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Korea, Russia, Stans To East Europe (page 76)

Tianeti To Tbilisi

Total asphalt day and not far, the mission to get under cover before the weather set in.

With heavy rain forecast for two days the decision was made to go somewhere with services so we would have something to do.

Tbilisi is an old city and we ended up staying on the edge in a hostal which was $5 Kiwi per night so very cheap. Fridays rain fizzed out and it was just bloody cold and damp so a stomp around old town was nice and included an icecream in defiance of the cold day.

Statue bro
The top
Part of old town rejuvenated into restaurants etc
Finally something worth seeing!!

Friday night it started to rain and through the night was heavy but by morning the wet had gone but it was then fookin cold commanding extra layers.

Didn't worry these guys who were asleep

 

Dog tired

In the centre of town is the river for which the old town was built around, now it is a thriving tourist hubb.

The river
Again 8-)

At a good point to turn south to Armenia this was ideal, you cannot get to Armenia from Azerbaijan and you cannot get from Armenia to Turkey as the borders are closed due to in-house fighting that has gone on for generations.

The final walk back to the hostel before parting I saw this. 

    

Outside a cafe

Tbilisi To Tatev

Another tarseal cowboy day, interestingly 96.7% of roads are paved in Armenia, now there are shitloads of little roads darting off everywhere which are gravel but they are not counted as roads….yeah that’s what I thought too.

Dilijan was the first stop, rolling in there at about 4.30 pm the last hour was bloody freezing, so much so that yes the puddles were starting to freeze.

We got a reasonably priced hotel and turned on the heaters….good value, the morning temperature outside was -4 at 8.00am.

Police, this time only in the photo and he even waved when I waved to him, the top of the tunnel heading south surrounded by snow everything frozen solid and the thaw barely starting, it was bitterly cold.

Cold..yeah

Not perturbed but inspired by mum natures white crayon painting Tatev was the destination, the Devils Bridge the innocent bystander along the way.

Crossing the pass and summiting at about 2400 metres to say it was cold is a serious understatement, wearing everything accept the second set of longjohns I was hoping it was not going to get much colder.

Freezing cold...yeah
Freezinger colder...yeah
See the left-hand side of the photo, that is where I am headed
OMK TV
Where I had come from and further down the mountain in search of tropical climates
OMK TV

I even resorted to ducktaping the front vent of my helmet, I normally love the fresh air coming through but bone-chilling freezer air became unwelcome as my lips and face froze….yes poor wee princess was getting a runnie nose too.

 

Stop the cold, nah just slowed it down

Descending down the valley I could see greenery, the snow had been quite selective as to whom it would torture, the roads luckily were already clear, only a couple of "Road moments" of a squiggle on the bike so minimal vinyl damage.

Devils Bridge, was ok but not quite what I expected, there is warm water flowing into 2 pools, if one was brave and had swimming gear I believe the water at the lower level by the river is warmer, me I was cold and 6 km from Tatev which meant a hot shower and relax so that won me over.

The Devils Bridge, named as it does not quite meet
The river beneath
The overhanging rock

Finding a hostel that wasn’t trying to tear my wallet away was not easy, it is a tourist spot and they charge accordingly even offseason. We found a place that fitted the bill but it did get a little unusual with the owner being a bit different...I think the Vodka spanked him, it was homemade about 70%.  

Flaming Vodka

Up at 1600 metres the temperature dropped like a stone so it was nice to be indoors.

Waking up to crispy air white frozen leaves etc I have no idea what it went down to but the puddles outside were frozen solid, so I know some were 150 mm deep when we rode in.

 

Twomotokiwis
Author of this article: Twomotokiwis
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