Georgia

If Georgia were a woman, she would hold a glass of wine in her hand, wear a golden fleece under her untied hair on her shoulders. She would be both sea and mountain and sing in a church of golden stones

 
Georgia is a small country located between Greater Russia, Central Asia and Asia. Its sea is black, its villages high up in the mountains and its secular churches are beautiful. Georgia is not well known in the world, it is often confused with the American state, but the country has an strong personnality. As is often the case when travelling (and elsewhere too), it is not size that counts. This country combines all possible qualities: beautiful nature, hospitable people, a strong culture and a tasty gastronomy. 

 

გამარჯობა, მე მქვია ქრისტინე, მე ვარ ფრანგი, მოხარული ვარ, რომ გაგიცანით!
Hallo Georgien!

Gamarjoba, me mkvia krist’ine, me var prangi, mokharuli var, rom gagitsanit!

 

There are countries like that that take you by the hand and by I don’t know what miracle, the traveller doesn’t let go of it any more

 

This country has long been part of the Soviet empire. Since its independence in 1991, the country has been trying to recover its soul and identity. If there is still a long way to go, it has every chance of succeeding: Georgia is really endearing.

 

Despite its difficulties, Georgia is not to be pitied, it is the envy of the world

 

Maybe that’s the real beauty. Twisted, collapsed, wobbly houses are beautiful. There remains here the indelible mark of meticulous work, of the love of careful, delicate architecture. The balconies are made of wood lace, each door has its carved stone frame, the ironwork is chiselled. You have to be blind not to see the nobility of the city’s features.
Tbilisi is so beautiful that the journey could end there. The traveller would spend his days strolling through the old streets, the hills and he would come back every day with incredible pictures: children playing in the streets, balconies animated by families, a tree that seems to support a house.

This is a portrait that would not please the Georgians. For almost 30 years, they have been working hard to restore their capital city

 

Today, the part of the city between the two hills, one for warriors, the other for religious, has beautiful pedestrian streets, the most famous of which, Agmashenebeli, offers everything that visitors love: bars, restaurants, street artists and a romantic bridge over the Koura River.
Georgians take care of their monuments: the canyon, the hill that goes up to Kartlis Deda where Mother Georgia is enthroned, the Turkish baths with sulphur springs and the very very old churches too. If with a wave of a magic stick Tbilisi could be restored, it would undoubtedly be the most beautiful city in the world.

Visiting Georgia is very easy, you can always find something to take you to another city.

 

The country is not immense and a beautiful part of Georgia can be visited by returning each evening to the capital.
It’s easy, just go to the Didube station and catch a minibus. It’s much better than by car, even if it shakes and grows a bit, you meet the Georgians and admire the landscape.

Transportation in Georgia is very cheap and rather well organized so why deprive yourself of immersion?

 

For more specific destinations such as the David Gareji monastery, organized tours are not expensive and it is the easy solution. They are legion in the Kote Afkhasi street where it is difficult to take a step without being offered by a tour operator.

The bus is good, but in Georgia, the train is great

 
He’s going slow, but really, really slow. So on the train there is plenty of time to admire the landscape and get to know the neighbours. They’re not made in Georgia, but to my knowledge, they’re Italian from the 70s. The lines are few and far between. Only one line connects Tiblissi to Batumi, another Khashuri to Akhaltsikhe. But you can go from Batumi to Yerevan in Armenia by the fabulous night train with slippers, towel and meal included. It’s like in an old movie!

Georgia also has its Romeo and Juliet

In Batoumi there is a beautiful work of art. It is about a man and a woman who, through a mechanical genius that is difficult to explain, approach each other, embrace and cross each other, in order to move away from each other inexorably. This sculpture tells the seemingly true story of the impossible love between Ali, a young aristocrat, Muslim, and a Georgian and Christian princess, Nino. From different religions, their love will conquer all difficulties and they will marry. But unfortunately, the stormy history separates the couple. At the time of the Russian invasion, Nino will leave to fight for his country and never return. The versions differ, and historians do not all agree, but anyway, it is a beautiful love story! So beautiful that it has recently been adapted for cinema

In Georgia, it is difficult to make decisions, everything is worth a visit

 

Monasteries and churches of course, but also castles, fortresses, mountains and, why not, the Black Sea coast in the beautiful seaside resort of Batoumi. A bit sophisticated and quite expensive, it is better to rent a bike to explore it. The parks are beautiful, the city is very lively and the sunsets  fabulous.

It is impossible to make a sketch of Georgia without adding gastronomy

 

To put it bluntly, the Georgians have been making wine for much longer than the French. The borders have certainly moved a lot since then, but in Georgia grape seeds and jars have been found, which have been there since 6000 B.C. They are quite proud of them, and it is hard to avoid a tasting: in a taxi, on a bus or in the street.
So, like any enlightened person, they have naturally tasted the cheese that goes with them. They have been making it here for 7,000 years. All that was missing was the bread for the absolute joy of the gourmet. Well, there is bread in Georgia and is really something special. Bakeries are often located in the cellar and you can buy your bread through the window. Then the shape of the lavachi is surprising, it looks like a flattened wineskin!
The gastronomy does not stop here, the famous khatchapuri is a poem and khinkalis look like Chinese dumplings are tasty. The country offers the hungry explorer a whole collection of delicious sausages, cold cuts and fantastic stews with potatoes.

And the Georgians, are they worth a visit?

 

Of course they are! First of all, they are always happy to have visitors. Secondly, the Georgians are very attached to their culture, it has be saved often enough to appreciate it. That is why they like to share it with the travellers.
When it comes to hospitality, the message is clear once you arrive in Tbilisi. Mother Georgia, holds in her two hands an impressive sword and a cup. Understand: we greet our friends with wine, we greet our enemies with the sword. Yeah.
No worry, Georgia, my heart beats for you! 

გმადლობთ, მშვიდობით, გნახავთ მალე! Gmadlobt, mshvidobit, gnakhavt male!

Georgie, Best Of

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Next journey: let's enjoy Armenia!

Very charming country and not very touristy, it is time for a trip! Travellers will be greatly welcomed, and the country is worth the detour!