I am the original 'Uneasy Rider' .. not especially blessed with much natural motorcycling talent, nor am I a particularly courageous motorcycle rider.
Nevertheless I went 'Right Way Round' New Zealand (at least twice) followed by a wonderful ride around Australia.

Then it was up to southeast Asia, around Indo-China, across southern Central Asia to the Middle East, Asia Minor .. and finally into Europe.

Right Way Round - all the way home .. from New Zealand to England, 2-up on a Honda Transalp.

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PROGRESS SO FAR - Distance covered across Western Europe: 6,411 km [3,984 miles] - as at Thursday, October-22nd, 2015

Monday, 7 July 2014

They Think It's All Over

.. and this leg of the long ride home is now indeed over.

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 But first: The last eight days, from Sunday, 29th June

Starting with our exit from Iran and entry into Armenia at the Norduz (Iran) < – > Agarak (Armenia) border crossing, which was not entirely painless, particularly on the Iranian side. Nevertheless, after two hours of questioning such as, "What is your job?" .. "Where were you born?" .. and "What is your father's first name?" - eventually, we were allowed to get on our way.

After the border, the Armenian countryside - the land of Mount Ararat and the Arc of Noah - was certainly eye-catching, and reminding us very much of the 'Celtic cousins' of Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

The outstanding vistas of northern Iran, however, now in our wake, were always going to be a hard act to follow.

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From Ellen's journal: click on this link → Iran

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The bike starts to really struggle again with the higher altitudes. I was growing increasingly concerned that this was more than a case of poor (low octane) fuel.

Typical Armenian housing. Former Soviet apartment blocks.

Our second day in Armenia - the first night spent in the township of Kapan - brought us to a bleak eastern bank of the Sevan lake as the weather closed-in; the largest lake in Armenia and the Caucasus region .. and one of the largest fresh-water high-altitude* lakes in the world.

*Altitude: 1,900 metres [6,250 ft] above sea level 

Thunder, hail storms .. suddenly it was winter as the temperature dramatically dropped 15 - 20°C within 30 minutes. We made it to our lodgings, quite exhausted, just before darkness fell. 

Sunset from our hotel (second night), on the eastern bank of Lake Sevan.

The most famous cultural monument around the Lake is the Sevanavank monastery near the town of Sevan at the north-western shore. We made the mandatory visit.

Initially the monastery was located on an island, but the fall of the water level turned it into a peninsula.

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Thursday, 3rd July

More Soviet-style concrete apartment blocks on the way to the Georgian border.

We crossed the  Bagratashen / Sadakhlo Road and rail border with Georgia. The formalities on both sides took no more than 20 minutes .. in record time, compared to the previous 22 border crossings during the trip since leaving New Zealand in March 2010 .. more than four years ago.

Considered by many to be located at the most south-eastern extreme edge of Europe. It certainly 'felt' (kind of) that we were on familiar territory.

Just 75 kilometres [47 miles] later and, surviving crazy Georgian drivers and their obsession with speed at any cost, we pulled into the safety of our  pre-booked lodgings in Tbilisi, on the banks of Mtkvari River, in the foothills of the Trialeti mountain range.

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Almost 10 times the size of any other city in Georgia, Tbilisi is where 'it all happens'

Friends of ours advised that we should take a cable car ride to the top of Sololaki Hill - at a cost of one lari (33 pence) each .. well, why not?!

[Panorama - click to enlarge]

The view from the top of Sololaki Hill.

Although the city has been destroyed and rebuilt almost 30 times, the layout of the Old Town - bottom left in the above picture - is largely intact with narrow alleys and big crooked houses built around courtyards. 

The Hill features the Kartlis Deda monument - The 'Mother of Georgia' - which stands 20 m (65.5 ft) high; erected in 1958, the year Tbilisi celebrated its 1500th anniversary.


 Nice tits

There's tons of culture to see in Tbilisi. We're looking forward to exploring more of what the city has to offer when we return.

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Set amongst the narrow, winding alleys, handsome religious buildings, and old balconied houses and caravanserais (travellers inns) - in complete contrast, you cannot miss ..

.. the towering ultra-modern steel mushroom canopies over the roof of the Italian designed Tbilisi Public Service Hall Building ..

'Everything in One Space' is their motto .. except the means to print-off simple copies of our internet delivered flight and coach tickets!

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From Ellen's journal: click on this link → Armenia, Georgia and home

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Monday evening, July-7th


My little black steed is now all bedded-down - put into temporary hibernation for the eighth time during this trip.

We'll be back later in the year, probably sometime during the third week in September, when after replacing some essential parts - i.e. a new drive chain and sprockets etc, which will be fitted by a local Georgian bike mechanic extraordinaire, Nico (right) - we'll then ride all the way to England.

Later tonight, after completing these very last couple of paragraphs of the 63rd post of my blog, my labour of love; having clocked-up yet another 12,568 kilometre [7,809 miles] during the last three months since returning to Nepal in early April ..

.. we will again go back in time, by a piddling three hours on this particular homeward-bound flight, to my place in the far southwest of England to lay my head on that old familiar pillow.

Thank you for visiting.

Until next time.

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