Sunday, November 05, 2006

One of the benefits of being in the hash is that other weekend activities also take place. It now seems that every second Sunday there is a hash, and on the Sundays in between there is a walk. I got the email from the hash team 'meet at Freedom Square in front of the Municipality building at 11:00 am for a relaxed pace walk in the environs of Tbilisi'. So I thought it would be a bit of a stroll round different corners of Tbilisi. I was a bit surprised that other people were wearing serious hiking boots. Since there had been a misunderstanding about the starting time - in fact it was at 12 - those of us who had turned up went for a coffee, during which I learned about the cultural facilities of the Goethe Institute (which also has a cafe) and the Centre Cultural Francais Alexandre Dumas which has 13,000 books (about 11,000 more than the British Council). I should find something to read there ...and I have now signed up to the Goethe Institute newsletter. There is going to be an interesting concert on November 14th with a German a capella group.

Anyway, at 12 the others appeared, all with big boots, and one guy with walking sticks (from Muenster, Germany), and off we went in taxis into the countryside. One of the persons in big boots said that the last walk she had done in trainers and ended up with bleeding toes. Up and up and corksrewing and corkscrewing we went for about half an hour. Then we were almost on top of the mountain, 800 m above Tbilisi and all we needed to do was to walk back down again.

This we did, on a long walk through the forest. We met a car rally but they did not go too fast uphill. Also saw some sheep, and rather interestingly found ourselves above the level of the top of the TV tower. Also saw some sheep, and some of the cutest puppies - but we did not need any dogs! Bolle, the labrador/Staffie cross was with us again, really on best behaviour even near the cows.

After walking downhill for miles and miles suddenly we hit flat ground, and could really feel our muscles! We thought we had done 15 km; a guy with a Global Positioning System said we had done 11 km, but we are almost certain that he had taken some shortcuts.

During the walk talked to some other lovely and interesting people, and I may have fixed myself up with a piano teacher (but she does not know that yet). A lot of French people were on the walk (about 3) and that was very nice.

The photo shows Tbilisi from above, in a haze of ... pollution? My own flat is too high above that to be much affected, and there are those vine leaves that filter everything.