Georgia on My Mind

Dr. Vinisha Peres
Monday, November 26, 2018

‘The most beautiful in the world is, of course, the world itself’.
– Wallace Stevens h

When you have the sudden urge of going on a holiday and that too without the hassle of applying for a visa, the options are very limited. But if you have 4-5 days holiday who doesn’t want to make the most of it and shoot off. And to add some icing on the cake, if your wedding anniversary falls during those holidays ‘Mamma Mia!! That is the definition of the ‘Best Vacation’ in history. Well, after looking out for countries where visa is available on arrival, I narrowed it down to Georgia. As someone has rightly said ‘better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times’. We heard a lot about Georgia, so we thought of going and seeing it ourselves!



Going on a holiday out of the blue needs a lot of planning in a short duration of time. There are lots of things to do like booking flights, hotels, sightseeing, packing and the list is unending. But, when travelling to new countries is your passion its all so easy. And when you happen to be a perfectionist, every detail counts!

So I got a good flight deal with Jazeera Airways that has direct flights from Kuwait to Tbilisi (Georgia). The timing was perfect too!

Flights Airlines Departure Arrival
Kuwait to Tbilisi Jazeera Airways 14:50 hrs. 18:20 hrs.
Tbilisi to Kuwait Jazeera Airways 18:45 hrs. 20:25 hrs.

The tickets were done and now I had to search for a Hotel. After searching and comparing websites for days together, and its not an easy task- I found the most ideal place to stay ‘Gallery Palace’. I booked this Hotel because we wanted to explore the city by foot…. I don’t mean literally- we did have our footwear on! Gallery Palace was in the heart of the city and very close to Liberty Square with excellent breakfast.

We were in Tbilisi for 7 days and it was a packed schedule! So many things to do, so little time.
I read that the best way to know about a place is to join a one-day free tour of the city on the first day of your vacation. Like my husband says “All the best things in life are for free”. And I did just that! I booked our reservation with the Tbilisi Hack Free Tour where a guide showed us around the entire city. It was a wonderful experience.



We got an idea about different monuments, the history behind it and the places to eat.

SIGHTSEEING:



We saw the Bridge of Peace, Tbilisi History Museum, Mother of Georgia, Narikala Fortress, Dzveli Tbilisi sulphur waterfall, Sulphur Baths, Sioni Cathedral.

The beautiful and serene Waterfall is a sight to see. We were told that Georgians visit the waterfall on the day of the wedding and put locks on the bridge. There is also a massive heavy metal chain dangling where people believe that if the chain is hit on the wall thrice you will definitely return back to Georgia. Let’s see if we do go back!



We were lucky to hear some calm and composing instrumental Georgian music near the waterfall.

SULPHUR BATHS

Our next stop was the Sulphur Baths that are famous in Georgia because of its healing properties. Legends believe that King Gorgasali while hunting came across a hot spring. And it was then that the city developed.





WINERY:

If you are in Georgia, you have to visit a Winery. Georgia has some of the best wines. The Wineries are said to be the oldest in the World. We booked a private wine tour with Real Georgia Tours.



The wine tour was a lifetime experience. We visited the wine tunnel of Gvirabi, a family wine cellar that displays the ancient ways of wine making and an organic winery. We were picked up at 9 am and we reached the wine tunnel at 12.30pm.

Before entering the wine tunnel we were advised to wear shawls or jackets since the temperature inside is 12-14 degrees. It was interesting to learn the methods used to store wine and the earthen pots buried in the earth. On the way we stopped at some of the famous places like Gremi Fort, Signagi and Bodbe Convent. The total duration for the wine tour was 10-12 hours. Price was 90$ per person.



PROMETHEUS AND SATAPLIA CAVES:



We booked a one-day trip with the same tours to see the Prometheus Cave and Sataplia Caves. We were picked up from our hotel at 8.30 am. We reached Prometheus Cave by 12pm. We saw some breath taking Stalactites and Stalagmites. The next stop was Sataplia Cave. At the entrance we saw dinosaur footprints and then proceeded inside the caves. It took us approximately an hour to see each cave. Both the caves were cool, dark and wet because of the water dripping inside the caves.



CHRONICLES OF GEORGIA:



We took the Metro from Liberty Square Station to Grmagele Station. Just opposite the Grmagele Metro Station we caught Bus No. 60 to Military School. We showed the bus conductor the image of the Chronicle of Georgia and they dropped us right in front of it.

