Well , "Georgia on my mind" might apply to me but not to Elizabeth who resideth in my GPS. She refuses to accept Georgia or acknowledge it exists. So it is back to old fashioned navigation by map, stars, compass, intuition and any other skills we might have.
We start off by crossing a mountain pass and back to switch backs again
Then down thru the treeless and dusty Turkish border town of Ardahan. We resort to asking directions of people on the street as Elizabeth has given up already in anticipation of being in Georgia. Then at last we find a sign to " Gergustan". That has to be Georgia I guess. Yet another country ending in "..........Stan. ". The thought occurs to be that perhaps they could rename Australia " Oioistan". Or how about a country called "Unclestan" ?
We arrive at the border which was not the border crossing we had intended but sometimes you can't be too choosy about borders I guess. That's interesting - there is a EU flag. I didn't even know Georgia was part of the EU.
Diana gets her medicines checked by a customs lady ( a first) and then we are through. It is always a lovely musical sound to hear the sound of a stamp going onto a passport at a border crossing . She also talks to another traveller at the crossing. He tells her he is from Tiblisi. " You are the first Armenian I have met " she says. Woops Diana - Tiblisi is the capital of Georgia, not Armenia and we are in Georgia right now ! And I am not quite sure the Georgians and Armenians always like each other!
The lettering script on the signs almost looks Burmese
Immediately we seem in a poorer landscape to start off with. However it gets more prosperous and tidier as we go along and we could be in a New Zealand landscape
Crosses replace Minarets. Georgia is about 90% Eastern Christian(,according to that fount of all knowledge - Lonely Planet) which I think means Russian Orthodox
And we arrive fo the night at the town of Akhaltsikhe which I still do not know how to pronounce. It has a huge big castle overlooking the town that would be much larger than Windsor castle.
We sit down for a beer at a table just outside the hotel we are staying at. . The man at he next table is talking on a cellphone. " OK mate - see ya " he says. I prick my big ears up. That sounds very antipodean to me. It transpires it is the voice of Bill Young from the 'Naki ! ( Taranaki region of NZ for overseas readers). He is over here in this part of Georgia using his Taranaki expertise to help lay what is a 48 inch diameter gas pipeline that is going all the way from Baku in Azerbaijan all the way to Italy. A pipeline that size would deplete the Maui gas field in NZ in several weeks! We have a brief chat then it is the first nights rest in Georgia.
Tomorrow - Tbilisi- capital of Georgia