The next morning we managed to have breakfast and pack everything up during a lull in the rain. Just as we were loading up the bikes though, the raindrops started to fall and we soon found ourselves nicely drenched. This didn’t dampen our sprits though, we were both very excited to get going again on our first full day of touring back.
What did dampen our spirits was the flat tyre Finn discovered after wheeling his bike away from camp. There was definitely something caught in his tyre that kept puncturing the tubes, but it was too wet and cold this morning to find it. After almost an hour of trying we eventually had to give up.
We weren’t that far from Batumi, a bit over an hours cycle from where we were. We found a bus shelter in the small town where Finn could wait and I left my bags with him and went back to Batumi to find a new tyre. The ride back was much quicker, going downhill with a tailwind unloaded. It was really wet, but new winter gear was holding up well in the adverse conditions. Getting into town it was a fast turnaround after I found the only bike shop in Batumi (located on the corner of Pushkin St. And 26 May St. for anyone wondering). It’s a pretty basic affair, more a whole in the wall repair shop but it did have a few spare tyres lying around and one that would fit Finns wheel.
Back in Acharistskale three hours after leaving and arriving at the bus station Finn is nowhere to be seen. His bike and all the stuff is still here so I guess he’s just gone to the shop. Suddenly I see Finn running up the street.
“Hugo I’m in some old dudes house and his wife is serving us lunch come on. Quick., it’s on the table.”
This is how we ended up in Nodzari and Lilyannas lovely warm house. Nodzari and started talking to Finn while he was waiting at the bus station, he had a bit of English. He invited Finn back to his house and now his wife, Lillyanna was serving us a very welcome bowl of meatball and potato stew with thick crusty bread. Eating this in their big main room next to the crackling metal stove after three hours riding in the rain was too perfect.
At one point during the meal Nodzari disappeared jnto another room and emerged with a bottle of Russian vodka. The rest of the lunch was punctuated by Nodzari filling our glasses, proposing a toast and then Lilyanna scolding him after we finished our drink. This continued until the bottle ran out when Nodzari then held up the empty bottle, shook it and declared “vodka problem”.
After lunch we sat around and talked, as much as we could with the two of them. They were grandparents, their children lived in Batumi and another nearby town. Nodzari used to be a police man and border guard at the Turkish border. They both seemed really excited about a computer they had in the corner of the room and kept asking us to “internet Irlanda”.
Lilyanna then offered us a bed for the night in the house. It had gotten pretty late so we weren’t realistically going to make any significant distance. Also the weather outside had gotten increasingly worse. So we graciously accepted.
We spent the evening in their warm room, watching dubbed Indian soap opera on TV. Until a storm blew in and knocked out the power. One of their grandkids paid a flying visit and after w head tea and then went to bed quite early, they both seemed tired and we didn’t want to keep them up. Outside the rain was lashing and the wind was howling, a real storm had whipped up. We were pretty grateful to not be out in it.