Green with some flashes of summer colour.
It’s a beautiful day and am sipping green tea in the garden of our rented apartment in the center of old town Tbilisi.
Ahead lies a trip to the main wine producing area of Kakheti. Hundreds of grape varieties are grown here. I am not a wine lover but have been told on more than one occasion that I just haven’t found the wine for me yet. So I will willingly continue my quest for the elusive right wine (didn’t work out when in NZ…).
A hazy sky this morning. It is a sad day, a day saying farewell to a very dear neighbour and friend. A brave lady who despite two heart valve replacements and all the other life effects of Lime disease still enjoyed good coffee and laughing.
Don’t cry for me now I have died, for I’m still here I’m by your side,
My body’s gone but my soul’s is here, please don’t shed another tear,
I am still here I’m all around, only my body lies in the ground.
I am the snowflake that kisses your nose,
I am the frost, that nips your toes.
I am the sun ,bringing you light,
I am the star, shining so bright.
I am the rain, refreshing the earth,
I am the laughter, I am the mirth.
I am the bird, up in the sky,
I am the cloud, that’s drifting by.
I am the thoughts, inside your head,
While I’m still there, I can’t be dead
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.
And another glorious morning. Even in summer in Scotland more than one day (even one day) of sunshine is a blessing!
I am now the owner of a new shiny passport with lots of pages to fill with new travels and adventures starting on Saturday. So impressed by the Passport Service, easy online application where you upload your picture (perhaps not my best decision to take the picture after two night flights and little sleep) and hey presto after paying the money your passport is waiting for you at your choice of appointments.
The top of the town seemed very quiet. One section of Sauchihall Street is still closed after the fire in March rendering the whole block unusable/unsafe. Meanwhile just a few days ago the newly refurbished Art School from a fire a few years ago is devastated again by fire.
My tourist sunburn from yesterday (triangle on my chest with necklace mark and in legs where shorts rose up when sitting) is still an alarming shade of lobster pink. Thanks to the magic of repair-all-cream there is no heat or pain. Just shows how good the factor 50 spray is…and also that I haven’t learnt anything!
Having arrived in Georgia knowing very little about the country, I thought I would do some reading about the Balkan states before heading there next week. Jason Smart’s Balkan Odyssey gave a flavour of travelling around. I gave up on E L Bono’s Who the Hell is Albania that may well be full of gens if information but reading it from the perspective of a plastic bag got old…quickly. The story of M Edith Durham’s journey in High Albania at the turn of the 20th Century will give a rich cultural background but not what I was looking for. So I have come across Adam Yamey’s Albania On My Mind detailing his life long obsession with this elusive state. However, the name Stalin keeps coming up in any book about the Balkans region and also in Georgia. So I am now reading Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Young Stalin. Talk pubout being sidetracked…but all links together.
This morning the sky is an amazing turquoise blue with only the faintest signs of wispy clouds. There is a cool wind but in sheltered corners you can feel the full force. Been up to the local corner store to get some crispy morning rolls unique to this part of the country. Roast chicken is in the oven early so we are not eating lunch mid-afternoon as the plan is to head out with filled rolls and flasks of tea to enjoy the glorious weather. Head to the Loch or ‘doon the water’ to Helensburgh or perhaps not quite so far to Havock Road right on the Clyde at Dumbarton – still to be decided.
Decision was all of the above finishing watching the tide creep in and the setting sun shimmering on the sand flats of the Clyde.
Awake to a cloudy morning after a very deep and peaceful sleep – two consecutive night flights are going to hit eventually.
However, am home in Scotland for a week before the next big summer trip. A bit of shopping to be done and a new passport needed. Appointment booked for Monday, online application done and three reminders from them.
Off to Clydebank for a bit of shopping. By no means the most glamorous shopping place around but parking is really easy and great shops for basics. There is also a restaurant that is a favourite with my mother – The Debra Rose, a ship that has never been anywhere and will certainly not be going anywhere. Built on the canal it serves fresh fish and chips, home made style steak pie and Scottish all day breakfasts (eggs, bacon, black pudding, beans, fried potato scone) and everything coming with a generous helping of real chips. The covered shopping area itself has some rather large areas of empty shops where stores like BHS and Dunnes have been. A big Asda and a cinema keep the area alive along with other smaller shops and a alarming number of opticians!
Up in the wee small hours to catch flight to Frankfurt as the next part of my holiday travels begin. Sitting in the lounge at Frankfurt (love a lounge) watching the planes land, the airport trains pass and eating frankfurters!
Sun is shining but cloud of varying shades of grey around.
Heading back into terminal B to catch flight to Edinburgh means going through security. Today it is relatively busy not helped by peoples inability to read signs and follow instructions meaning queues are slow moving. Everyone there must have gone through some security checks prior to entering terminal B yet there are still questions asked about liquids, electronics and the like. People are swigging from water bottles whilst others are called back to account for their lack of foresight. Felt like I was in one of those airport security documentaries.
5 days in and around Tbilisi:
Does George or Nino know the number for the fire brigade?
Best fed stray dogs
Sulphur baths 24/7
Iranians on boats
Mushrooms housing everything
Trouser legs for concerts
Pheasants or deer: cooked or healed
Amber or black wine
Homegrown communist dictator
Jazz with the duduki
Lunch with Georgians and 300 year old cookery book
Royal family in waiting
Don’t smile: we’re Georgian
Not St George but Greek meaning land: geo
Unique alphabet dating to 5th Century
Deda and Mama
Rustaveli and Chavchav…
Caught in the middle
I wish you victory
Silk route hub
24 hours in Astana!
Touch down back in Astana to a blood red sunrise. To sleep or not to sleep is a key question. A three hour flight does not give enough time to compensate for a nights loss of sleep so off to bed for a few hours.
A hot and windy day with clouds building. A few shopping errands, couple of loads of washing and then the repack. Need to think about clothes for Balkan’s too where it will be hot. Got a few new things in a great boutique very similar to Oasis in Dubai. Great for warm weather, no crush and will dry quickly so tick boxes for 3 weeks of travel.
Last day in Tbilisi…for now. Rang the chains three times to make sure I come back!
A lot of rain last night with a few flashes of lightening and rumbles of thunder so garden is a bit damp. Got back last night before heavens opened after long day of travel and evening of chilled jazz.
This morning is cool, damp and overcast with forecast of more rain to come…or maybe not!
A visit to the museum first thing after breakfast. Have read about a permanent exhibition about life under Soviet Union rule and homegrown communist icon Stalin.
Lunch with local education figure to talk about schools and English curriculum in an international context.
Perhaps a bit of shopping later as a couple of interesting local boutiques noticed and need exploring!