Thursday, 26 July 2012

from Sheki to Baku

start at 4.30 pm. 38km, 2h 08, avs 18 total 4039.
camping on a field.

start at 8 for this day. very good route. suddenly a car stopped and we got
an invitation for tea. we discussed with the men the best way to Baku.
after 80 km Astrid had an accident. she hit a stone on the highway, felt, and left hand and knee were seriously injured. first aid at high temperature and no shadow. it was necessary to go to a doctor. the next city Ucar was only three kilometers away but we had no information about a hospital or an ambulance. suddenly I noticed an ambulance car at a service station . great luck ! he called a doctor, after 15 minutes came one told us that there is more do to and we followed with our bikes to a partly new hospital. Astrid has been sewed at her left hand and knee. the doctor was really friendly and organized a room in hotel very close. this hotel was officially closed but we got a room. we got a delicious dinner and went
to bed tired at very high level.
95km, 5h , avs 19, total 4134

we stayed still in the hotel because the heat and the accident exhausted us. we sleeped many hours.

53 km in 2 h 40, avs 20. total 4187. in Kuerdair we decided to take the train to Baku because Astrid wrist was aching and we would not to take any risk of an infection. this train was one of the oldest train in the world; highly uncomfortable wooden seats, the track surely was from before the first world war and the shock absorber did not work anymore. 5 hours were a torture. fortunetly we met Bajil, who studies German and English language and he told us many things about his country. at 11pm we arrived in Baku. Jalal, the friend of Estlan, the hotel manager from Shaki, told us via mobile phone that we have to take a taxi to his home. well, it is a small adventure to find one which carries our bikes and luggage. so we drove with two taxis to him. He also hosted Alexej and Aiguen from Moldavia and we had a funny conversation till 2am.

delicious breakfast with Jalal, Alexej and Aiguen. we left his home to go to the International SOS hospital and tried to catch a taxi. unfortunetly we asked two taxidrivers. the first one did no anything, the second was on the same but he was quite stupid. Jalal explained him the way but he drove three times in a circle and had to ask several people... unbelievable.
at the hospital the doctor checked Astrids hand and knee and we had an interesting conversation. Astrid hand is ok the knee should be monitored. She also got a vaccination for Hepatits A+B, then we went to a restauranti and back to Jalals home

27.07. we had breakfast with Jalal and his brother. we went by metro to the centre and wanted to see the ferry port. as we opened a map Ismail a young man from AZ talked to us and asked for helping us. we walked to the passenger ferry port but this was not correct. we walked further and we stopped at a door without any sign, but it was the right one. the woman informed Ismail that she never knows when the ferry will leave or arrive. well, without the help of Ismail perhaps we would search untill today, but we know the price and we can check it on sunday. in the afternoon we met Leyla a friend of Elshan which is a member of the local mountainbike club and we went through the city to a sports shop, looking for some bikeshorts. due to Ramadan we could not invite her for a coffee or dinner.

28.07. we did our laundry and checked the internet for a hotel or guesthouse in Aktau.we also checked Astrid's the afternoon met Leyla downtown for a little sight-seeing and having coffee.

29.07. we got up early to catch the ship to Aktau. we left Jalal our great host and cycled on the big road to the harbour. on our way we met some cyclists on racebike and they lead us to the harbour. what a surprise! never expected them :-)
at the cashier the woman told us that the ship will departs today and we should be back at 01.00 pm. we visited the International SOS hospital again to cancel an appointment and we met Leyla again for lunch and doing some shopping for our trip.
as we arrived at the harbour a group of the "Mongolia race team" were there; 20 people from all over the world with smaller cars, travelling to Ulan Bator to support an aid project by leaving their cars there. hope we keep in touch !

Saturday, 21 July 2012

from Lagodekhi to Sheki

crossing the border to Azerbaidschan. till border: 3843 at all.
total day :47 km, 3h 15. avs 14,3, total 3883, hot, camping at a gazstation.
people are much more friendly and openhearted than in Georgia. 80 % of the cardrivers uses their horn in a friendly way and people on the street were waving. AZseems to be
much richer than Georgia. well, AZ was under Russion occupation as well, but it had no war in the last 20 years. the first smaller cities we passed, have many new houses and official buildings.

we got up at 6:30. thunder was approaching.with high speed we packed our stuff. flashes and thunder came very fast. fortunetly we were able to carry our stuff under the roof of the gazstation. we had a piece of bread and then we started our trip. heavy rain. suddenly we had to stop because a bridge was under construction. for cars a detour through a river. not possible for us!
we took the bridge... crazy because there were many gaps to cross...
we were very wet. in a small village
we stopped for tea and changing the clothes. just sitting and updating for 2,5h in the cafe. in the evening we stopped at a cafe in Dars. it was still 25 km to Shaki. we asked the owner for a hotel but nothing was very close. we asked for the possibility to camp close to the cafe and he offered us his backyard with lawn. he also offered us a delicious dinner. his son Ilkin joined us ; he speaks English so we had a great end of an exhausting day.
91 km, with 20km gravelled road, 5h 41, avs 16, total 3974.

now in Sheki. 27 km , 10 km uphill, 2 h 18,avs 11,6 and now 4001 km !!!
we looked for a hotel but the first one was full. Ilkin drove me to another one while Astrid was waiting at our bikes. I booked a room for two nights. when we arrived at the hotel Sheki Saray suddenly a man in a
business suit talked to me that we know each other. I did not check it first but he informed me that we had contact via couchsurfing and he is the hotelmanager, his name is Elshan Mammadli and he is very friendly. how crazy! two days ago he sent me a sms with more details but I did not receive it. again a very small world. In the evening we met Martin from a German Company. he is assembling textile machines all over the world and stays for four weeks in Sheki. He told us so many stories from his work, highly interesting and great to meet him !

long breakfast with Martin and making backups of our pictures and updating facebook. dinner with Ilkin.

