It was mid of the march when my husband and I decided to explore this beautiful and exciting country Georgia.I had heard amazing things about Georgia from my friends and could not wait to explore the country through my perspective.
Georgia is located at the junction of Eastern Europe and West Asia, south of Russia and north of Turkey and Armenia,it was part of the former Soviet Union.After going through many political and social unrest,came out as individual identity of Georgia on the map but the relationship is still complex with the Russia due to the two occupied areas of Georgia-South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
This place will not only mesmerize you with its rich culture,rustic architecture,beautiful mountains, historic churches, European vibes but the appetizing food will definitely leaves you speechless. If you are obligate to eat Hilal food like me,worry not its not that difficult to find at most of the places here.
Day 1- Dubai To Tbilisi
We landed on the airport around 3.40 pm and we hurriedly bought sim cards for us right from the counter before the exit. Sims were,just had to buy data plans and I got 4Gb and some local minutes in 17 gel. Its better to buy from there rather than wasting time in wondering around for sims. We took the taxi and made our way to the hotel which was quite far from the main city but luckily the bus station was just a stone’s throw from our hotel.
We hunted down a hilal food restaurant with the help of our driver in the middle of our way by the name Taj Mahal. Fueled up ourselves with biryani and continued our drive to the hotel.
After settling down in our hotel Panorama (3* hotel),we relish our home bought cake and puffs with the tea.After that we preferred to take rest and decided to begin our exploring instincts from tomorrow.
Hotel Panorama is not a lavish one but not a bad choice for a budget vacations. The service here is very homely as all the staff is female (majority).
Day 2- Trip to Old Tbilisi, Mtskheta and Javari Church
We started our day at 8,our guide was supposed to meet us at 3.00 pm so till than we had plenty of time to roam around the city. After having a breakfast We sat out to explore around 9 am,took the bus and reached Old Tbilisi within 20 mins.
A great way to adapt to the city is by walking and soaking in all the beauty of the Tbilisi streets,waterfall and the architecture. For those of you who prefer a tour, don’t waste your money and explore the city on your own.
Places to visit here Batonical Garden,Narikala Fortress,Jumah Mosque,St. Trinity Church,Waterfall and Sulfur Bath
We had our lunch at Mac Donalds (fish burger and fries) and at 3:00 started driving towards our destination.
From there we sat out for Jvari Church, located near Mtskheta, eastern Georgia. Along with other historic structures of Mtskheta, it is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It is said that Jvari church had a great impact on the further development of Georgian architecture and served as a model for many other churches.J vari Monastery stands on the rocky mountaintop Aragvi rivers, overlooking the town of Mtskheta.
We reached to Mtskheta, seat of the Georgian Orthodox Church and a World Heritage site situated at the confluence of the Aragvi river. You will find many stalls of fresh fruits, local items and warm dresses. Dogs strolling and relaxing on the streets and people respect there presence. Old streets, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and food stalls is definitely not to be missed here. I tried khachapuri first time here, those who don’t know about it, its a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread.
From here our guide took us back to old tbilisi and drop us at Funicular – a place where an inclined funicular or cable car takes passengers uphill where few pocket-friendly to expensive restaurants are located. Other than food, it’s also one of the best spots to view Tbilisi in 360 degrees!
Day 3- Jeem Valley, Ananuri Castle, Gadauri and Panorama
This day we started our journey early again as we had many things lined up to explore. Our friendly guide took us to the jeem valley first,its a water stream surrounded with gigantic mountains and perfect for pictures and selfies.
Next stop was Ananuri,this fortress/castle situated on the foreland by the Aragvi River, not far from Zhinvali water reservoir and about 70 km from Tbilisi, Georgia.One of the ancient must visit site and you won’t help but to admire this historic place revealing many unfold stories through the ruins.Here in this fortress you will find two fortifications joined with curtain wall.The upper fortification with a square tower is well preserved where as the lower round one is mostly dilapidated.
On our way to Gadauri
Our third stop of the day was one of the beautiful places Gadauri,I got to see my first ever snowfall of life. We went for chairlift and it was entailing full of euphoric trip to the mountain of gadauri. I wanted to fill my lungs with clean and freshest air! Kid insides me was excited and jumping with joy with all this visual treat.
Our last stop of the day was Panorama near kezbegi. Its not a normal balcony its viewing deck to be awestruck with break-taking humongous Caucasus Mountains range. For a minute I forgot to take a breath it was so mesmerizing and unbelievable. Standing infront of a giant covered with snow mountains gives you a adrenaline rush. The balcony is adorned with murals depict history of Georgia. An amazing place which leaves you to praise the God’s creations.
We had our food from this restaurant on our way back to Tbilisi. Hilal food was available here but the bathroom condition was not good enough to use.
Day 4- Sighnagi
Sighnagi which is also known as City Of Love is located eastern most side on the steep mountain overlooks in the vast Alazani Valley in the historical region of Kakheti. Although its one of Georgia’s smallest towns but serves as a popular tourist destination due to its picturesque landscape, rustic houses and narrow cobblestone streets.
We decided to take sharing ride on taxi and made our way to the Sighnagi. Other way is to take buses to this city of love.
When we reach the place was heavily covered with dense clouds and it was no less than a visual treat and walk through the mist. The town has two central squares with banks, mayor’s office and a wedding house where one marry anytime of the day. You will find many cosy places, hotels and hostels to your taste, street cafes and restaurants.To get there it takes about two hours by road from the center of Tbilisi or an hour and a half from the airport.
These buses are economical way to reach there and the way lead to this beautiful way doesn’t let you get bored for a moment.
Day 5- Strolling again in old Tbilisi
We utilized our last day by visiting market near to station square, this place is not just economical but offers lots of variety of shoes,bags and clothes
We came back in the evening and strolled our way to Bridge of Peace and took aerial cable car to have a 360 panoramic night view of the old tbilisi from the hilltop, that connects Rike Park on the left bank of the Mtkvari river with Narikala Fortress. For only 2 Lari you can kill two birds with one stone – gaze at the fantastic 360-degree views of the city from the large windows of the car and have an easy ride to the top of the hill. The cable car accept metro cards too and we took advantage of it by using it. This is a must ride to get the clear aerial view of old Tbilisi.
We didn’t want to leave this place but good things never last for long and it was the time to pack our bags and sail back.
Georgian Food To Try
Being a Hilal eaters, we were conscious to try anything new over there but don’t forget to try Kachipura . This boat shaped bread is leavened and allowed to rise, and is shaped in various ways, usually with cheese in the middle and a crust which is ripped off and used to dip in the cheese. The filling contains cheese and eggs.
Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian candle-shaped candy. The main ingredients are grape must, nuts and flour. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnut and chocolate and sometimes raisins are threaded onto a string, dipped in thickened grape juice or fruit juices and dried in the shape of a sausage but I didn’t try being skeptical about grape juice (aged or fresh).
Tips from Engineer With Flair
- Try to explore the old Tbilisi on your own by walking on the streets
- You will get many agents to book a tour from them, if you have time try to do it on your own, will cost so cheap
- People don’t understand English well so its better to have internet excess for your own use or to make other person understand via pics or google translate
- If you want to order food, app name Menu is very useful
- Even this app helps to find Hilal food
- You will find many brands in cheap rates, so perfect for shopaholic
I hope my blog will help you to plan a smooth trip to Georgia. let me know if any other points you want me to add in my article and if in any way it helps you. Would love to hear from you guys. Keep Travelling 😉