Destinations: Khatski Pillar, Batumi, Trabzon (for team Ninja)
Distance Travelled: 617 km
Recipes Collected: 0 (Nothing this week unfortunately)
Although Tbilisi had become somewhat of a second home, it was finally time for us Spicyroad birdies to leave the nest!
We had heard about a monastery that sits upon a single pillar somewhere northeast of Kutaisi, so we aimed to hitchhike and camp there for the night. We had a couple of funny drivers (including a pair that were screaming and singing to a friend of theirs over the phone at the top of their lungs) but we all arrived at the pillar by nightfall… just in time for a rain shower. After walking around in the dark and rain for an hour we finally found a decent campspot and settled down for the night.
After waking up to the sound of 4 dogs barking right outside our tents, we all explored the surrounding area and of course the monastery. Apart from the fact that no one other than the lone monk who lives up on the pillar is allowed to climb up it, I was shocked to learn that women in particular are forbidden to climb to the top of the pillar because historically, stylites lived up there to avoid temptation from money, greed and women.
Later, we packed up our things and hitchhiked to Batumi where we would be staying for the next few days to apply for our Iranian visas. It was nighttime by the time we arrived but our host promised us a delicious free meal from one of the local casinos for everyone. Everyone except for me (the 19 year old) that is… 😕
As well as applying for our Iranian visas, we also focused on getting some more work done, organising our priorities and Skypeing with a ton of potential new members. Also thanks to the rainy weather we experienced during the entire duration of our stay, many hours were spent in local cafes and restaurants with our laptops, a plate of warm mushroom Khinkali and more than a few cups of delicious Turkish coffee (it´s officially my new favourite drink)!
Aside from mostly working during the day, we also had the chance to spend time with our host and many other couchsurfers that stayed with him in his guesthouse. Together we walked along Batumi’s famous promenade, chatted and drank together at a cosy bar and even played an epic football match. In the match against our host’s Georgian friends, the international couchsurfing team was able to draw from the talents of its Ukrainian, Irish, German, Australian, Georgian and Argentinian players to score a win against our opponents! Gooooaaaaaaalll!
The incessant rain may have been starting to get us down, but luckily a sunny new member joined our midst…. Doro!! She arrived quite late but we all stayed up to greet her. Woohoo! Now there are 5 of us aga- What’s this?
Everyone who applied for their Iranian visas has to stay in Batumi for another 2 weeks?! You have got to be kidding me!
The news put a serious dent in our plan. Jina had a flight booked from Istanbul in 2 weeks, I would be leaving the project in about a month and didn’t want to miss out travelling through a lot of Turkey not to mention we already had a (M)Eat Up event in Istanbul and other interviews planned. What were we going to do?
After much discussion, we decided that the best option was for the group to split up; Ia, Yannic and Doro would stay in Batumi and wait for their visas whilst Jina and I would begin travelling in Turkey on our own until we could meet the others in Istanbul. It certainly wasn’t an ideal situation but there wasn’t much else that could be done…
Spicyroad would be temporarily split up. (Dun dun duuuuun!)
So, the next day Jina and I packed our bags and set off towards Turkey!
After 5 minutes of waiting with our thumbs up outside of Batumi, we managed to hitch a single, direct ride all the way from Batumi to Trabzon. From there, our host picked us up and brought us straight to his lovely, hotel-like apartment where we had a delicious meal waiting for us.
I have a feeling that Turkey is going to be amazing!