MUSEUMS:



The beauty of Tbilisi is that everything is within the city. We had the opportunity of visiting three Museums.
1. Science museum ‘Experimentorium’: My husband being a science genius was thrilled to visit this place. Kids and Science students will have a good time trying various experiments. Timings: 10am to 7pm. Ticket for an adult- 13 Gel/person.

2. Georgia National Museum: Surprisingly it had a lot of artifacts from India and China. The Museum gave us an idea of the struggle in Georgia, the dedication and love for their country. Timings: 10am to 6pm. Ticket for an adult- 7 Gel/ Person.

3. Museum of Fine Arts: It had on display some of the most beautiful paintings. Being an artist myself it fascinated me to see the variety and depth in paintings.

Timings: 10am to 5pm. Ticket for an adult- 3 Gel/Person.










SHOPPING



The markets are famous for their antique items on display. You have various wooden musical instruments, knitted clothes, souvenirs, cheese, wine, jewelry etc. You get fresh fruits like Figs, Strawberry,Blackberries, Peaches grown locally.

We enjoyed shopping at the Ornament Gallery, Gallery 27 and the Dry Bridge Market. One of the most famous places where we got to see the Georgian people- their art, culture, life is the Dry Bridge Flea Market. You have people selling various musical instruments, clothes, shoes, bags, tools, paintings and wooden artifacts. The best days to visit the Dry Bridge Flea Market is on Saturday/ Sunday. Its open from 10am to 5pm.

After all the sightseeing we were tired to walk back to the hotel but being a woman I was ready with a backup plan. Yes, we were prepared to catch Bus 20 from Dry Bridge Market to Pushkin Square (very close to the hotel).

FOOD:



Just beside Sioni Cathedral there was a Bakery in the basement with the most delicious bread we have ever eaten. I could fly back to Georgia just to gobble up some more bread. We tried different dishes everyday. I should stress on one fact: the food in Georgia is simply delicious and superb. I know for certain since we put on a lot of weight! Well, who cared about the weight as long as the tummy was happy. Georgian cuisine is famous for different types of bread and cheese. To be on the safer side and not to miss out on anything, I even made a list of ‘what to eat in Georgia’.

Must try delicacies Ingredients
Imeruli Khachapuri Bread stuffed with Cheese
Megruli Khachapuri Bread stuffed with cheese & butter
Acharuli Khachapuri Bread stuffed with Cheese, raw egg and butter
Chvishtari Georgian corn bread
Badrijai Nigvzit Roll of eggplant stuffed with walnuts
Nadugi Cheese wrapped in cheese and mint
Lobio Beans curry
Sulguni Khinkali Stuffed with cheese
Mtiulian Khinkali Stuffed with meat but no herbs
Tushetian Khinkali Stuffed with meat and herbs
Chikirtma (Summer Soup) Chicken broth with garlic, cinnamon, coriander and lemon juice
Sweet- Churchke - Dry fruits soaked in different juices and then dried. (Pomegranate, Grapes, Kiwi etc)
Sweet- Matsoni Yogurt
Drink: Limonati Georgian Lemonade

We tried some of the restaurants that are really good and famous for a delicacy like Zakhar Zakharich (Khinkali), Samikitno Georgian Cuisine, Funicular Complex, Machakhela (Khachapuri) and Luca Polare (Ice-cream).

The cost of food in Georgia per day is around 22 Gel / person.




TRAVEL:

We did most of our travel in Tbilisi by metro. Transportation is very cheap. A Metromoney Card costs 2 Gel/person and each journey for 90 minutes cost 0.50 Gel. The best part was that we used the Metromoney Card on the metro and bus. On the last day of our vacation we gave back the Metromoney card along with its receipt at the Metro Station and they returned back the 2Gel for the card. Travelling with locals is the best way to see a country.

At the end of our trip we were content and happy because we travelled like locals, ate like starved souls and had fun like kids. As Jawaharlal Nehru rightly said, “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open”.







Dr. Vinisha Peres holds a Ph.D in law and is a private legal consultant. She has visited 8 countries. She has passion for travelling and she makes sure to carry out extensive research about the destination before travelling. She loves food, music, art and education.

Express your comment on this article

 
Lizza
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Georgia is very beautiful place and lovely kind people.

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