About another weekend in Tbilisi and hours of walking
Just by reading the summary of this blog you might think it is going to be another boring article where nothing interesting comes up, because how interesting can walking be...and maybe it is, but it is the beginning of December in Georgia. Back in Germany all the Christmas markets opened over the last weekend as Christmas is getting closer, but here in Georgia there is still some more time left until Christmas and New Year in January, so it is just normal days for me. At home I was never really into all the Christmas decorations and baking and people rushing through the city to buy the last presents, but it is what I got used to over the years, so now it is actually a bit weird for me that there is not that many decorations on the street, so I took three plain paper stars that some of the GYE - volunteers made and hung them into our flat yesterday to have a bit more of a Christmas feeling as I will not go to Germany this year, but in February.
But now more about the main topic of this blog: the weekend. On Saturday I did not do a lot. I slept till midday and then I went shopping for dinner. I found a guy selling really nice pumpkins out of his car on the way to bazari, so I decided to prepare some pumpkin soup and try to make it taste as good as my moms. During my efforts to cut everything into small pieces which required a little help from my flatmate the electricity just went off. Luckily we had some candles as it was already dark outside and after half an hour we had light again, so I could continue preparing everything without cutting my fingers...in the end the soup tasted not exactly the same, but I would say it came pretty close, which made me a little bit proud.
On Sunday I woke up at 8am to go to Tbilisi. Together with other volunteers we wanted to hike a bit around Tbilisi to see the the Turtle Lake and just move a bit as we are all not really doing a lot of sports since we came here. From Douwes flat we left for the hills around the city...by walk of course. After about 50 minutes all 8 of us reached a huge staircase with the hills in the back. From the bottom it did not look too high, but after the first three parts of the staircase when we already thought we would be close to the end, two more parts appeared in front of us and after that two more, so we were quite exhausted already when we finally reached the top of the stairs. For two of us this was obviously a bit too much as they decided to take a longer break and let us go on without them because they were not sure if they wanted to go all up to the lake as one of them already took the same trail two days before and still had a little bit sore muscles from that. The way up was partly extremely steep which I did not expect from just seeing where we wanted to go, but what is confirmed since this day for me is that you should never underestimate the Georgian mountains, even if it is not some of the higher ones, like it is the case around Tbilisi. We already knew that we were close to the lake when we heard cars and other people coming up there over the street that goes around the hill a bit, beacuse the way we took was completely deserted and there were no people at all for 40 minutes. With the name Turtle Lake you might imagine something like a lake where you can also find a lot of turtles...that was not exactly what we found up there. It was more like a lake with small boats prepared for tourism in summer with no turtles at all...maybe again because it is December in Georgia. Already quite exausted we thought this would be our final destination because that was the original plan and we were happy that we made it, but Douwe, who kind of guided us up there, knowing all the paths to take and which way to turn next, had a new plan: he wanted to go around the next hills to Mtatsminda Park to take the Metro from Liberty Square back to his flat...more hiking...but okay, the signs said it would be another 5 kilometres, but he knew a shorter way, so we agreed to go for some more steep ways without any people. These next paths were more pleasant for walking and on one of our short breaks Amadeusz (one of the ones we left behind at the start) made his way back to us. I was really impressed that he found us, because if I had been in his place I would have never taken the right way up there and probably would have ended up nowhere even though my sense for directions is not too bad. So with our gained back seventh group member we discovered a small project path in the woods funded by Germans which was really similar to the ones I know from home...guess why, so it was really fun for me watching the others trying out all the stuff and reading the information boards. After around one hour we finally made it all the way up and the view was just amazing. You could see the whole city and the mountains in the back, it was just beautiful. We enjoyed the view for a few minutes an then made our way down into the direction of the Metro station...that meant a lot of stairs again...and stairs and after the stairs more stairs, but it was downstairs, so it was okay, you just had to be careful that you do not fall over your own feet as the distance and height of the stairs was different almost every time. During the whole trip we had one motivation: Pizzalandia. So when exiting the Metro finally the time for super tasty pizza came which is quite a rare occasion as there is not many places in Rustavi where you can get traditional Italian pizza like the one you get there, so we always try to use this opportunity whenever we are near this restaurant. Around 7pm it was time for us to say goodbye, because all of us were tired (...what a surprise...^^) and the two other volunteers from Rustavi and me wanted to get home a bit earlier this time so we made our way to Station Square. When I arrived at home I just fell into my bed and slept immediately.