit Turkmenistan. The other being halve France halve Turkish. After the tea we had to move on. We found a Hotel in Borjomi a bit sooner than foreseen but my stomach was not enjoining something I eat as much as I did.

The route:

Yesterday morning I felt a bit better and we made it to Batumi although the last 30 Km was though some hard rain and we both got soaked.

The route:

My stomach is still upset so I might see a doctor/pharmacist today as I start to feel a bit weak as well. Also I have to sort out a problem on the bike as one of the oil-seals on the front-fork is leaking. As far as I could figure out the closest BMW dealer is in Istanbul and I do not think I will make it that far without damaging anything.

Combined route pic:

Cheers

Steven and Sarah

Categories: Georgia, Armenia | 3 Comments

Batumi

Here is a pic of Sarah still enjoying the ride in the rain. That soon changed as the rain got worse.

I went to a pharmacy  yesterday to get something for my ongoing stomach problem. The pills I got looked like the helped as during the whole day I had no real problems.  Then we went for a walk around town. At first we were a bit shocked. When you enter the city there is a big sign above the road quoting Mr Trump “In 5 years Batumi will be the best city in the world” But all we saw was really old and badly maintained houses and roads. But getting closer to the beach things changed and got better. When we went back in the evening the whole city seemed to have changed.

Some weird fountain:

For the 3th time the blacksea:

Batumi by night:

My condition did not change and after 4 nights I had enough and this morning we went to a poly clinic and after some investigation I was put down and got an infuse with some medicine and some re-hydration fluid.

After about 1 hour I felt a lot better and once I was set loose again we got back to the city centre and walked around a bit more.

Sarah getting kidnapped by King Kong:

Me getting eaten by a T-Rex:

Also my father got the replacement seals for the bike from the BMW dealer in Krommenie and sent them over with DHL to the hotel in Tbilisi. They should be there Monday or Tuesday. The same time that we will be back there.

Cheers

 

 

 

Categories: Georgia, Armenia | 4 Comments

Back to Tbilisi, again….

The next day the weather was better and we decided to visit a fortress close to Batumi and near to the Turkish border. The wall mostly intact.

We then went on to see the village Sarpi which turned out to be just a border town and not that interesting, but the views where amazing:

We even saw a dolphin hopping out of the black sea to say hi to us.

The route for that day:

The next day we meant to go to Gori, about 80 km before Tbilisi and visit another cave city the next day before going back to Tbilisi. Once we got there the Hotel out of the Lonely Planet seemed deserted so we continued our trip to Tbilisi. Arriving a day earlier. We went out for some dinner that night.

The route:

Since my fork-seal should be in the next day and the bike needed an oil change we decided to make tomorrow a bike-day.

Getting the right oil here is somewhat of a challenge but after asking around, getting a lift and paying about € 70,- for 4 liters I got what I needed. When we got back at the hotel the seals arrived. Some garage close to our hotel helped me get rid of the old oil and helped me change the engine oil and gearbox oil. Then Sarah and me started on the frontfork. In the Haynes manual it all seems so simple. Getting the leaking tube out was not that hard but getting the old seal out was. In the manual it says it can be done with a flat-head screwdriver. Well it broke my leatherman. (multitool) Luckily some neighbour was working on his car and he helped get the old one out and the new seal in. Al together we worked 3 hours on the bike and all should be well for another 10.000 km’s.

All done:

We celebrated with some dinner:

A special thanks to my dad and Sarah for helping me out.

Cheers

 

Categories: Georgia, Armenia | 3 Comments

Moving on to Turkey

Yesterday was a weird day, we woke up at 4 in the morning to get all our stuff sorted and left at 5 to the airport. The guys from the hotel were so kind to bring Sarah and her luggage. I followed on the bike. Sarah checked in first and we then had some coffee. around 6:15 she had to go. I had mixed feelings after we parted. Of course I was sad she had to leave but I was happy to move on and excited about Turkey. It was still dark when I set of for Gonio. It is a small town after Batumi and close to the Turkish border. It was cold so when I got to Gori I felt like an icecube. There was a big gasstation with a supermarket. I defrosted myself with some hot coffee and watched the sun come up. I filled up at the gasstation and made it to Gonio at around 13:00. As The road was not that interesting I did not make any pictures.

The route:

This morning I realized that there is a 2 hour time difference with Turkey. Since Trabzon is not that far and the check in time in my hotel there was 14:00 I gaught up on some Ride Reports on the ADV forum. Then around 12 (Georgian time)  I made my way to the border.

For Turkey I need a visa, this is not a big problem as it can be bought at the border. So this morning I was sure I did not have enough Lari (Georgian money) to buy one so I took an extra 40 Lari (about 20 euro) from an ATM. But guess what you leave Georgia, no problem there, stamp here, stamp there, and then at the Turkish border they do not except Lari??????

So now I am in no mans land with no Turkish money and they want Lira’s, euro’s or dollars. All I have is 50 Lari, 12 Euro’s and then I remember Ben, a colleague from work, gave me 20 dollar as a gift for my trip. So after some digging through my luggage I made it into Turkey thanks to Ben. So thank you again Ben. The visa costs € 15,- or $ 20,-

I am now in Trabzon, got my first Lira’s from an ATM and changed the Lari’s into Lira’s.

The route:

The view from my hotel room:

Remember those Turkish bikers we met in Georgia, well they sent us some pictures and since I am lacking some here they are:

Thank you Mustafa and see you soon in Istanbul. Tomorrow I will start making my way towards Cappadocia.

Cheers

 

Categories: Georgia, Armenia | 3 Comments