22.07. we wanted to visit the Karavansaray but it was closed due to a filmteam. then we visited the Khans Palace which was very beautiful. in then afternoon we will leave Sheki.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

from Tbilisi to Lagodekhi

42 km. 3h, 14 avs. 3713 total heavy thunder and flashes. this evening in the tent was unbelievable. so much rain and storm! glad that I fixed my tent additionally with tent pegs.

60km , 3h 45, avs 16km/h, hot and hilly, camping at SOCAR gasstation. total 3773

63km, 3h 43, avs 17, total 3836km. now on the road to Lagodekhi , our last stop before Azerbaidschan. on our way we got so many fruits and vegetables as gifts from the people; really amazing, because they are quite poor. we both noticed that people are much more friendly as on our way to Gori. we visited a shop for farmers from Pioneer/duPont/NuFarm. this company makes the farmers absolutely dependend on their products. you can not use the seed for the next year and you have to buy the special plant protecting products from them. it is an US company but we have the same dubious companies in Germany with BASF and Bayer.
in the evening we arrived in Langodekhi and took the first hotel in the centre.

Astrid and me made a sight seeing trip through the national park. the young woman in the visitor centre was horrible; she spoke German very well but in such a monoton way that I waited for the life jacket and the safety belt, because she did it like a stewardess;-). Astrid wanted to climb to a small cottage and I walked to a small waterfall. heavy and difficult track. I only had my trekking sandals and it was slippery. I met a group from Germany/Switzerland and it was funny with them. Astrid did a very long walk with some guys from Poland and Israel. at the end of my tour I visited the Kiwi Guest house which we noticed by accident. gorgeous place to spend
the nights. Great day ! now a beer and tomorrow Azerbaidschan !

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Tiflis (Tbilisi)

08.07.after 84 km, 4h46, avs 17,7 max speed, 56,7 we met Tengo
at the Radisson and we drove to our apartement ! gorgeous !!!
09.07. brake plates for Astrid! Tengo helped us so much. small sighseeing tour with him. book corner cafe
10.07. 3 am airport, Ruth brought us the spareparts. prosperus book shop.
11.07.first visit at a dentist but there was no power. we visited the DWVG, the "Deutsche Wirtschaftsvereinigung Georgiens", which is a part of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries in Germany. Nino and Patrick gave us a summary of the different projects and tasks of this organisation. thanks a lot !
12.07. Guenter from the EUMM in Gori recommended us his dentist. the taxidriver first did not find the way asked two men on the road. one of the men told me that he has lived for 40 years in Mannheim, where I have lived for 18 years. small world :-).
for me the visit at the was no problem. Astrid had some more problems so we stayed 2 hours waiting time included.
after this we went to the Prosperos Cafe. we met two Ladies from the Vienna Waldorfschule and had a funny conversation. after our coffee we went by cable car up to the hill and had a good view over Tiflis. a good beer from the oldest brewery in theStelzenhouse, gave me power again.
13.07. Visit of the National Museum. I did not know that Germany and Georgia have a longlasting economical history. really amazing. in the evening we were invited at Tengos home for dinner. he and his family are so friendly! thank you so much !

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

from Kars to Tiflis (Tbilisi)

29.06. we left Kars in the afternoon.camping in old mill, where it was very cold and windy.
30.06. we asked for camping on a meadow and got an invitation from a farmers family. great to know a different culture !
01.07.after 40 km steep and heavy road we took a truck over the pass due to it was to windy and cold and we had to be in Tiflis on the 8th. by accident we visited a beekeeper and Astrid was explaining me all the details because she is a beekeeper as well. we met a Russian whott teaches
English and German and is on the way to Syria. just in time we crossed the border to Georgia, camping at
an old water power station close to the river. excellent camp fire :-).
02.07. camping again on the same place, in the evening there was a first strange meeting with some guys from the local village but than no problems. camp fire!!
03.07. invitation at a guesthouse close to Borjomi. during the night someone opened our bags but only a t-shirt is still missing.
04.07. heavy rain and I felt really sick. Astrid asked a taxi driver and he invited us to his home. i had higher temperature and was glad not to do camping.
05.07. only 20 km to Agara, hotel silk road. heavy problems with stomach
06.07. no fun at all with pain in your stomach. Gori Hotel Georgia. nasty city , which glorifies a mass murderer. what a shame !!
we met Guenter and Otmar from EUMM, they monitor the border to South Ossetia.
07.07. we visited Uplistsikhe, a 3000 year old village of caves. sleeping at Guenters Home, Stalin museum only outside ! entrance fee 15 eur ! unbelievable Sorry, but I hate this horrible city.
08.07. on the way from Gori to Tbilissi. 85 km avs 17,6, beautiful apartement,
09.07. Tengo, the owner of the Guesthouse Formula One in Tiflis,
drove us to several bicycle shops looking for brake plates for Astrid. he also made a small sight seeing tour with us. thanks so much !!!
10.07. at 3 am airport, meeting with Ruth a friend of Astrid who brought us our spareparts. we were groggy...
thank you very much !
still sitting in the Cafe and updating