Preparing for the Journey
The journey begins at the Tbilisi food market - a colorful caravanserai for food, packed with round white cheeses, shelves of yellow honey, tall piles of fresh walnuts. The tables are laden with fresh green herbs and earth-toned spices; I smell tarragon, coriander, cinnamon, fresh red meat and old human sweat. Such dark and vivid faces, so many voices, bargaining and bartering - how will I ever buy anything here?
Soso, our driver, tackles the market like a rugby player in a scrum. He smells, tastes and touches before he buys, accepts only the best, and bargains fiercely for the lowest price. We buy smoked Surghuni cheese, dried apricots and persimmons, walnuts, apples - and a fresh suckling pig. We need so much - there will be little food available at Vashlovani, an arid, stony wilderness on the Azerbaijani border and the first stage on our journey.
Back at the flat, Pat and I pack our boxes with food. Georgia is such a rich and dense country, I say.