The drive to Akhalkalaki was again stunningly beautiful. The drive was all the way along the river. Green, quiet, and a responsible driver. Made for a lovely change! Although when he started texting while driving, I made it known, in no uncertain terms, that I found that unacceptable! This cracked the driver and all the passengers up! Another crazy tourist with strange ideas on how to drive in Georgia! He did comply however, and put his phone away!
Before I knew it I was at the place I wanted to go. It was only about ninety kilometres, so about a two hours drive. I picked an hotel on maps.me, and I won the jackpot! Albeit expensive for Georgian standards, it is beautiful, comfortable and a very friendly family who run it. Excellent wifi, after the last few days were it was not really available at all. I had an afternoon nap, before exploring the town.
The town is small and compact. Very little traffic. Lots of police cars on the road, and in A very short time I saw a police car stop cars three times! I have not seen this before at all. It is a quiet town, men playing back gammon in the park. Children on the playground. Very few stray dogs, also unusual. However, there could be a gambling issue here! I saw two casinos in the small centre! Hm! Interesting!
There is a castle, which I gave a miss! Nothing can compete after the last fabulous castle complex I saw. I did visit the little Armenian church. The population here is ninety percent Armenian. This part of Georgia used to belong to Armenia! After the Russian occupation, new borders were drawn on a map. Families who have lived here through the ages, now suddenly find themselves living in Georgia! I looked for a place to eat, and ended up in this fancy place, where the staff was so friendly!
Interestingly enough, walking along the streets of this little town are all the pipes! Yellow pipes for gas! An ugly Russian left over, seen in every country I visited, except Iran. The other is the down pipes, which just stick out above your head on the footpath. I did think of going for a walk in the rain just to see what it would look like with all this water pouring down! I was too lazy! I did enjoy the decorated gutters. Little pieces of art.
It rained all night, which was great, as I was snug in my very comfortable bed! I had planned to get up early, but there was no sunrise to speak of, so after breakfast, I went back to have a snooze! I decided that I didn’t have to do anything at all, and stay a second night. No climbing, no walking, no churches, castles or lakes! Just wander to the markets, buy some fruit for dinner, change some money into Armenian money for tomorrow. Work in my diary, write and update my blogs, watch you tube videos, and sleep! Ah, what a life I lead!
I sat in the park for a while, watched the men play back gammon, which is a national past time by the way! Didn’t take any photos, as I didn’t want to disturb their game! Rested and relaxed I am now ready to move on to the last stage of my travels; Armenia! The count down has started! Flying home from Muscat, Oman, on the 16th of August! As yet, I have no flight booked to Oman, but I will make this priority number one as soon as I arrive in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. All in good time! Ah, life is so good! Good Bye and thank you Georgia! It is hard to leave. I am planning to come back in the near future. I need to explore the east now.