We arrived in Kutaisi, Georgia’s second-largest city, after a very long marschrutka ride, so, after hunting for a hotel room it was time to hunt for food. We had been eating the same sorts of foods for a while now, and were very ready for something different. So, when we walked past Cafe de Paris, I pretty much told Rita I wasn’t going anywhere else. She agreed.
After some salad, frogs legs and vino, and a delicious chocolate mousse dessert for Rita, we set off to do a little sightseeing with the help of the friendly French-Georgian owners of the restaurant who helped us organise a driver.
According to the Russian-speaking French chef, the transfer of the parliament from Tbilisi to Kutaisi has not really helped business that much, and there really isn’t that much to do in this town, and forget about trying to get a decent breakfast, which turned out to be true! Well, I guess “decent” is relative, but I agreed with the chef.
Anyway, the driver was not only a driver, but a very enthusiastic and religious “guide” who is passionate about the history and legends of Kutaisi as well as its churches and monasteries. He provided a vast amount of detailed information without us asking him to. He left out nothing. In the three hours we were together (to only see two monasteries/churches), he also must have gestured the sign of the cross at least 100 times – every time we passed a chapel or a church, every time we entered and left a church, in the church, outside the church. Three “crosses” each time. It must have been quite a workout!
To spare Rita of yet more translating (and also to spare myself!), I asked Rita to just give me a very concise summary of what he told her. It was no doubt interesting, and definitely not something readily found in a guidebook, but I also know I can only handle so much info, especially info of a religious nature, before completely switching off.
Despite information overload, it was genuinely nice to see someone who cared so much, and was passionate and eager, and not trying to rip us off!