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Location: Tbilisi

Day 1 - 9 May 2021

Tbilisi International Airport

Tbilisi, Tbilisi International Airport

Content: I flew from Dubai to Tbilisi Airport with FlyDubai, and arrived around 5 pm. I had a few tours booked with Gamarjoba Tours, so they offered me a free airport transfer.

Location: Tbilisi tour agency

Day 1 - 9 May 2021

Gamarjoba Georgia Tours

Tbilisi tour agency, Gamarjoba Georgia Tours
Tbilisi tour agency, Gamarjoba Georgia Tours
Tbilisi tour agency, Gamarjoba Georgia Tours

Content: Before they brought me to the hostel they invited me to their office for a couple of glasses of Georgian red wine. Georgians are incredibly proud to be the first creators of wine, and they are even more hospitable which they show anywhere you go.

Location: Tbilisi

Day 1 - 9 May 2021

Pushkin 10

Tbilisi, Pushkin 10

Content: I was staying at Pushkin 10 for most of my time in Georgia. It's a lively hostel in the center of town, very close to the Freedom Square and the all the beautiful sights to explore.

Location: Tbilisi

Day 2 - 10 May 2021

Enguri Dam

Tbilisi , Enguri Dam

Content: Today I took an organised tour with Gamarjoba Tours. I went to their office and met up with the guide and the others on the tour. The tour was taking me to Stepantsminda, which is more commonly known as Kazbegi. It is a mountain region that's very close to the Russian border and it is home to the second tallest mountain in the country. As part of the tour we stopped by a few points before we got to the highlight of the day. We first visited a beautiful lake with a dam. It was wonderful to see so much greenery everywhere and to breathe in the fresh air.

Location:

Day 2 - 10 May 2021

Aragvi

, Aragvi

Content: We then got to the river of two colours. The legend goes that two ladies were in love with the same man, and neither of them were able to have him. So they cried for their unattainable love, and one cried black tears, while the other cried white tears. Hence, the two rivers were created and because of the differences in minerals they do not mix together, creating a beautiful scene. We continued our drive through the mountains to reach Kazbegi. The road we took is called the millitary road, and it is the only road that connects Armenia with Russia, so it is heavily used for transportation trucks. Its an interesting sight, as these trucks are often all parked along the side of the road for kilometres on end. They receive a sign when they are allowed to move a few kilometres further, and this creates a snake of traffic. Luckily we only had this traffic on the opposite side of the road, so we were able to drive further smoothly.

Location: Kazbegi

Day 2 - 10 May 2021

Gergeti Trinity Church

Kazbegi, Gergeti Trinity Church
Kazbegi, Gergeti Trinity Church
Kazbegi, Gergeti Trinity Church
Kazbegi, Gergeti Trinity Church
Kazbegi, Gergeti Trinity Church

Content: We finally arrived in Kazbegi. This was the one thing I looked forward to the most. They had built a monestery, in the 14th century, on top of the mountains, against a backdrop of snowy peaks. We changed to a 4x4 car to get all the way up the mountain and explored the area. The mountains were so incredibly impressive and immense, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. NOTE: Since we were on an organised tour I didn't really have enough time to fully explore so I decided to come back the next day, as I was spending the night in Kazbegi.

Location: Stepantsminda

Day 2 - 10 May 2021

Stepantsminda

Stepantsminda, Stepantsminda

Content: We had a lunch at a local family afterwards and tried some traditional Georgian food. It was actually really tasty, but extremely starchy with carbs on top of carbs, and of course it came with a nice glass of homemade wine.

Kazbegi cabins

Stepantsminda, Kazbegi cabins
Stepantsminda, Kazbegi cabins
Stepantsminda, Kazbegi cabins
Stepantsminda, Kazbegi cabins
Stepantsminda, Kazbegi cabins

Content: After lunch, the tour group and I parted separate ways, and I checked into my cabin for the night. I booked a place called Kazbegi Cabins, which was a small cabin at the highest end of the village, surrounded by lots of sheep, cows and horses. No one spoke a word of English, not even the lady who managed the place, but it didn't matter. The views were phenomenal and it was all I needed. I walked down into town and found a little restaurant to have a glass of wine. The hike back up to the cabin was pretty steep, and I hardly met anyone along the road. At some point I got a little bit lost and found myself in someone's back garden surrounded by cows. I walked back and found the lady who lives there. She looked at me and I told her I'm lost, she started laughing. Of course she didn't speak English, but she clearly understood that I was lost. We just laughed for a moment until she pointed me in the right direction. That evening I relaxed on the couch while looking outside at the mountains. For breakfast the owner had ordered pancakes for me and it must have been one of the best breakfasts I have ever had in my life. Not because of the food, but because of the entire setting.

Location: Kazbegi

Day 3 - 11 May 2021

Gergeti Trinity Church

Kazbegi , Gergeti Trinity Church

Content: The tour agency picked me up again and dropped me back at the monestery so I had some more time to explore and take photos. I hiked up a mountain to get a better view and I was just blown away. I had never seen anything like it.

