We left Akhaltsikhe for a nice 200 km run down to Tbilisi - capital of Georgia. Getting the bike ready is now very simple.
We head off down the valley seeing a snapshot of Georgian rural life. It is interesting to see high rise apartments in small rural towns
Without a functioning GPS signage now becomes important
Then suddenly we see a sign that says Baku ( Azerbaijan) the even more surprising one that says "Tehran 1239km". The reality suddenly hits home
We ride into Tbilisi and by some prior memorisation of maps get straight to our hotel which is right on Freedom Sqiare. We look right down on the Square from our hotel window. Lenin used to on this pedestal but he got sacked a number of years ago. Lenin and Freedom are not two compatible concepts!
There are churches and cathedrals everywhere.
We have a rest day here in Tbilisi so we have plenty of time to wander around the historic old town.
I see a T shirt in a shop window that I rather like. Wise people these Hubbards are.
There are interesting statues everywhere - some very big. Thus one seems as big as the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
We pass what looks suspiciously like the Secret Service headquarters in downtown Tbilisi
We read of the history of Georgia and Tbilisi. Two facts stick in my mind. Firstly Geoergia became independant in 1918 but those nasty Bolsheviks from Russia decided in 1921 to invade Georgia and add it to their collection.. Lenin said they should do this and nasty Lenin also said to crush any opposition brutally. Which they did. Second interesting fact. Joseph Stalin ( who was Georgian ) needed some money to finance the Bolshevik Revolution when it was all still a great and exciting idea . So he and an American friend robbed a bank here in Tbilisi and got the equivalent in today's terms of US $ 4,000,000. Stalin obviously never got caught. However the money was of little use because the authorities knew the serial numbers of the bank notes. So Stalin got his needed money from somewhere else and the rest , as they say, is history and horrible history at that.
We see a museum exhibition on the Soviet occupation from 1921 to 1989. Sobering stuff indeed.
However there seems to be a huge national pride here in Georgia. We like it. Georgia's population is not much less than that of NZ even though the land area is very much smaller. And of course they play Rugby here !
We have liked Tbilisi and it is with a little reluctance that we move on to Yerevin in Armenia tomorrow.