Saturday, April 9, 2016

A hitchhike adventure from Tbilisi to Ananuri

I haven't really been travelling around Georgia yet, mostly due to not being sure if there would be wifi for me to work.(Georgia isn't as well connected as western countries.)
But sitting at home is really starting to get to me, so I surfed the web and found a portable 3G router where you can put a simcard in and it is also a powerbank to charge the tablet. It sounded perfect for me, so I decided to buy it so that I can travel around as much as I want without having to worry whether or not I will be able to work. Now I can work from anywhere around the world as long as there is a mobile connection. (All I have to do is put a simcard in it and the tablet connects right away with the device.)
So today it was time to test it and I decided to hitchhike to Ananuri, which is about an hour drive. I've been wanting to go to that place since forever, so now it was time to do it.

Ananuri Fortress Complex

I woke up early this morning, so I could catch an early morning bus to the edge of the city to start hitchhiking from there. Hitchhiking inside the city is nearly impossible and since the citybusses are so cheap (0.50 lari/0.17 euro), the best option was to get as far away from the city center as possible. So I took the bus to the last busstop along the highway out of Tbilisi and started to hitchhike.
A few cars stopped straight away, but they didn't go in my direction, so I let them go.
The 3rd car who stopped didn't go where I was going neither, but they were able to drop me off at the beginning of the road towards Zhinvali (where I was heading). Two lovely Georgian guys who spoke pretty good English to my surprise. We had a nice chat and we exchanged facebook and when they dropped me off they made sure that I had another ride before they left. So they stopped a car for me and off I was again! This guy didn't speak any English, so the ride itself was mostly in silence. He had to be in a town close to Zhinvali, so I only had to hitch another 5km after he dropped me off.
This time an expensive private taxi stopped for me and I told the driver I didn't have any money. He shrugged and told me it was fine. He dropped me off right at the fortress.

The fortress itself is beautiful! Unfortunately the river/reservoir behind it was completely dried out. Normally there is a lot of water with a turqouise color, so I guess I have to come back some time in summer. There is a newer part which is operating as a church and there is the old fortress which is more a ruin than anything else. But I love ruins and decaying buildings, so I went to explore with much excitement.

The old fortress

Other part of the old fortress

Other side of the old fortress

The wall plus watchtower of the old fortress

One of the towers had a stairs going up, so naturally I wanted to explore and see what's on the top. It had several chambers and the stairs itself was really narrow.

Narrow stairs

One of the chambers

At the top there was a lovely room with a small window with the greatest views!

From the top of the tower

After exploring the old fortress and tower, I went to the church to have a look inside.

The church from the outside

The church on the inside


It wasn't very big so after a few minutes I went out again to explore more of the region around the fortress. Just down the hill there was an old abandoned church which looked lovely in it's decay. It didn't get a lot of attention from the tourists who where at the fortress as well, I guess not everyone is drawn to buildings like this. For me it's incredibly beautiful!

Abandoned church

The inside of the abandoned church

After exploring all the corners of this church, it was time to test the device I bought and I looked for a nice spot in the sun to work for 2 hours. I found a lovely spot on the riverbank and connect my tablet to the device. It worked beautifully and fast! I'm really happy I bought it, now I can really work from anywhere. So I sat there for two hours and did my work.
When I was finished I went for a little walk towards the town of Ananuri.

View from my "office"

Same view, but this time with the old bridge as well

One of the roads in town. The dog you see there is a stray dog who liked me very much I think, because he kept coming for cuddles and walked with me the rest of the way.

After exploring the little town, it was time to slowly hitch my way back to Tbilisi. I walked up to the main road and waited for a car to come. Not much traffic is passing today, so I thought it might be a while before getting picked up, But fortunately I saw a car coming after just 1 minute and he stopped for me. It was a Russian guy on his way to Tbilisi. He didn't speak any English and I didn't speak any Russian or Georgian, so we tried to communicate with pointing and gestures. He knew a few English words, so we managed to have a little conversation. When we were almost in Tbilisi he asked if I wanted to have sex. This is actually the first time this happens to me while hitchhiking, so I was a little flabbergasted. I politely told him no and fortunately he didn't ask again. He was a but ashamed for asking I think, so we just laughed it away. He bought me some food and a drink and drove me all the way to Vake where I live. He dropped me off at the main road and from there it was only a 3 minute walk home.

So I've got my intake of exploration vitamins again, which is good because the coming days the weather is gonna be pretty bad. Next time I will take the same road as today, but all the way to Kazbegi (Russian border). I will pass Gudauri as well (skiresort), so if there is still snow, I will probably snowboard for a few hours as well.

Cheers and see you all next time!