Location: Juta

Day 3 - 11 May 2021

Gveleti waterfall

Juta, Gveleti waterfall
Juta, Gveleti waterfall
Juta, Gveleti waterfall

Content: In the afternoon I had a hike scheduled to a waterfall. The hike was only about 30 minutes, and very moderate intensity. The waterfall itself was nice, but I especially loved being surrounded by so much nature. That is definitely something I miss while living in Dubai.

Juta

Juta, Juta
Juta, Juta
Juta, Juta
Juta, Juta

Content: We then drove to Juta, which is a small mountain village just before the border of Russia. The tiny village of Juta was like the end of the world. There were some small cabins which you could rent, or where locals were living and it would be the ideal place if you are sick and tired of society. There are two beautifully coloured lakes hidden behind the mountains in Juta, which would be an amazing hike. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do it as I didn't have enough time. If you decide to stay another night in Kazbegi, or you stay in Juta itself, then you could spend the whole day hiking. It is about a 3 hour hike one way.

Location: Tbilisi

Day 3 - 11 May 2021

Tbilisi

Tbilisi, Tbilisi

Content: My time in the mountains had unfortunately come to an end, and I would treasure these views forever. But it was time to go to Tbilisi and see what the city is all about.

Location: T'bilisi

Day 4 - 12 May 2021

Pushkin 10

T'bilisi, Pushkin 10

Content: I stayed at Pushkin 10 for the remainder of my stay. It's a very sociable hostel in the center of town, and a great way to meet people if you are travelling by yourself.

ERTI KAVA Coffee Room

T'bilisi, ERTI KAVA Coffee Room
T'bilisi, ERTI KAVA Coffee Room
T'bilisi, ERTI KAVA Coffee Room
T'bilisi, ERTI KAVA Coffee Room
T'bilisi, ERTI KAVA Coffee Room

Content: It was finally time to explore Tbilisi. I had a full day off to explore the Old Town to break away from the tours around the country. I found a nice place for breakfast that did some healthy food, which was a nice change compared to all the carbs I had eaten the days before. This cafe was in a very modern part of the city, with a wide shopping street, covered with tall trees. After breakfast I Googled a bit where to go and what to explore, and started my tour around the city. This way, I found some really nice hidden spots, such as a gorgeous blue townhouse and a tasty little ice cream shop with cool graffiti.

Location: Tbilisi

Day 4 - 12 May 2021

Dzveli Tbilisi

Tbilisi, Dzveli Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Dzveli Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Dzveli Tbilisi

Content: I continued uphill to see more of the old town of Tbilisi, which was full of small little cobblestone streets with tiny, steep stairs that led up to different residential buildings. It was pretty tough to go up, and I could only imagine how fit the locals must be, by doing this on a daily basis. The city was full of character and it really reminded me of Barcelona.

Dzveli Tbilisi

Tbilisi, Dzveli Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Dzveli Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Dzveli Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Dzveli Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Dzveli Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Dzveli Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Dzveli Tbilisi

Content: In the evening I had an organised walking tour with Gamarjoba Tours. During the tour we passed by different sights within the old town, and we passed over to the other side of the river, through a park that was dedicated to the European Union. As much as Georgia is geographically located in Central Asia, they feel European and would love to become part of the EU. You can really see and feel this throughout the city in the way the city looks and how the locals are.

Location: T'bilisi

Day 4 - 12 May 2021

Tabori Monastery

T'bilisi, Tabori Monastery
T'bilisi, Tabori Monastery
T'bilisi, Tabori Monastery

Content: I connected with someone during the tour and proposed to watch the sunset from a viewpoint that I had found online, earlier that day. It would be a short hike up for 12 minutes, and this would give us an amazing panoramic view over the entire city, as well as the fortress. Luckily he was completely up for it, so off we went. Sunset was already starting so we had to be kind of quick, so we rushed uphill. At some point Google Maps directed us towards a wall, and we couldn't go any further, so we asked the locals for some help. They pointed us in the right direction, but this meant that we had to go up on some small stairs, which seemed to be going through a little neighbourhood. We passed through gardens, and low-hanging laundry. We were told to go through doors which let us into people homes with dogs barking at us at every corner, and locals looking at us like they had never seen any tourists there before. Then finally we ended up in someone's garden, and it seemed that we couldn't go any further, but after explaining where we were trying to get to, they sent their two young children to lead us the way. We walked through tall grass, which turned into more bushy vegetation, until we properly had to pass through tall bushes with a made up path. We weren't too sure whether we were still going the right way, but then we finally saw the monestery and it was all worth it. We turned around and couldn't believe our eyes. The city was gorgeous with the sun setting, which turned the sky into pink cotton candy. We tried to get a taxi up on the hill to bring us back to the center of town, but none of them would be available to come up there. By this time it was already 8.30 pm, and the curfew was going to start at 9pm. We weren't too sure what to do, and whether we would make it back in time, and then we found a couple of monks on the other side of the monestery. We asked them if there would be any taxis that could bring us back into town and they simply laughed at us. Instead they pointed us into the direction of another path which would take us down to the old town. Only five minutes, they said, so we trusted them in good faith and rushed down. To our surprise it actually only took us 5 minutes and the trail was much better than the one we took to get up there, but we wouldn't have wanted to miss out on the experience that we had.

