September 12: Telavi, Georgia
7:30. We check out of Nelly’s and head to the other guesthouse for breakfast. I’m walking with Helen and Duncan. It’s clear that Helen’s left hand is even more swollen than it was yesterday when she was bitten by a spider while picking grapes.
7:40. The host of the second guesthouse calls up the town’s roving paramedics who arrive in 10 minutes to treat Helen. There’s no charge for this as all healthcare services are free in Georgia.
8:50. We leave Telavi for a morning drive through the Alazani Valley to Tbilisi.
9:15. Our first stop of the day is yet another monastery. There are three connected structures built in the 5th century, and at the beginning and end of the 7th century.
12:00. The outlaying neighbourhoods of Tbilisi appear on the horizon. It’s a relatively long city of 1.5 million spread along the banks of the Mtkvari River. My first impression is positive to say the least.
12:15. We have made our way through the suburbs and arrive at our hotel in the heart of the old city. The winding river, high rocky cliffs, and a mix of medieval, classical and brutalist Soviet architecture creates a very interesting backdrop.
16:00. Rodney and I decide to leave the sightseeing until tomorrow. For now we’ll head to the 7th floor Sky Bar at the Mercure Hotel where the mojitos are twice as good and exactly 10x as expensive as the KFC in Baku. The view is a bit better too.