Arrived a few days ago to Kutaisi but the internet is not really working so did not had a chance to update the posts here.
Kutaisi was the leading industry capital around the region during the communism and it is still the second largest city at Georgia with around 180.000 citizens.
From Tbilisi you have to actually go to the most chaotic station of the world -the Didube station- to pick one of the mini-buses to Kutaisi. It was the second time I went there and still shocking… it is like a market, full with thousand years old buses and more and more really criminal looking touts are approaching you to force you into some minivans.. it is petty impossible to shake them off… after some time I saw nobody else just the touts around me… they are of course only the friends of the bus driver and want no harm to the scared tourists but it is still a good idea to manually check the destination of the bus which is a bit hard as the georgian letters are way different from anything else I know.
Towards Kutaisi the scenery is really breath-taking… first it was hard to understand why it takes 4-5 hours for a 200km ride but I realized that the slopes of the Caucasus mountain is on the way… It was amazing.. meter deep snow sometimes.. green pastures… rocky outcrops.. at a certain point we entered the South Ossetian territories which was really tidy and well organized… next to the nice views there was a large amount of military vehicles and soldiers on the road.. it indeed feels as it is an active war zone.. the bus is flying across the hills on the iced road to avoid being picked by a sniper… I guess that is the reason why the driver was so keen placing me next to the window so it is visible by far distance that they travel with the tourist so it will be less likely that they will shoot us.
In general the Georgian driving style is quite mad… bigger the snow and ice quicker they go.. lanes and directions does not really mean a thing, not even the lane numbers, it is flexible. Also really sweat is the amount of chariots, cattle, hitchhikers on the highways. I understand why they draw crosses after seeing a church that often 🙂
Arriving to Kutaisi was a bit depressing the bus went by many slum like settlements and arrived to an even darker and more depressive place than the capital. The rain was insane so after getting off the bus run into the local McDonalds where not long after me a guy came in in a nice suit with a massive big gun attached to his belt at his back… the outlook of the town has not improved much with this picture… luckily the image improved from day two and I can say I actually enjoyed Kutaisi. It is most probably one of the oldest settlement of the world the are was inhabited from around 4000 years ago and before even the dino’s where camping out here hence the large amount of dino footprints. Unfortunately due to the rains the sites are closed. 😦
Managed to arrange a nice homestay with a lovely family, who speaks english absolutely well, which is quite the norm here to be honest, at least compared to my country it seems… The room is small but cosy the only thing missing is actually the heating… strange how people of the really cold climates simply do not have a proper heating at their homes… at night I could see my breath inside the room… still hell of an adventure it start to be. By now I really start to relax and really enjoy the experience full on!! Life is great!
The young georgian fellas are really friendly… usually they welcome you with a loud “How are you?” and within minutes a large group will follow you everywhere loughing and making jokes and fun. Really good experience!