Our trip to Bakuriani was amazing. We went horseback riding through the mountains! This may have been the most fun thing I’ve done in Georgia. It was just us, our horses, our guide Misha and the beautiful land of Georgia.
Our guide was a real character. He was actually a competitive arm wrestler and kept asking me questions about professional arm wrestlers from America. I didn’t even know professional arm wresting existed. His other favorite topic was horses and rodeos. Another topic I know nothing about. I was literally making stuff up just to please him. I said something about Montana having the most wild horses and the best rodeos being in Kentucky. (He seemed a bit upset that I didn’t share more statistical information).
The best part about horseback riding was that after trekking through the beautiful terrain, Misha took us to a field to go racing! There is no feeling more exhilarating then when you’re perfectly in sync with an animal and going 60 kilometers per hour. We were flying. It felt like me and my horse Yuda were one being just about to soar through the sky.
I still remember that when I went horseback riding in Nicaragua the name of my horse was Serena and the previous night a tarantula had bitten her behind the ear and she had a bad infection. The two of us seemed to bond over our hatred for spiders. Me and Yuda also bonded. I mean hello, his name was Yuda that’s Georgian for Judah which is a Hebrew name. My horse was Jewish! (And at one point I asked him if he was feeling okay and I swear he neighed ‘no’).
When we left our hotel on Sunday morning, the entire staff seemed to come out to wish us goodbye. Misha, Dodo, her husband, all the cooks and crew; everyone was just standing out in the cold waving us goodbye as we drove off in our marshutka (which came directly to the hotel to pick all of us up). The marshutka driver even came thirty minutes off schedule to get us! Talk about Georgian hospitality.
It still boggles my mind how kind and hospitably everyone treats us. Our marshutka driver Miram even took us to the Borjomi mineral water park for free, and picked us up for free a few hours later! And to top him, our second marshutka driver of the day, Gosha, stopped off at a restaurant to pick up some khachapuri for us as a gift. I mean, what? Who has ever heard of a taxi driver stopping to buy lunch for their passengers just to be nice? Miram even called me a few hours later to make sure I made it home okay. It seems as though every marshutka driver I meet becomes my own pseudo-father.
I went through my phone on the marshutka and noticed I have the name and number of a marshutka or cab driver in every city I’ve been to in Georgia so far. Ludacris may have hoes in different area codes but I have patronis in every city! Read more of Michelle’s trip and her encounter with Olympic athletes in Georgia…