The first day of cycling through Georgia was spent meandering through the streets of Tbilisi, veering around surprised Ladas and front-bumper-less cars (remember that in Tbilisi you gotta simply step in front of those cars to cross the street, whether there is a crossing or not, c’mon – assert your pedestrian authority!). A convoy of four cyclists, some laden to the high heavens (me) and others lightweight as only an ex-Army man could be (“Action Man” Amund).
The route to the border took us past a host of many little villages. Up and down, up and down. Hills a-plenty and heating sun shining onto us. Every person we passed peered curiously, hello’s were exchanged, and we pushed on, stopping only to buy some food at markets – I a jolly half a roast chicken… it would last me a couple of days!
We were a merry bunch, cycling and joking, weaving in and out of pace with each other and stopping in the middle of a field for lunch.
But gosh, where did we end up sleeping?? In the middle of a fort! Chailuri Tsikhe – Chailuri Fortress, a mediaeval military pentagonal citadel. What a setting for the first night of camping, stars slowly lighting themselves up as the sun set, the ramparts casting geometric paths arounds us, tent-less with mats laid out sous la belle étoile and an over-excited bird who had thought it best to keep doing rapid figure-of-8 loops over the castle lights instead of snuggling up to sleep with his lady-bird.