Day 160 to 163 – From Atskuri Village to Georgian New Years madness

Another cold start with less than -10 degrees celcius in the morning. I think I will get used to it though. Met a cool dog. She ran along beside me for about 4km before giving up…

Doggis - the friendliest dog ever - we met in Akhaltsikhe, Georgia

The plan was to find a place to stay in Akhaltsikhe Town for a couple of days before heading to Batuumi – the last main town in Georgia on the Black Sea coast, near the Turkey border. This changed somewhat in Akhatsikhe when I asked Nugzar, a local university student, where an internet cafe was…

Nugzar and his friend took it upon themselves to show me to the internet cafes. Being close to the new year, cafe after cafe was closed. As we walked to the third internet cafe, Nugzar explained that he had to catch a bus to his home town, Ude Town, at 5pm.

“Roberts, you come to Ude?” he asked out of the blue.

I was feeling fairly tired from the five days of cycling in snow and on busy highways, and would have been just as keen just to crash in a hotel room for a few days. But I spoke before thinking.

“Yeah, why not?” I replied.

Nugzar assured me that it would be no problem to put my bike, luggage and all, onto the bus for the half hour bus ride to Ude Town.

Indeed it was no problem, and at 6pm we arrived in Ude, a sleepy little town on the side of a mountain.

View from top of church in Ude, Georgia

View from top of church in Ude, Georgia

Orthodox Christian cross in Ude, Georgia

Originally, Nugzar and I had discussed that I would catch a bus back to Akhaltsikhe the next day (30th Dec), however his family were adamant that I would stay until at least the 2nd or 3rd of January. I mentally prepared myself for some major cultural experiencing.

Basically, the three days I spent at the Khuljanishvili family’s home was spent eating copious amounts of food, politely refusing to skull thier wine (there is no such thing as sipping wine in Georgia, it seems), and wandering around the town.

New Years feast in the Khuljanishvili household in Ude, Georgia

Meeting the neigbours in Ude on New Years, Georgia

Now that's a truck, Ude, Georgia

Board games in Ude, Georgia

Georgian fortress in Ude, Georgia

Being in Ude gave me the opportunity to go to an Orthodox Christian church service. Lots of chanting and melodic harmony…

Orthodox Christian church in Ude, Georgia

Orthodox Christian church service in Ude, Georgia

Orthodox Christian church service in Ude, Georgia

Bell tower in church in Ude, Georgia

Now I had heard of the Georgian’s amazing hospitality, and thanks to Uajar Khuljanishvili and his family, I managed to experience it first hand. Thank you so very much!

The Khuljanishvili family in Ude, Georgia

Thank you to Uajar (on left) for allowing me to experience a Georgian new years! (photo taken at Vale turnoff, Georgia)

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15 thoughts on “Day 160 to 163 – From Atskuri Village to Georgian New Years madness

  • Aunty Lyn

    Hey Rob the reason we are first to comment is everyone is asleep in NZ now but we are idling away on the computer still. It is 9:45pm here now. Early birds in NZ will be getting up in a couple of hours or so.

  • Aunty Lyn

    The dog looks wonderful. It must have been great to have her companionship for a while. I love dogs but here we see some sad cases.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Carl, the news you're likely to get from Georgia probably has something to do with the north west of Georgia. You only go there to get kidnapped apparently.

  • Joeru

    Nice ad placement for Fanta! that is a great story. You can star on my news program I have been thinking about. It will be all positve news all the time, like the anti-FOX/CNN.

    All dreams, all the time


  • Murdo


    I had wondered how you spent New Year and I was pleased to see something worked out! You must be having some amazing experiences mate! Cute dog too.

  • Jim Gagnepain

    In that picture of the 3 younger guys, the fellow on the right looks pretty wasted. Wine? Sounds like you've fallen in with some nice people. Be careful in Turkey. I've heard some stories.

  • Aunty Jenny

    Hey Rob, what's the traditional

    christmas food for people in Ude Georgia. You said you ate copious amounts of food, but not what kind of food it was. I've noticed that there are a lot of dogs over that way, but do they have cats as pets as well? That dog that befriended you for awhile looked like she had a lovely nature. I hope she wasn't lost. What do locals think of your hairy face? Has anyone commented on it?

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Jim, the Georgians have this (very dangerous) tradition of making a toast, and then drinking the contents of their glass in one go. They do this all night, ending up plastered. And I wondered why all the gravestones I have seen in the area show people dying at a young age…

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Carl, who knows what sort of dodgy things are going on in such a small town involving chains…kind of had a 'The Village' atmosphere to it.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Aunty Jenny, the food was as follows: Cabbage Rolls (mince wrapped in cabbage leaves), battered fish, boiled wanton things, layered cake, fried chicken…and as for my beard, it is always commented on. Everyone thinks I should shave it off. Not yet I tell them…it actually keeps my face much warmer than if it wasn't there.