After the accurate check through the Turkish police, we drove to the Georgian boarder. 5 minutes with a good english speaking lady and we were in Georgia and were welcomed with “Welcome to Georgia”. Really kind people.
We then drove to the big coast town Batumi, just 15 km after the boarder. We parked our truck and walked around in town and on purpose, we met two other travelling vehicles. We immediately got our truck to join them. After two days the police told us to go away, as we were nearly standing on the boulevard. We found another good place and passed the time with talking, camp fires, small works on our vehicles, eating, enjoying the snow (yes, we got snow on the sea level) and telling stories.
As the weather forecast predicted good weather for the next days, we decided to drive to Goderzi ski resort. We didn’t know that it was going to be such an adventure. The first day we only drove to Khulo, shortly before arriving we had to put snow chains on. Immediately after stopping, we already had 20 people around us, which wanted to help putting the chains on, and of course, they knew everything better. After ¾ h we had one chain on, the traffic jam around us was becoming better (it was not only our fault) and we could keep on driving. After 200 m the road became steeper and we even got the chance to pull a small car. Most of the Georgian people were driving without chains, even the minibuses. Pretty criminal. Arriving in Khulo, we put the second chain on and then drove on the parking space, on 50 cm of snow (there was fresh snow everywhere), next to the main road.
We went having dinner in a small restaurant, ate good Georgian food (melted cheese swimming in a lot of butter with fresh bread), next to it delicious homemade cognac. When our accompaniment wasn’t anymore able to speak properly, we went back to our truck. The next day we spent walking around in Khulo, as it was snowing again and we didn’t know, how the conditions of the road will be. All the people we asked, if there is going to be a problem for the truck, they said no. “You have very good maschina”.
So the next day we started early, first we put the other two chains on and then drove towards the ski resort. Meanwhile the truck traffic started as well, as in the valley a big damm project with many tunnels is being built.
The first kilometres went well, we were happy about the chains and we drove unhurried on the road.
After the first big village the road became narrow, only one-lane and the “service bays” now and then were sometimes even too small for us. Sometimes the snowy roads were washed out, so we had to drive aslope or had to cross other vehicles in a scary way. We were discussing the whole way and were not sure about turning back, as the ski resort didn’t come any closer.
But after 3 ½ h (for 24 km) we arrived, and the sky was totally blue, a dream!! We parked next to the snow patrol, had a short lunch and then went skiing. With us there were only a few locals on the skis, most of them were schoolchildren, having a competition. They were fast but many of them were skiing only in jeans and without gloves. We have been the only ones who rode next to the slopes, so we enjoyed the fresh powder. In the whole area there was a lot of snow, around 2 m, and this already in December.
The following day we went ski touring to the Goderzi pass, where we even found an open guesthouse and drank a hot tea. Downwards we skied through the forest, unfortunately the wind has been blowing strong, so the fresh snow was not that fluffy anymore. But to say, we had a great day with a lot of sun.
During the night we didn’t sleep that well, as we were concerned about driving back the next day. We wanted to start early (10 am) for not having too much of traffic, warmed the motor of the truck and were ready. But after 200 m the road was blocked with pressed snow, having been transported through the strong wind and as we didn't want to get stuck, we decided to wait. We asked different people to get the information, when the road will be cleaned, from 5 min up to 3 hours were the answers we got. But luckily after 45 minutes, there came a caterpillar from downhill, moving the snow away. So the street was free, we drove downhill and even could fill up fresh mountain water. As everything went quit well and the condition of the road was better compared to when we drove to the ski resort, we decided to drive directly to Batumi, where we met again our friends.
Christmas Eve we passed all in a restaurant, together with our new neighbours, a french family with their 4 children. All together we staid till the 27th of December, then we started our journey to Tbilisi, where we were looking forward to our new years eve visit from back home...
Till Tbilisi we had to stop for two nights, as planned. In the first night we got invited by some monks and priest on their property, where they organize summer camps for children with different religions. They cooked a very delicious dinner for us and next to it, we all drank good Georgian wine with many toasts and philosophical conversations. At 2 am we went well nourished to bed. The next morning we followed their morning prays, had a good breakfast (for us without wine) and walked around the property. Pretty impressive what they offer the children during the summer camps.
In the afternoon we said goodbye and drove further towards Tbilisi, where we arrived the following day.