Stuck in a loop of indecision. Mestia. Ride the bike or take a mashrutka?
It's hot, very hot. Seventy kilometers of violent ascent, with the ever-present danger of landslides. Elena is not her best shape, women issues.
We will take a mashrutka, giving the bikes a rest after the last stressful days in company of the kids.
We go down in the "center" of Khaishi and wait, under the doubtful gaze of the lady of the "bar". An hour passes in which we try to stop anything that has the appearance of a van, we are ignored. After two hours a gray van approached, carrying flour. A man came out and starts speaking with some local women, including the bartender. After a while we understand that the lady is trying to intercede for us, the man is directed to Latali, 9 km from Mestia, eventually he agrees to give us a ride.
Finally we leave, 3:30pm, now we understand that this will be a long journey, the man is carrying 4 tons of flour, about four times the stated maximum load of the van. The average is 30 km/h, with a peak of 5 km/h. It seems to be on a bicycle. In addition, whenever the climb becomes steeper (almost always) the man opens the hot air valve to the maximum to make it to vent from the engine, which could seriously melt (in fact, we see several vehicles stranded along the way). We roast. Landslides are everywhere. At about 6:00pm we arrive at Latali, end of stroke. We greet our driver and offer some money, which he refuses, and we set off on foot to Mestia. Latali is a beautiful village, dotted by classic defensive towers. It exudes an ancient atmosphere. Even if not cycling, people look at us like aliens anyway.