with Rod Oram


B to B 2024

B to B 2023

Tour of NZ 2023


Tour Aotearoa

Blissful Tbilisi

Sep 2, 2023

Day 34. Friday, September 1. Travel day to Tbilisi

The supermoon looked as fabulous from our hotel in Tashkent last night (one night after its peak) as it did worldwide. A shining send-off at the end of the first half of our ride to Istanbul.

This morning was more mundane as we cyclists, bike boxes and other gear caused a bit of a traffic jam at the Uzbekistan Airways check in for our flight to Tbilisi. They coped; and the airport profited from our coffees which cost the equivalent of NZ$7 each.

I’ve never seen such huge discrepancies in all prices between rural parts of a country and its capital as we’ve biked around this one. And since there are 7,200 som to the NZ dollar all transactions seem huge. One memorable evening I became an instant millionaire by extracting 10 x 100,000 notes from a cash machine (value NZ$138).

Our three-hour flight to Tbilisi took us over the Caspian Sea and, on its west coast, Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Sadly, as I noted in yesterday’s post, that’s as close as we’re getting to that fascinating country on this trip.

The moment we landed Georgia felt instantly quite a different country from Uzbekistan – hillier, greener, more European, wealthier, more English spoken, even more relaxed. Even getting ourselves, bikes and belongings city-side at the airport was far speedier and organised. Yep, here’s another bike box photo…

Our hotel is on a quiet hilly side street overlooking the city centre. After lunching on a delicious Caesar salad in a nearby café with a table surveying the neighbourhood, we set about reassembling our bikes in one of the hotel’s buildings, which turned out to be a small theatre….with, strangely, a deep well (with water far down) right beside me.

Never before have two of my great passions mingled this way. Can anyone think of a play featuring bikes? (…other than stationary bikes in gyms, perhaps?) Could this be my next challenge…?

Meanwhile, we’re back on our bikes tomorrow for four days of riding plus a rest day in a loop to the east of Tbilisi, then we return here for a day before setting off southwestward to Turkey.