Day 39 - 41: Of – somewhere behind Batumi: „Komm an die Tafel“
Our initial plan was to go hiking and cycling in the Kackar Dagi mountain range, but the combination of thick, low clouds and Ramadan made us change our opinion: we decided to leave Turkey after 4 weeks and to go to Georgia.
En route to the border, we once again picked up David and Marian in the late afternoon. The border crossing itself was quickly done, and we found ourselves between lots of Georgian Mercedes, a casino and countless money-changing-liquor-dutyfree shops. Lira were changed into Lari (almost 1:1), but the numbers at the gas stations were only half as compared to Turkey. This drop in petrol price led to funny (but conclusive) pictures: Turkish cars coming to Georgia want to make their tanks as full as possible. So, the Georgian gas station staff doesn't simply fill up, they bring a small wooden ramp to drive on, to fill every cubic millimeter of tank and tank lines. Plus, wouldn't it make sense to buy a 10L-canister of drinking water, empty it completely at the side of the gas station, and use it as a petrol canister? Some Turks that did not bring canisters definitely had this opinion.
We had Kalimero filled up as well (66L of 70 possible) and went on to look for a place to eat and to sleep.
|Street scence behind Batumi|
|Russian influence increases|
We ended up at a Restaurant on the roadside, and while going back and forth to find a leveled parking spot and some dancing to Gianna Nanini blasting out of the restaurant, a Georgian car stopped next to us, with a friendly guy talking to us. He had a writing „Georgian Baseball and Softball Association“ on his car door, and it turned out that he is a representative of this association. As he spoke fluent English, he did some interpreting for us at the Restaurant, where we said we would come soon to eat.
We parked next to some agricultural building and unloaded the Austrians' luggage, as Katha (standing next to Kalimero) was waved over by two guys sitting in a small shack with open windows.
The two workers at the farm just had dinner and invited us without hesitation to come into the small hut. Dishes and glasses were put in front of us, and we immediately had a full meal and Georgian wine served. It was one of the most delicious meals we ever had, and although we hesitated to eat (we – 4 people - did not want to take away their meals, plus we had planned to go to the restaurant we slept in front of), we were quite full after over an hour and 3 bottles of wine. Both did not speak English, but it turned out the older one was in Germany in 1968 as a soldier („Magdeburg, Magdeburg, eing-swei-drei“), and the younger one learned some German at school – 20 years ago. So, the conversation was rather done with hand, feet, paper and pen and our „Ohne-Wörter-Buch“. We couldn't stop laughing when, after some wine, the younger one seemed to remember more and more of his learned words, and suddenly muttered „Komm an die Tafel“ (come to the board) in accent-free German.
After quite some time, we decided to go to the restaurant (where we had to confess that we only need food for two). Gia, the Georgian Baseball guy, sat there and waited for some friends, and he told us to sit at one big table and eat together.
|Next to us, the party already started quite some time ago|
Next to the Restaurant, there were some bungalows, and a junior water polo sports team was just having their training camp here. The coaches came to eat with us after their team meeting.
|Gia, our tamada|
Gia explained a lot about Georgian culture and food, and we – once again – were given substantial amounts of Georgian wine. He warned us not to drink the same speed as Georgians do – but still, he immediately poured in new wine once the glass might get empty in one of the countless toasts. In Georgia, one guy at a „supra“ (dinner/party) is elected toastmaster, "tamada", and he then announces all kinds of things to drink on.
|interpreting help badly needed!|
|But finally (and with Gia's help), we managed to get even more stuffed.|
This went on until about 2am before we went to bed – no surprise it was almost noon before we got up the next morning.
|handwashing place at the restaurant|