It was an early start this morning despite a fairly late night because we wanted to try and get to the Ministry of Internal affairs before they closed at 1pm in Tbilisi. We left about 8am and headed North east towards Gori (Home of Stalin). The roads since we left Europe have been interesting to say the least but Georgia’s are a whole new level, they have pot holes the size of cars, animals everywhere and Georgian drivers. Its not unusual to find at least two cars on coming towards you, our record was seeing 4, 3 overtaking 1 car all side by side. Lots of the animals are grazed by the road side but have yet to be taught the green cross code, so you have cows, pigs, goats & dogs all walking out in front of the car.
However its the pot holes that are probably the most dangerous and require concentration, in some places they are a foot deep and 3 or 4 feet wide, if you hit one of these at speed it will take a wheel off. The amazing thing is none of them are marked, coned off or any indication given whatsoever that their is a car swallowing, man eating pot hole just feet away. Your best indicator of the certain doom is the local cars swerving around them eratically to avoid them, just follow them. I can imagine at night you dont stand much of a chance of avoiding them making it pretty dangerous.
The road from Batumi to Gori is the worst, very windy and narrow making it fairly slow going, we probably averaged 45mph along this section. Once you get to Gori its a motorway all the way to Tbilisi (75kms). We gunned it along the motorway section and arrived at the Ministry of Internal Affairs at 12:30 just in time, well it would have been if it was the right place but it wasn’t. We spoke to some nice Army guards who gave us another location in the north of the city.
We first decided to find ourselves a hotel and for this we needed some wifi, so we headed for the city centre and found our way to freedom/liberty square, parked up and jumped into the Marriot hotel to abuse their wifi. Hotel booked, we headed to find it, not that easy with Tbilisi’s oneway system which google maps doesn’t know about. Our room is not ready yet so we deicde to try and find this new location we were given by the army guard and we find it but as expected its closed but there were a few members of staff leaving and we find one that speaks english. She tells us it will be open again at 10am in the morning.
We walk back to the car which we have parked around the corner, we notice a row of small garages and decide to ask if they can scrap or buy the car from us for parts. We approach the owner of the first but he doesn’t speak English but a customer that is having his windscreen fixed says can I help in english to us. We explain the situation to him and he offers to help us, he makes a few calls to some friends and the next thing we know we are following him accross Tbilisi in search of a buyer for the car. First stop was a little scrap yard just down the road, where it turns out one of the chaps has livied in Gemany for 4 years and speak fluent German, so Nick starts the sales pitch and we get an initial offer of $500 + the import tax cost ($700). Nick trys for $1000 plus the import tax but he is not budging after a lot of debate and a few other of his friends arriving to take a look and have a test drive they decide not to buy.
We are off again following Janos further North now out of the city to a scrap yard village which has lots of small scarp merchants the specialise in different car types, the ford guy has gone home for the day so no luck here either. We thank Janos for his help and swap details as he says he will put an afvert on facebook and make some more calls.
We head back into town to find some food and find a place just off Freedom square, Janos rings “I have found a lady who is interested can we meet”, sure we can we are near the square. So Janos turns up with a lady buyer, she loves the car but need to speak to her uncle about it, she will let us know later via txt. Later comes and we receive a txt saying her brother has said she shouldn’t buy a right hand drive car so she is out. So the new plan is to go straight to the service centre for its 10am opening and try and import the car then go to Rustavi which has a big car market where we may be able to sell it.
Electric windows are intermittent
Brakes (what brakes)
Rear wheel now making lots of noise
Glove box door fell off
3700 miles, 13 Countries
England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia
Batumi – Tbilisi
4 (1 Germany, 2 Bosnia, 1 Turkey)
Both – blisters on our feet
Both – mozie bitesb
Simon – paper cut from map
Nick – pealing hands from steering wheel
Simon – Sunburnt left arm (lorry drivers arm)