Each time I travel to a foreign shore I feel I have evolved a little more. I couldn’t resist penning down my much-awaited travel to Georgia as soon as I boarded the flight back to Dubai. I spent four days in Tbilisi, the capital city of this mesmerizing Caucasian country. Sharing its borders with Armenia and Turkey on the south, Russia on the north and Azerbaijan on the southeast, Georgia is a land that took me back in time.
Having arrived in the morning I had an entire day to uncover the place. I scouted around Freedom Square, the city center and the surrounding old town areas with much curiosity. Soon, I found myself getting happily lost in the medieval charm of the cobblestone alleys, narrow backstreets, wine houses, local art, museums, lush green parks with old and contemporary statues and sculptures.
These were a reflection of Tbilisi’s stunning beauty and architecture and it got the best of me when I discovered the Tbilisi Gate Gallery on Nikoloz Baratashvili Street. I ended up spending few hours here sipping wine, chatting with the friendly Georgian artists and watching them play the game of colours on their canvases and some timeless classics by Eric Clapton to Sinatra to Nat King Cole setting the mood in the background.
This unique discovery on the first morning of my trip filled me with a sense of belonging as painting and music have been my old companions. I kept visiting this snug cafe all four days of my stay in Tbilisi and I even ended up recommending to few other like-minded travelers whom I met on my journey. Tbilisi abounds in such warm cozy cafes and pubs.
The second day was a day long trip to Kazbegi, Gerghati, Ananuri and Gudauri where I experienced the first day of snowfall in Georgia on December 1 this year and witnessed some ancient churches, castles, fortresses and monasteries dating from 13th century. The skiing season in Georgia starts from December 10 and is a must for skiing enthusiasts.
The remaining two days of my stay, I visited Kakheti which happens to be the most fertile region in Georgia producing the very best wines and availed the Hop On and Hop Off buses around the old town Tbilisi and took the cable car to Narikala Fortress and the statute of Mother of Georgia perched on the hill.
A trip to Georgia would be incomplete without tasting the delicious Kinkhali and Khachapuri and ofcorse the popular Georgian wines. There are many myths surrounding wine. One such local belief is that wine saved Georgia as the Georgian kings made some important political decisions over wine which stood in favour of the people and its nation!
Georgia should be in anybody’s wishlist who is looking for a mix of art, music, culture, history and some great sports and amusements within an affordable budget. With currency exchange offices and banks scattered all over the city one has no reasons to worry! The most commonly accepted currencies in Georgia are US dollars, euros and rubles. However, having some local money in GEL or lari is always an advantage. For UK, US nationals and UAE resident permit holders there’s no need for a visa to enter Georgia. For visa related queries for Indians and other country nationals please visit the link below.
Georgia has given me memories of a lifetime and I wouldn’t mind getting my passport stamped the second time for a visit to this fascinating country!