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Old 05-04-2012, 01:08 AM   #91
randel OP
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Sorry BenMen, I misread your post!
Well, I'm afraid that all higher passes are still under snow then. At least locals sayd that passes will be closed until June.
You probably can reach Mestia and Ushguli only coming from west (road from Poti).
Some short overview about places we visit and not yet covered in my report
Batumi - resort at Black Sea. Very different from other Georgia, more "europe-like" and not so exotic, also more expensive. If you like to travel cheap, don't be afraid to take some unofficial apartment there. We got 3-room apartment for 40 Euro for 2 night (family who lived there, moved to summer cottage for that time!).
Southern part of Georgia - very different from northern part, mountains are more like in Spain, desert-like, less or no trees.
Vardzia - ancient cave city, great and amazing place.
Gori and Stalin museum (Stalin, soviet dictator, was born in this city). Take a guide (english, german etc available).
We didn't have time to visit Tbilisi, a capital of Georgia, but don't feel bad about it.
Mtskheta - ancient capital of Georgia - found some comments before our trip that it's overrated, so we didn't visit that too
Definately worth a visit is Kakheti - eastern part of Georgia and a wine county. Unfortunately we didn't have time for that.

What's the most interesting part of Georgia is people. Take time to talk with them and they will tell you where to go (mostly they will suggest to stay with them ). If you don't speak russian, you may have problems with communicating them though. But we met only friendly people willing to help you!
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:00 AM   #92
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Thanks Randel for these useful infos. We were actually planning to reach Mestia and Ushguli from Poti. Do you remember how long it takes between Mestia and Ushguli? Some say you need 4 hours in a 4X4. It's only 45 km I think, so it seems a bit long to me.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:28 PM   #93
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I don't remember exactly, but definately not 4 hours, maybe something between 1-2 hours. Of course it depends from bikes too, but for our bikes it was easy riding, mostly gravel or very old asphalt with a lot of potholes.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:42 PM   #94
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Tallin

Subscribed !!!! I'll be in Tallin 2nd week in June .....any suggestions as where to stay ?

Cheers , Dan
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Old 05-07-2012, 12:43 AM   #95
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Hi Dan
Check this site: http://www.visitestonia.com/en/ , everything you may need from B&B to 5 stars hotels. If you have any specific question, send me a PM.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:50 AM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenMen View Post
Thanks Randel for these useful infos. We were actually planning to reach Mestia and Ushguli from Poti. Do you remember how long it takes between Mestia and Ushguli? Some say you need 4 hours in a 4X4. It's only 45 km I think, so it seems a bit long to me.
No worries, it is fast gravel. Below vid may give you an idea, bike is very heavy loaded + pillion. After that we have kept going to Lentkhi and then to Kutaisi. Nice ride.

There are some more vids of Georgia in my channel there in Vimeo.

https://vimeo.com/34455513
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:08 AM   #97
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Duroturk, do you remember if there were any gas stations in the area around Mestia? Thanks.

Nice videos, by the way.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:47 AM   #98
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Duroturk, do you remember if there were any gas stations in the area around Mestia? Thanks.

Nice videos, by the way.
Thanks mac.

Yes, there is at least one in Mestia which I have tanked. By the way, last summer there was a messy road construction to Mestia, they may finish it this year. Paved roads might decrease the adv feeling for some people.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:40 AM   #99
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Very useful information, thank you. Maybe road construction will stop at Usghuli , it's very unlikely that tarmac reaches the Zagar pass, don't you think so? I would like to visit the zone before that happens.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:27 AM   #100
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I doubt they will continue roadwork beyond Mestia - too expensive and not enough traffic to justify this. They have too many roads to repair in Georgia anyway
There were massive roadworks going on road from Poti to Mestia (a lot of it was already done in August/September) and also in Georgian military highway - going from Tbilisi to north to Russian border.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:22 AM   #101
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Thanks mac.

Yes, there is at least one in Mestia which I have tanked. By the way, last summer there was a messy road construction to Mestia, they may finish it this year. Paved roads might decrease the adv feeling for some people.
Thanks Duroturk for these info. I'm leaving Brussels on saturday. Can't wait to be there
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:34 AM   #102
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I doubt they will continue roadwork beyond Mestia - too expensive and not enough traffic to justify this.
I agree, plus I heard rumors that this tarmac to Mestia is only because Saakashvili's new summer house in Mestia. No interest for the rest.

And may be it is good that they will not extend the road to Ushguli. It is better protected like this.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:40 AM   #103
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Thanks Duroturk for these info. I'm leaving Brussels on saturday. Can't wait to be there
Have a nice trip BenMen. You'll find tasty "khacapuri" at every corner.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:55 AM   #104
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Time for update!

