Here we are, in sunny Tbilisi, while the world is going crazy. We read the Dutch news and we hear stories from our friends/families in The Netherlands and we are convinced that Georgia is the better place to be now. Last Tuesday was the last flight to Amsterdam: we are glad we didn’t take it. We are safely staying in our little apartment in the city centre, close to Rike Park. However, this last week, a lot has happened here too.
Exactly one week ago, we met 4 other overlanders like us: another Dutch couple, a Dutch man and a German man. Although it felt kind of wrong to meet up and sit close to them in the living room, we spent a whole night together. We drank wine, had dinner and talked about everything that’s going on. Just like us, they had all decided to stay in Georgia, for as long as it is necessary. What a lovely evening!
During the weekend, we spent a lot of time outside. The weather was amazing and we saw and smelled blossoms everywhere. Even though we loved Tbilisi, we had made an appointment with people in Khashuri, a city about 100 km West of Tbilisi. They had offered us a place to stay: they rent an old house across the street from their B&B, where we could use the toilet and the shower. Before we left the capital, we stocked up on food in the Carrefour. It was crowded and we didn’t feel really safe there, so we were happy when we went back to the van. It was time for a drive!
Arriving at our new place, the weather was still very good. Our hosts were outside, so the house was easy to find. Sparta immediately loved it: a big garden to run around in and other dogs to play with! Unfortunately, our van didn’t fit in the yard, so we had to park on the street. As the house hadn’t been renovated yet, the only things we could use, were the garden, the toilet, the sink and the shower. However, there was a broken pipe, so the water was leaking through the walls when we turned on the water pump. Not very convenient!
Soon, the clouds rolled in and it started to rain. We spent the rest of the day in the van, watching Netflix and having dinner. The weather forecast told us that it would continue raining for a couple of days… Would we stay in the van during that time? Would we book an AirBnb in the next village? Or would we just go back to the apartment in Tbilisi? The next day, we talked about it a lot and we couldn’t figure out what to do. While walking around the city, we at least found out that this wasn’t the place we would want to stay during a potential lockdown. So, which options did we have left?
That night, we found out that the Georgian government had announced a nationwide curfew, starting on Tuesday morning. We weren’t allowed on the streets between 9pm and 6am and gatherings of more than 3 people were prohibited. This meant that walking Sparta at night would be impossible! We decided to head back to Tbilisi, to at least be able to go to the park during the day. Also, there we could buy enough food and medicines for weeks, if needed. However, we wanted to pay a visit to Borjomi first, because it was very close by and supposedly beautiful.
Thus, we drove 30 km to Borjomi, bought lunch at a little bakery, turned around, got another bottle of coolant at a car store (the problem is still there, although not as bad as before) and headed back to Tbilisi. The drive was beautiful and we enjoyed being on the road again. When we almost entered the city, we were stopped at a checkpoint on the side of the highway. A huge group of police officers and soldiers were standing next to a big army tent and we had to park our car in front of it. They wanted to check our passports and we had to come into the tent to check our temperatures. On top of that, they disinfected the outside of our car! Finally, after about 15 minutes, they told us we could go. Pfew, both us and the car were healthy!
Not long after we were released, we stopped at the Carrefour (again). We wanted to buy some extra groceries for the next week. Surprisingly, things had changed a lot since we had been there two days before! The line in front of the entrance was gigantic: people had to stand two meters apart and only a limited amount of people could enter at the same time. The Red Cross was handing out mouth masks, which we were happy to receive: everybody was wearing them and they really stared at us because we didn’t! This definitely was a strange, but very funny experience. (In the store, we even saw people with plastic bags around their shoes!)
So, now we are back in our cozy apartment in the city. People are still going outside, although the streets are quiet. We spend our days doing workouts in the park, walking Sparta, learning Russian and watching Netflix. We are not happy with the new curfew, but it’s a lot better than a lockdown. So far, only 115 people in Georgia have been infected with Corona, and no one has died. Let’s hope it will stay like that!
We wish good health to all our readers, family and friends. Please stay home as much as you can, but go outside (alone, or together with someone) whenever you feel good. Walk, ride or drive through your beautiful surroundings. Spring is here, so let’s enjoy it!