Location: Tbilisi

Day 4 - 12 May 2021

Bridge of Peace

Tbilisi, Bridge of Peace

Content: We continued our way back to our accommodation, but we couldn't help but get distracted by freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and a great photo opportunity on top of the Bridge of Peace that was completely empty. Eventually, we made it back, and I literally stepped through the door at exactly 9 pm. Just in time for the curfew. NOTE: I was in Georgia in May, when there was a 9 pm curfew. The rules may have changed in the meantime.

Location: Kakheti wine region

Day 5 - 13 May 2021

Kakheti

Kakheti wine region, Kakheti
Kakheti wine region, Kakheti
Kakheti wine region, Kakheti
Kakheti wine region, Kakheti
Kakheti wine region, Kakheti
Kakheti wine region, Kakheti

Content: Today it was time to learn more about Georgian wine, and more importantly to taste more of it. I took this tour again with Gamarjoba Tours. Our first stop was the biggest wine factory in the region. Here we tasted about 5 different wines and a brandy, and it wasn't even 11 am yet! The interesting thing about Georgian wine is that most of them are semi sweet, so it is very different from the usual wines from France or Italy. The next stop was a small local bakery. Here we tried some home made bread and cheese with fresh tomatoes. Our third stop was a very fancy vineyard. The vineyard was build inside a tunnel that was once build to become a subway, but this project was never completed. So, someone decided it would be a great place to start a winery, and it really added to the esthetic. NOTE: Since it was an organised tour I do not know the names of each place we visited.

Numisi Cellar Museum

Kakheti wine region, Numisi Cellar Museum

Content: It was time for lunch. We went to a little restaurant, that also displayed some old wine making artefacts in a small museum next door. The guides were acting as the toast makers, and showed us how this is done traditionally in Georgia. In the meantime there was a dance show with local folklore, which was a nice added touch.

Sighnaghi

Kakheti wine region, Sighnaghi
Kakheti wine region, Sighnaghi
Kakheti wine region, Sighnaghi

Content: After lunch we continued to our last stop, which was the romantic town called Sighnaghi. This town is known as the city of love and is often compared to Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet.

Location: T'bilisi

Day 6 - 14 May 2021

Fabrika Tbilisi

T'bilisi, Fabrika Tbilisi
T'bilisi, Fabrika Tbilisi

Content: I went to a place called Fabrika for breakfast. This is a hotel / hangout place that houses a couple of restaurants, which is extremely popular amongst locals and tourists. We decided to go for breakfast here and see what the hype is all about. It was a nice place, very quirky and alternative, kind of like Brick Lane in London, but it is probably better experienced at night.

Location: Tbilisi

Day 6 - 14 May 2021

Barbarestan

Tbilisi, Barbarestan

Content: It was time for our next stop on our culinary trip. We went to Barbarestan, which was a really fancy restaurant that also did great desserts. We took a seat outside and ordered two of their desserts and some tea. It was a lovely place, in a more affluent and business area of Tbilisi, and it really felt like sitting in a cafe in Chelsea in London. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of the place, but it is very beautiful inside and they really do an effort to nicely display the food.

Location: T'bilisi

Day 6 - 14 May 2021

Sulfur baths

T'bilisi, Sulfur baths

Content: We decided that we wanted to try out one of the famous sulphur spa's in town. These are natural pools with sulphur minerals that are supposed to make your skin soft as a baby and cure any kind of skin diseases. We booked our slot for 5 pm and went for lunch at 144 Stairs Cafe while waiting. The spa was not really as we expected though. The lady explained to us that we should dip in the pool for 5 minutes, and then take a cold shower, go back in the pool for 5 minutes, etc. We dipped our toes in the water and were shocked by how hot it was. Our feet immediately started pinching, and it wasn't a pleasurable pain. The water must have literally been more than 50 degrees. We asked the lady for help, and told her it was too hot. She didn't speak any English, but it was clear that she was basically telling us to man up and get in the pool. I didn't manage to put more than just my lower legs into the water, but my friend eventually managed to go all the way in up to his belly. But as much as we tried, the pinching and pain just would not get any better. Luckily, we had also booked a massage, which turned out to be like a hammam body scrub. The scrub was lovely and I still ended up feeling soft as a baby, but be warned.

Shavi Lomi

T'bilisi, Shavi Lomi

Content: After the spa we went for dinner in a really pretty restaurant. It was a beautiful place with a lovely garden and a very funky, kind of colonial living room. The food was modern Georgian cuisine, and very delicious.

Location: Tbilisi

Day 7 - 15 May 2021

Old Town

Tbilisi, Old Town
Tbilisi, Old Town
Tbilisi, Old Town

Content: On my last day I strolled around town and visited the Mother of Georgia statue which you can reach by the funicular. It's a nice way to have an overview over the entire city, and afterwards you can walk down, back to the city center.

Tbilisi International Airport

Tbilisi, Tbilisi International Airport

Content: My time in Georgia had come to an end, and it was time to make my way to the airport to catch my flight. I decided to fly to Ukraine for another short trip, which you can also read about in my other post.