A short flight from Baku to Tbilisi today, no sooner had some pastry been handed out to me on the flight, that we were soon descending into Tbilisi. I was in the country of Georgia, the safer of the two Georgias in the world, the other being a southern state of the USA, most of whom own guns and don’t like people who are not white. OK maybe I’m stereotyping a little here, but I’m not far from the mark.
I was one of the first off the plane and found my driver Emil, who whisked me into the city via a series of winding single lane roads. It was a stark difference to the 8 lane freeway in oil-rich Baku. Baku was nice and Tbilisi has character and charm, one might even lavish a title like the Canberra of the Caucasus, except only people from Canberra would get that. Indeed I’m staying at the Canyon hotel, whose balconies hang over the edge of a small canyon.
I had a quick meal of beer, Chicken Shashlik with pomegranate sauce and Georgian bread for dinner and went to bed knowing my traveling sidekick Claire would turn up at some ungodly hour of the night. I had done the gentlemanly thing and confirmed she too would be picked up at the airport and fortunately when I awoke, she had snuck into the room successfully. Well, my definition of success was not waking me up 🙂 The floorboards, however, are a bit creaky and other people in the hotel did that instead.
After a late breakfast, we wandered Tbilisi, mostly to find an ATM for Claire, which should not have been as difficult as it turned out to be. In the end, I also withdrew more money because of how sparse the ATMs are. Although it does appear that in the newer business district there are plenty of ATMs on Google maps. The weather was a bit overcast so we visited the Museum of Georgia, which had a fantastic exhibit of gold and jewelry found in the country going back millennia. they have such a rich archaeological history here and as we also know the likely birthplace of wine.
After we explored the museum we sat down for a bit of lunch. We both ordered Khachapuri or Georgian Cheese bread. Ours came with an egg and butter on top and it was filled with a cheese called sulguni. I struggled to finish the dish it was so tasty and so filling. It won’t be the last Khachapuri I have.
The afternoon was spent finding a driver to take us to a place tomorrow and a quest to get laundry done seemed far more difficult than it should have been. We managed to fit in a walk in the canyon below us to the waterfall, I helped Claire add a fridge magnet to her collection and we discovered a tunnel under the road that had a most unpleasant odour. We finished off the day with a great meal of Georgian dumplings and Georgian claypots, mine with pork and Claires had mushrooms. Tomorrow we are off to visit a place called Davit Gareja.
Ah, khachapuris – yum!