The really bad weather had eased off in the morning but a steady downpour persisted. We were given a really good breakfast of fresh bread and kachapuri and after thanking our hosts got back in the road.
We started off riding through the rest of the hills around Chokhatauri in driving rain. It was a great cycle starting off with a long descent down to a stream (swollen from the rain) and then back up to get over the last of the hills and down into the wide plains through which ran the Rioni river. Most of the bigger towns and cities were found on the north bank of the river including Kutaisi, a city on the former site of Colchis (where Jason went to get the Golden Fleece). But the only direct road East on that side of the river was the busy highway, so we stayed on the south bank and rode along the flat through small towns and villages.
The heavy rain over the last couple of days had flooded the surrounding fields but by now the precipitation had stopped. We passed by a bunch of those box like Georgian houses, which seems to be the staple rural settlement. Cows, goats, chickens and geese wandered across our path more often than cars. At a town called Vani we had lunch in a small bakery with a group of kids there for a birthday party.
Similar riding after lunch until we arrived at Dimi. At Dimi we passed a small hole in the wall bakery with the smell of fresh bread wafting out, we hadn’t gone 50m passed it when we decided to turn around and get some of that tasty fresh bread. While we were stopped we were approached by a Georgian dude and his friend, evidently returning from the pub. As soon as they saw us their eyes lit up and then trotted over. After giving them out, by now well rehearsed, spiel describing wha the were up to the invited us back to their house for coffee.
Their house, as it happened was back beside the bakery. In fact, it was attached to their garden wall. They pulled us inside to say hello to their baker buddies inside the sweltering hot box of a building, pretty welcome after the day in the wet. As we were leaving one of the bakers threw us a loaf, so we got our bread after all. We then went inside for a coffee, but not before he made us stand outside and shout someone’s name with him (I guess his wife) to come open the door. Kinda like Fred Flinstone in the closing credits.
Anyway, we got inside his lovely house, said hello to his mother and sat down for a coffee. We talked as best we could, bringing out the map which is by now our go,to prop to entertain the people we run into. As an aside, this was the first time we heard about the Paris attacks which had happened two days before when it came up on the news in the TV room, which just goes to show how isolated you end up on the bike.
Finished our coffee and then made a move, it was still early enough and we wanted to make some more distance before it got dark. Out of Dimi the road got very steep very quickly. We were back in hilly terrain, it was a bit like the Ardene,mthe frequency with which the elevation changed. There were also vinyards everywhere, most of the hills being cultivated to produce grapes.
All this cultivation though meant we were having a hard time finding somewhere to camp, all the ground was being used to farm. Until we passed an abandoned school or seminary, we weren’t entirely sure. But it was secluded and, most importantly dry and sheltered. We pulled all our gear inside and then hung it all up to dry. We were very pleased with ourselves finding such a good spot.