It seems like our Georgian final feast was
just a couple of nights ago, and yet we are already almost onto a final Turkish
I think the pictures will do most of the talking about our night out
in Batumi, Georgia, but we’ll share a few details.
It was decided that the evening would be a formal affair – well, as
formal as you can get on an overland truck, but you’d be surprised! Toby and
Paul S wanted an excuse to wear their kilts again, and I think quite a few of
us enjoyed the opportunity to dress up and go outfit hunting in some of the
Georgian second hand shops. You’ll be amazed what we found.
Our night was spent at a restaurant inside a (‘grounded’) ship, and
we had a variety of Georgian dishes and jugs of wine throughout the night,
along with live music and lots of dancing. It was a great night out and a great farewell to Georgia.
|Georgian feast restaurant|
|Cathy, Andrew E, Jacq, Norm, Toby, Mignon, Nigel H, Paul S & Teresa|
|Boogie on down! |
|Nigel C and Nigel H|
|Nigel H, Ann S and Teresa|
|Nigel H, Norm, Cathy & Jacq|
|Paul S, Cathy, Anne W, Mignon, Jacq, Ann H & Toby|
|Paul S, Mignon, Toby|
|The crew - Simon, Teresa, Zaz and Al|
|Toby, Andrew E, Simon, Norm, Nigel H and Paul S|
And that concluded our time in Georgia and led us on to Turkey. The
final group border crossing of the trip wasn’t as long as some, but on the
Turkish side very illogical, having to go ahead to certain places to pay for
visas and then return to the immigration desk, along with all the other bus
loads pushing to be let through. My (Al’s) South African passport also seemed
to cause the officials some confusion as to the visa requirements, and while I
waited to be issued with my special visa stamp (visa is FOC for South Africans
but requires a different stamp) I was witness to the police dealing with a few
misbehaving characters. Definitely shows you a different side of the law.
Into Turkey, gaining 2hrs which makes the sun rise early and set at
about 4:30pm, we had lunch in Trabzon and then headed up to Sumela Monastery in
the mist. An amazing sight, even in the mist – a monastery carved high up into
a cliff face. There are still some remains of the frescoes (along with some
graffiti too). A good half-hour plus to hike to, but definitely another
monastery worth seeing!
|A misty Sumela monastery|
From there it was on to our final bushcamp en route to Cappadocia. A
couple of incredible passes to get there, complete with snow. Our fire-masters
made a fantastic fire, and we had a South African meal called babotie: a fruity
mildly curried mince dish of Cape Malay origin. Unfortunately the bar ran out
of beer early on but other hidden supplies of ‘bottle number 10’ from our
Uzbekistan wine-tasting session, and the dreaded Georgian chacha were found.
We have been based in Urgup for 3 nights exploring a little of
Cappadocia. Yesterday morning saw 11 of us up before dawn for a
much-anticipated hot-air balloon flight. The sky was clear, the moon was almost
full, frost on the ground as we sipped tea and watched the balloons being
inflated. And then it was our turn to fly. Magnificent. There must have been
about 50 balloons flying that day (seriously, I counted) which is apparently
quite a small number for this site. It was like a balloon festival, lovely to
have other balloons in the air too as it made for great pics and a surreal
atmosphere, floating above it all. Definitely a highlight and definitely to be
recommended. Geologically the landscape is fascinating and our pilot was very
good about flying us high and low, in between all the ’fairy chimneys’.
|Simon, Paul S, Nigel H, Andrew E & Jacq|
After that we spent the day touring and exploring the area – the underground
city carved into the earth, the fairy chimneys, a pottery workshop, and an
awesome buffet lunch.
Today is Norm’s birthday, and a final Cappadocian feast before we
hit Istanbul tomorrow. Kathmandu to Cappadocia complete, one more stop remains.
And that will take us to the end of our rather epic journey. From Istanbul we
will be saying good-byes and heading off on our own – some travelling a bit
more, some going back to work. But there’ll be one more blog, so check-in with
us again to hear about our last couple of days.