Georgia, beyond Tbilisi
Nushi & I set off to Georgia for our annual May venture, which is now turning into a tradition since our last trip to Bodrum back in May 2016. Our trip days were from 19th- 23rd & I believe that we could have gone during a better weather, however, it would not have been possible to experience the beautiful sight of the snow on Georgia’s divine mountains, if we had gone any later/when it would have been warmer. So if you want to enjoy both a moderate weather (18-24 degrees Celsius) in the city & still be able to travel off to the cold snow-covered mountains at the same time; May is just about the right month to do so!
What made our trip worth every penny & every second is our very knowledgable, very accommodating and amazing guide, Lasha. Travelling around a country with a local is also a smart idea, especially if you do not want to fully depend on your Google search of “must visit places” and TripAdvior’s reviews of top rated tours & restaurants. Lasha had already prepared a full program for us prior to our arrival to Georgia & accommodated the tours as per the weather each day, genius!
Here’s how made FULL use of our five days in Georgia:
-Dinner at Taglaura: in my humble opinion, this is a must try restaurant, with its captivating mountain lodge vibe interior & in-house beer brewery; Taglaura was a good start to give us the Georgian taste of what’s yet to come/expect…
-Explored a bit of Georgia’s night life: it’s no Beirut! My out take of that night is the massive fall down the metal stairs in one of the underground clubs… The bruises are just starting to fade off my elbow & my head still feels tender from that crash but hey; my positive self takes these as a reminder of a good night.
We set off to the City of Love, Signagi and on the way stopped by the hauntingly peaceful & beautiful Monastery of Saint Nino in Bodbe; where St. Nino, who is believed to have brought the Christian faith to Georgia, is shrined.
In Signagi, we passed by the 24h Wedding Chapel, the statue of Philosopher Solomon Dodashvili (May 17, 1805 – August 20, 1836), and walked through some of Signagi’s City Wall (AKA The Great Wall of Georgia). The Wall runs 4.5KM around the city, has six gates, 26 towers and was built for protection against the Ottoman Empire assaults.
Our last destination was Khareba Winery, in Kvareli, and to speak the truth the drive to there was as mesmerising as the location, as we stopped to drink fresh water from the road channels pouring ice cold water coming down from the Caucasus Mountains and by the time we arrived to the winery I just wanted to cry from the beauty of the location! We toured the winery learning about the history of the making of the international award winning Georgian wine (I’m telling you, these people are so fond of their wine the tools & techniques they invented are just fascinating!), then we went to bake & make our Georgian bread & Churchkhela, before we sat down to breath in the fresh mountain air as we sampled yet more of Georgia’s delicious cuisine.
We took pride in the fact Lasha told us we’re his very first tourists, ever, to ask for exploring the city (Tbilisi) on foot, he parked his van at the Radisson Blu, we grabbed our caffeine from Dunkin Donuts from across the road and off we went to (into what later turned into an 18KM walk):
- Freedom Square
- Bridge of Peace
- Cable car ride that took us up to see Kartlis Deda- Mother of Georgia, who holds a bowl of wine in her left hand to greet those who come as “friends”, and a sword in her right hand for those who come as “enemies”.
- Botanical Garden
- Bridge of Love
- Dinner with a live local show
The much anticipated paragliding day in Gudauri had come and what made the experience more memorable were the places we stopped by prior to and post our adrenaline-rush activity. Below is a roadmap to make the best out of your paragliding adventure:
- Jvari Monastery, which gives you a great view of the historical city of Mtskheta by the Aragvi River.
- Ananuri Monastery
- The Black & White Aragvi/ River, the way the black & white waters flow side by side together is pure fascination and a miracle of nature…
- Paragliding in Gudauri… run and don’t stop & you’ll be flying before you know it!
- The Old City, where you can buy your souvenirs.
- Breakfast at Rooms Hotel
- Westpoint for shopping
Would I visit again? I’ve done it all, I think! So probably not... Well not unless there's nowhere else to get Chacha from...
Got any question or need further details about how to make full use of your time in Georgia? Drop me a line!