which way to the Coke Museum?

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I drank a little more of the V, and then I packed my stuff and left the hotel to walk the rest of the way towards the border with Georgia. The streets in Balakan seemed a tiny bit more flashy than the others before it:

road out of Balakan

The late President’s words were carved in stone on a street corner:

Presidential portrait and words

A white monument of a mother with her child looked over the road:

mom and kid monument

And then there was an advertisement for a carwash that seemed a bit more humble:

car wash

The weather was good, there was forest on both sides of the road, and the way wasn’t going to be long. Walking felt easy.

Caboose on her way to Georgia

When I reached a restaurant in the middle of nowhere I stopped and ordered dinner:

last meal in Azerbaijan

I got potato soup, salad, and bread:

potato soup

There was some more road, and then a sign that showed the flag of Azerbaijan next to an oil well:

Azerbaijan means oil

And I realized that it seemed like ages ago that I had passed the oil chickens of Baku.

Then I noticed the border in the distance:

border to Georgia

There were some taxi drivers at the border, some tourists waiting to cross, some border guards, a stray dog, and a little shop. The shop belonged to Sasha:

Sasha and his shop

He gave me some ice-cream and some water, and we talked about Mayakovsky (who had also written about his travels). It was delightful.

Then I entered the border. It was a lot easier than the border of Iran and Azerbaijan two months earlier. Nevertheless I had to open the Caboose and answer a lot of questions. But then I was halfway through, on a bridge between Azerbaijan and Georgia, and I was told that it was okay to take photographs, so I did that:

the Caboose between Azerbaijan and Georgia

There was a sign with the word GEORGIA, and I took my daily selfie under it:

in Georgia!

Then I braced myself for the second half of the border – the Georgian inspection:

enter Georgia

It turned out to be even more relaxed than the Azerbaijani side. A few questions, one quick look into the Caboose, and I was through.

Here’s what I saw immediately upon entering Georgia:

first picture in Georgia

I sat down with two Chinese travelers whom I had met during the border checks, and we drank tea and talked for a while. When we got up and said goodbye, it was already getting dark.

So I spent my first few kilometers in Georgia walking through the darkness:

nightfall in Georgia

I was a bit creeped out, because I didn’t know what to expect:

darkness in Georgia

But after an hour or so I arrived in a small village where I had booked a guesthouse.

And so I had arrived in Georgia, home of the Coke Museum.

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