My sister will get married in 3 weeks, so I go back to Germany in a few days. By the time I come back it will almost be the end of February, so probably there won't be too much snow and icy weather anymore...not that it's super cold here in Rustavi right now (today, the 29th of January we had 13°C and sunshine the whole day...) but I want to take my winter boots back home for not having to squeeze them back into my suitcase in September after the summer in which I will (probably) not need any winter boots. But even taking them here last September required some effort as it took me almost 3 days just to pack everything and still be able to close my suitcase's zipper. That's the main reason why I wanted to wear them at least once before bringing them back into our cellar to wait for the next winter which is probably not going to be cold enough to wear them anyway.
So...what do you do when you want to wear winter boots, but where you live it's still sneaker weather? - Right! You find people to accompany you and you go to the mountains.
In my case I went with 4 other volunteers and 2 Georgians. On Saturday morning at 7.30 we took the Marshutka from New Rustavi to go to Bakuriani. It was almost a miracle that we were all there on time so that the driver wouldn't leave without us. Normally the ride takes about 3 and a half hours, but for us it was more like 4 and a half hours, just because it took us ages to get through Tbilisi. Every 5 minutes we stopped for around 10 minutes to pick up more people, get petrol or check on the Marshutka, but in the end we arrived safely and the driver let us out just in front of our hostel, so we didn't even have to walk through the snow with our backpacks...yes, snow!! We were really lucky, because the weather was just perfect: cold enough for having 30cm of beautiful white snow, mild wind and the sun shining the whole day.
After resting for a few minutes and eating something we walked down to the city and further to the skiing area. While Mikio, Lola, Soso, Giorgi and Goda went skiing, Erika and me walked through the city, discovered a really nice café selling caramel cake and bought super delicious Churchkhela (nuts in grape syrup...normally I don't like it too much, because it's often very dry, but those were just amazing!!). For dinner we went back to the hostel to prepare some Pelmeni with sour cream. Most of us didn't get enough of the snow and were super full with food which made us go outside into the white cold again. We found a park with attractions like at a fair and while we were playing at the car scooter like kids, Giorgi disappeared just to come back a few minutes later with 4 giant sticks of cotton candy in his hands. That made me feel even more like I was 5 years old again, even though I never really wanted to go to these attractions when I was a kid without my parents or grandparents, because I was too shy. To round up the day Soso lost his phone, but we found it fast (...not like the wallet he lost earlier the same day for which we searched for about 1 hour ;P) so everything was fine.
On Sunday morning we left the hostel with our stuff around 11 to go and eat Khinkali. From the restaurant we had a great view of the mountains as the walls facing the street were half out of glass. Of course that also meant that everybody looking inside from the street could watch us eat, but also the other way around and the mountains just looked amazing half soaked with sunlight. After eating we went back to the park from the evening before because we found a space for ice skating there but it was already closed on Saturday. At home in Germany I have my own pair of ice skates, but for pretty obvious reasons I didn't take them to Georgia, so we all borrowed ice skates there...of course it was ice hockey shoes, because that's what most people lend out, so I already prepared mentally to fall a lot, just because I'm not used to them. Surprisingly I didn't fall once and the ice was not bad, so I really enjoyed this hour of going in circles and helping Giorgi not to fall from time to time. The best part of it was this familiar feeling after changing back into your normal shoes and not being able to walk in them properly for the first 5 minutes.
Half past 3 we were sitting in the back of the same Marshutka that took us to Bakuriani the day before, in the same padded seats with no space for long legs...or for legs in general (my knees are green and blue just from sitting and not moving), but apart from that they were super comfortable. The way back took the normally expected 3 and a half hours and the view outside the window was super pretty. I could see the scenery change from snowtop mountains to wide open fields and back to rough mountains without snow around Tbilisi and finally the green cross on the hill over Rustavi glowing in the dark.
Back in our flat Mikio, Lola and me had a great idea. Instead of unpacking and going directly to bed we decided to get rid of the broken washing machine that's been standing around in our living room for the last months...I can't even tell since when exactly it's been there because Mikio arrived almost 11 months ago and when he came, the washing machine was already there...not working and stealing space. Because it was really heavy and we were not 100% sure that it was allowed to leave a washing machine on the street right next to the trashcans, we came up with the glorious plan of destroying it and putting the single pieces into the rubbish. I think Mikio had his fun cutting all the cables and smashing everything into pieces and I couldn't really stop laughing about what we were doing either. Carrying all this stuff outside to the trashcans made me feel like a ninja completing his mission, protected by the dark. When we went to check on the washing machine on Monday afternoon after going to the day centre it was gone. Our plan worked and now we have enough space in our living room to create a comfy corner to sit and watch movies.
The weekend in general was super nice. I was outside with great weather, I had great people around me, we had a lot of fun and the most important thing: I had snow! In March I will probably be back in Bakuriani for our Midterm-training, but it's not safe yet...but if it will be there, I'll definitely buy more Churchkhela :)