The mountains to Tbilisi

We left behind the wonderful Cappadocia and travelled to the north east of Turkey to a town called Bayburt. This is the start of the D915, according to dangerousroads.org, this is right up there as one of the most hazardous.

Initially it wound slowly up through small villages to the switchbacks in the photo below.

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The tarmac road then turned into gravel.

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The climb to the top took about 2 hours.

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The views getting better the higher we go.

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The summit was 2330 metres. This is the highest I’ve ever been on a bicycle.

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As we crept towards the otherside the clouds started to build up, this was a real shame as we knew the outlook would have been spectacular.

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The road then started to get thinner and deteriorate in quality. Lovely stuff!

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We then hit the much anticipated big drop.

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Visibility became poor but didn’t detract from the fun of rolling down the switchbacks.

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This is what we were cycling down!

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We eventually dropped below the clouds and the landscape opened up, creating some nice photo opportunities.

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We also had time for a mid-afternoon waterfall shower, it was freezing!

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This was one of my favourite days of cycling so far.

The next morning we started the 100 miles of flat dual carriageway to the border of Georgia.
At lunch time we both ate a dodgy kebab and spent the following evening violently ill, topped off with bowel issues. Turkeys leaving present!

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We carried on tenderly and eventually made it to the coastal city of Batumi. I was pleasantly suprised at how modern and vibrant it was.

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We stayed for 1 night before heading on a mountainous route to the capital city, Tbilisi.

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The first day we steady climbed up for 50 miles, following a ever narrowing river. We were treated to some nice views along the way.

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Day 2 was agony, we completed the final 20 miles to the top of the mountain pass. The road quality had turned to rubble, it took us 6.5 hours. In total this peak was 70 miles uphill. Brutal cycling.

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The decent was fun, we passed through small villages complete with cattle traffic.

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We camped by the river that night.

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The next day we chose to cycle around the second mountain, turned out to be a good option. The roads were smooth and over rolling hills, we were even blessed with a strong tailwind.

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Another night was spent camping by a river.

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Just before we reached Tbilisi we visited the Stalin museum in the small town of Gori.

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and then moved on….

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and made it to the city.

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A bit heavy for touring!!!

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Over the next few days we explored the city.

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A view of the city from the cable car.

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Local church garden.

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Dodgy wonky building work

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The funicular railway to the top of the hill.

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The city by night.

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A huge ferris wheel on the edge of the hill.

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Barry had a friend visit for the weekend. We hired a car for the day and explored the mountainous region we had skipped passed a few days earlier. During the day we found a lost puppy in the road! (above pic).

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Our car, a gutless Renault duster, at least the petrol was cheap. 60p a litre!

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The valleys we would have cycled through.

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We also visited a cave monastery.

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Barry also spotted a bridge made from a old train on our way back

So our time in this country is now coming to a close and we head to the city of Baku in Azerbaijan.

From here we plan to pickup our Uzbekistan visas and get a freight ship across the Caspian sea to Kazakstan.

Exciting times lay ahead!

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I hope you are all well Xx