The road less traveled: Exploring Georgia

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Unconventional destinations can be truly memorable, especially a country like Georgia, that nestles between two continents and cultures.

Tired of the popular tourist trails? Then Georgia is the place for you. In the last one year I had read and heard a such good things about Georgia that it kept playing on my mind and tempted me to plan this trip.

Travel partner : This time it was my fun and adventure loving friend Dr Anjali Patil. We had been to Greece together earlier. She just allows me to plan everything and goes with the flow. (P.S. I love such people!)

My reasons to plan the trip in October 2018 :

  • Fall colors : Mainland India typically has 3 seasons and the joys of spring and autumn in its true sense can be missed when you have lived here all your life. I was fortunate to enjoy the marvelous cherry blossoms this year in Japan and consequently the fall colors of autumn had to be ” ticked off the list”.
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  • Mountains : ” The mountains are calling and I must go !!!” I have a passion for the peaks and the the mighty Caucasian mountains beckoned.
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  • Grape harvest : Did you know that Georgia boasts more than 500 varieties of indigenous grapes? The first week of October is towards the end of the harvest season, yet we were able to grab some juicy bunches and have a merry time in the vineyards.
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  • Tbilisoba : It’s one day when the people of Tbilisi and around are reveling on the streets, not to be missed. A  great festival to enjoy the local produce, music and all that is good in Georgia!
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  • Georgian Wine : I’m definitely the oenophile, if not a sommelier. So visiting the birthplace of wine was definitely a pilgrimage for me, especially to see the intriguing quevris. Saperavi is  my favourite now.

Georgian people: My friends in Dubai had told me how warm and friendly people here are and this entire holiday would not have been as amazing without our dear guide Ana.

  • Georgian food: The palate craves some unique flavors and we were certainly not dissapointed by all the khinkali, khachapuri and walnut based dishes we ate.
  • Georgian architecture : Typical old houses with wooden balconies that can just steal your heart. You will find them in every town, perfect pics for all those Insta posts!
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Need I say more ?

I’m sure most of you are already packing….

Getting there :  Fly Dubai, the Emirates low cost psrtner connects flights from all over the world to Tbilisi.

Visa : US, GCC, UK and many country visa holders and residents done need a visa. Indians who dont have any of these, need to apply in Delhi and it takes about 2 weeks to get it.

Our 7 day itinerary involved spending time around Tbilisi in the regions of  Kazbegi, Borjormi and Kakheti and 2 days in Tbilisi  One could visit these regions as day trips from Tbilisi too but for the sheer joy of waking up in the crisp country air and mixing with the local people in guest houses, we chose overnight stays.

DAY 1

Our flight arrived late afternoon and we were greeted by Ana, our guide and driver Alex at Tbilisi airport. Driving through Tbilisi city center, we were headed north to the mountainous region of Kazbegi towards the Russian border.

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We drove miles along the country roads, gradually ascending up the mountains. The first stop our speeding Prius took was to soak in the spell-binding landscape surrounding the azure waters of the Enguri river near the Jvari reservoir.

We rolled down our windows and breathed in the clean mountain air…now we were hungry too. Ana had some wonderful surprises in store for us throughout this trip. But I would say the first restaurant she had selected for our supper was the most spectacular!

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As dusk was setting in, we stopped at a quaint and homely place along a gurgling brook. We frolicked over the old wooden bridge to the other side, exploring the log huts. A specially prepared meal awaited us; warm juicy khinkhalis (dumplings) and crisply baked khachapuris (traditional Georgian cheese-filled bread) with tkemali (Georgian plum chutney). Our host brought us a huge platter barbecued food next …it was a feast for the kings, in the most heavenly location….The best way to start your holiday!

A peek in the kitchen to learn the culinary secrets, lots of chitter-chatter with our hosts (translated by Ana of course!) and after striking a pose against the artistic wall, we were zooming again in our car on the Russia-Georgia highway.

Bidding farewell to our warm hosts, we drove through the popular ski town of Gudauri to reach our Guesthouse Qubi in Kazbegi for our first night. Tired yet excited about how the next day would unfold…..in the next blog !

Madloba!

11 thoughts on “The road less traveled: Exploring Georgia

  1. Thanks for the lovely trip Reshma! It will remain as one of the most memorable holiday in my life (of course along with the other fantabulous trip we had together to Greece)! I shall never ever forget the wonderful time we had at the Harvest Festival, at Tbilisi, wearing crowns of flowers, walking around the beautiful gardens! And the sumptuous grilled food after that, listening to and sometimes dancing to the local music. The people of Georgia were the warmest people I’ve ever met. Excellent hosts, with large hearts and a happy laugh! Their love for Bollywood music was amazing! The moment they realised that we were Indians, they would (especially the local musicians) start singing “Chaliya mera naam…”, or even “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy…”.
    Georgia, though a small country has an ancient civilization and their own script. It was a unique experience visiting this country and I hope that we can make another trip sometime to meet all the lovely friends we made there!

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  2. I would love to visit the Caucasian mountains and Georgia. My grandma used to visit there quite often, and her stories of the kindness of locals has always made me keen to visit. Plus I LOVE Georgian food. I’d love to try the real thing.

    What did you think of the dumplings and cheesey bread?

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