Day 11.

It was still night when we woke up, because one dog was barking at our tent. And pretty close. Dog sounded not angry, but like asking from us: "Hey, why did you came? Guys? Would you like to go away? Then I can go back to sleep! Hey? Guys? Please?"
Probably he has newer before saw tents in his life and was confused what the hell was it. Just before we started to go out and try to calm down this dog, he leaved. Huh! Finally silence.
We fall asleep again.
Then some time later we woke up again. Our so-polite dog has arrived with his friend. And he was definitely quit angry! We had no wish to go out of our tent anymore! Actually we would like to be in totally different place then few meters away from seriously angry dog, separated only by thin fabric! For our luck that strange human-smelling thing (our tent) didn't attract that dog to attack us and after many barking sessions he decided that this strange thing called tent didn't move nor is especially dangerous and leaved us alone.
In the morning, not much after we woke up, one local farmer with huge ax in his hands came to say hello to us. His first question after saying friendly hello to us was: "Estonians?" How did he know? We were some 10 meters away from our bikes, number plates were not visible from this side, only small national flags. Did he visit our camp during night when dogs were attacking us? Anyway, after short friendly discussion (usual where have you been, how long, where are you going etc) he leaved, saying anything about our incident on the night.



Going to Poti, road turned better and better.



Inguri water reservoir



World highest concrete Inguri dam, 272meters (892ft) high and 750meters (2500ft) long!



Without much drama we arrived Poti.



While we had plans to arrive Batumi today, after short ride in Poti city, we continued driving south. Lunch time.
Our most expensive lunch during this trip, around 15 each and despite we ordered double portions we felt like cheated.



Weather was hot and humid and traffic turned worse with every km. Entering Batumi it was like a race. We were on the slowest lane on four-lane (in one direction) road and did 120km/h. It wasn't highway, just regular road with crosswalks for pedestrians. Don't try to cross that road on foot when you are not local I don't even know how local survive that, because nobody didn't care about stopping. Just crazy!

Our track for today



In Batumi we went to tourist information to ask about cheap accommodation. We got a map from them with some places marked with pencil. After visiting first motel we stopped aside one street to check our map, while young boy, maybe 10 years old, spoke to us in almost perfect english (not russian!) - hello, are you looking for accommodation? Hotel? Apartment? I have something for you! 3-room apartment in city center! Cheap!
We wasn't sure at first, what should we do, offer was good but can we trust him? We decided to check this apartment anyway - what harm can this do? - and found pretty clean and comfortable place. After quick check to another motel on our map we agreed with boys to pay 40 for two days stay and moved in. As we discovered, one family was living in this apartment and now they had to move out to their summer cottage!
We hear that this young has private teacher who teach him english just because that job. Young businessman with great attitude
View to our apartment from the street.



From yard



And inside



We quickly put our dirty laundry in the washing machine, had a shower and went to walk in Batumi

Local transportation



We went to small shop to buy some drinks. After asking from the guy behind counter which is his best georgian cognac we started already so familiar "where are you from" discussion. And of course that shop owner (as we discovered) had some memories from Estonia! He offered us to taste his best cognac and generously poured maybe 1/3 of one bottle into two glasses! It was good indeed and we bought one bottle to take with us.
Views from Batumi.





Theater and Radisson hotel behind it.


Main boulevard was favorite place also for locals to gather. And while it was already midnight we saw also small kids running and elderly people walking around, it looked like families with many generations walking around.









Musical fountains





6th May park




People playing table tennis



We are not very sure when we returned to our apartment, it was still dark

Next day was planned as a rest day.
Breakfast near beach





Small bakery, theyr products tasted fantastically!



Same place we visited at night





Estonian tourist has arrived. It was great to send an sms to colleagues at home and wish them happy 1st of September!



While we had a camera with us we couldn't resist to take some pictures











Of course we were serious tourists and focus only on architectural and other symbols!
Alphabetic tower



A "something"



Later we did a trip to Batumi market. Raul wanted to buy small screwdriver to open his camera and try to clean it after dropping it into puddle in Mestia. And while we got needed screwdriver repairing his camera didn't succeed.



This young girl was very patiently teaching this even younger boy.



Our second day in Batumi ended with walking on Batumi beach.
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:48 PM   #105
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Batumi looks like a fantastic and interesting place. Looks like the beach didnt have much sand
but the women there made up for it Im sure, and it looks as if they serve beer for breakfast too.
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