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Published: July 15th 2015
July 10, 2015 – I woke up feeling good today. I even had breakfast – some bread and a hard-boiled egg. Finished packing and went upstairs for the day tour back to Tbilisi at 9:00. There were six others in the group, including Americans. Such a surprise to me that I keep meeting Americans here. Two girls were living and working in Jordan, studying Arabic, and both will go to grad school this fall for related topics. Claire will go to Cairo and Hannah to London. There was also Jeremy, starting grad school in Miami in the fall. Sevi, Greek, was traveling for a couple of weeks here, and then there was also a young German couple. She just finished her degree to be a doctor. We had a large minivan so everyone was able to spread out a bit. One of our first stops was at a famous bakery in the area, where we each got a pastry. I got chicken and walnut. We also had a small chocolate croissant. But luckily my stomach was fine. The main sights on this tour were the Sanahin and Haghbat UNESCO-listed monasteries in Debed canyon. Very old, very cool to see. It was
a hot day, and I was sweating all the time. But that had its uses – not much need for bathroom stops when you are all dehydrated. We also stopped for a late lunch along the way and had way too much food. I didn’t eat much meat, though that was the best part, but focused mainly on the salads. I did use the outhouse before lunch, and that was interesting. And not too uncommon here. We also stopped at Akhtala fortress-monastery to look at frescoes. It’s amazing any have survive in the former Soviet region, since religion wasn’t allowed and many churched were defaced or used for storage or military purposes.
The Germans mentioned that there was a way to get to Davit Gareja tomorrow with a van for tourists, so that was great. I knew I could take my day trip tomorrow now. I managed to get the Americans and Sevi on board so we all signed on to go on that trip together as well. That only left Sunday. I signed up for a day trip to Kazbegi, a place in the mountains a few hours away, but the trip didn’t have 4 people
yet, so it was unconfirmed. Jeremy was already signed up, and Sevi said she would probably go, do it looked likely that we could get the minimum number we needed. Overall, it was a good day. New friends and a good tour guide who had a lot of good info, and was pretty funny. Georgia and Armenia have a friendly rivalry, so he kept telling jokes all day. It was pretty good. When they dropped us off in Tbilisi, we checked with the info office to confirm the van for tourists tomorrow, and found that it left at 11am. We agreed to be back at 10:30 the next morning. I got the metro back to my apartment, went to the grocery store, checked email, and then washed clothes. I was up way too late, until 1am. Good that I could sleep in a little in the morning, but I couldn’t really. I wake up when the sun wakes up.
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