I didn’t know anything about Georgia until I tried their sweet wines at a wine tasting event sometime in 2012. I was attracted by the map of Georgia pinned at their booth at the event. Travelers. I am such a typical traveler. Like any other avid travelers, I love maps. The owner of the vineyard let me try their different wines and chatted with me about his country and showed me historic sites of Georgia at the booth (more photos and maps). He even invited me to his warehouse to let me try even more wines and drinks. Georgians are so hospitable!
The year after that, I travelled to Kazakhstan after my 4-month trip in South America. (I will write all these later) While I was in Kazakhstan, I met a kind and humourous British lady who took me to a Georgian restaurant in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It was my first time to eat Georgian food! It was incredibly delicious! I fell in love with the bread at first sight, I mean, taste! The texture was a bit like Indian nan bread and yet, because the Georgians put cheese / potatoes or some other ingredients inside the bread, it tasted different from nan bread. You just have to try it to understand what I mean. 😛
So, after all these experiences, I put Georgia in my bucket list.
Welcome to Tbilisi! Welcome to Georgia!
For the next few weeks, I will write about my trip in Georgia and my interesting encounters with the local people and other travelers. I will also give you some useful tips along the way. 🙂
Let’s come back to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
I arrived in the morning on my first day and as usual, I checked in a hostel. The owners of the hostel were a young couple. The girl was pregnant. (I believe her baby is a few years old now). Like any other Georgians, they were very hospitable. They told me there was a free walking tour every day at 12 noon.
When I heard that, I looked at my watch, ‘it’s 11:30am now! I’d better be quick. Chat with you later tonight.’ I dashed out.
The walking tour started at Freedom Square opposite to Burberry which comfortably blended in a gorgeous European building. The tour was hosted by a girl from Ukraine. There were quite a number of people in our group.
She took us to all the landmarks of Tbilisi and I got to taste wine was well.
Wait! But the reason I travelled to Georgia was because of the wine and I had it on my first day? What else could I do for the rest of my trip? And where else could I go after this walking tour?
I didn’t expect I could visit all the landmarks within 3 hours on a walking tour!
After my trip in Tibet in 2005 (I will post my blogs on Tibet later), I started to realize that having no fixed plans was actually the best plan. Of course, if you travel like me, this strategy works. But if you travel on a tight schedule or with a family, you need to have a plan.
Previously, I liked to do researches before I travelled. My researches were so in depth that I felt like I had been to the country already. That wasn’t good at all. So I decided not to do too much research beforehand. Just enough to know a bit of the culture and a bit of the place will do.
That’s why, I didn’t know I could finish visiting all the landmarks of Tbilisi so quickly.
Anyway, let’s start our walking tour now in case you are doing some research on this country. 😛
You can find many bus stops at the Freedom Square. There is also a subway in Georgia. Also, you can find a 5-star hotel and a chain hotel opposite to the square. After all, this is the city centre.
According to the owner of the Georgian vineyard I met at the wine tasting event, Russia didn’t do anything to the architecture (not even to preserve them) in Georgia. That’s why all these historic buildings survived. It seems Georgians maintain their historic sites pretty well too.
Wine, wine, wine, wine, wine! 😀 This is a quick wine tasting session at mid day. It was so hot that I was melting. Wines can increase body heat, but who cares? I tasted red and white. Lovely. I knew the grapes before I went to Georgia. 😛 There is one type that I really like. Text me. I will let you know which one. 🙂 I still don’t think it is a good idea to drink wine at mid day… so I decided to drink more afterwards. 😛
I will give a more in depth review on their wines in my Kakheti post. 😉
After we walked across the bridge, we headed to Mother of Georgia. The sword represents defence and the wine glass (wine again) represents hospitality.
The Ukrainian guide started to tell us her adventure when she first came to Georgia. She was planning to travel for a short while but because of the friendly local Georgians, she was invited to many of their houses for a drink (or a few drinks and a few more drinks…) that her trip in Georgia got longer and longer. She now lives in Georgia.
Just like any other walking tours around the world, if we wanted to do extra activities like taking this ride, we needed to pay.
After the walking tour, some of us went to have late lunch (or very early dinner). This bread in the photo tasted a bit different from the one I had in Kazakhstan… I still had a few more days in Georgia. No rush. 🙂
When I walked back to my hostel, I then realised that my hostel was actually at the foot of the Mother of Georgia hill! LOL! Really? I still don’t believe it but this is what I wrote in my journal back then! 😀 You know what it proves? It proves that I have no sense of directions!!! 😀
What should I do next after Tbilisi? Where should I go next? I did have some ideas. 🙂
Come back next week to find out. 🙂
9 June 2017