I’ve already shared some odd pictures about Georgia. Today I’d like to share the whole trip with you. I went there in the beginning of this year. I’m so happy I discovered this amazing Caucasus country. Georgia is somehow not that popular among the non-Russian speaking travelers. I was asked by friends why I came up with ideas to visit Georgia. Here are a few reasons why I chose it.
- Budget airline Wizzair air offers some great connections between many Eastern European capitals, such as Warsaw, Sofia, Budapest, even Berlin, etc. to Kutaisi. As a relatively budget traveler, I found it amazing. I chose Warsaw and Istanbul as my stopovers, so I had an extra chance to see these two cities as well.
- Caucasus mountains seem quite attractive, I bet you must have seen Gergeti Trinity Church somewhere in Georgia’s travel page or travel guides, the church is used as cover picture for Georgia. Gergeti is not the only place to get an amazing view of Caucasus mountains, there’re many little village in the mountain such as Ushguli and Mestia.
- Georgian Food. I love Georgian food, a lot! I didn’t expect it to be so good to be honest. I barely know any Georgians in Belgium and I never saw any Georgian restaurant here either. But surprisingly, its cuisine has a great variety, the best BBQ, soups, stews, etc. Some of the dishes even remind me of Indian food.
- The hospitality. Maybe this should be the first reason. I was totally touched by Georgian hospitality. From the owner lady, Nona, to any random cafe owners in the street. I’ve traveled to quite a few countries. Georgians are among the most friendly people, together with the Colombians.
- Snowy winter. It’s summer right now. I don’t know if it’s about time to talk about winter, but Georgia winter is like a fairytale, with snowcoated everything. I was actually hesitating whether I should go there during the summer when everything turns green instead but in the end I never regretted having seen the Georgian winter.
Itinerary: Kutaisi -(train)- Tbilisi – Kazbegi/Stepantsminda – Tbilisi
At first I planned to go to Mestia to experice Caucasus mountains and have found a flight company that offers flight from Kutaisi to Mestia and Mestia to Tbilisi, but in the end it was difficult to arrange it in advance during the unstable snowy weather. If you go there in the summer or if I ever go back, I might give it a try.
Flight arrived at around 4 am in Kutaisi. When I arrived the guesthouse it was around 5am. It’s located somewhere in the hill, not far from the famous monastry in Kutaisi. Nona, the owner of the guesthouse welcomed me and asked what time I want breakfast. 30 minutes later, I was welcomed by a full Georgian style breakfast. It was plenty and everything was tasty. I didn’t really expect Nona to get up so early waiting preparing the breakfast for me.
After breakfast, I took a nap before going out to explore the city. In Georgia, snow is common in the winter, I walked in my snow claw in order not to fall down. The snow claws are super necessary for Georgian witer, I highly recommend you to bring them.
Kutaisi is not a very touristic city, yet I found it an amazing place to visit. During the winter time, there’s hardly any tourists in town. It was calm, transquille and super beautiful. I walked along the river and found a little restaurant.
I remembered once I had this Georgian classmate in the Dutch class and she could make amazing cakes. So I decided to step in to see if they got any desserts. I don’t speak any Russian nor Georgian, so I tried the only way I could to explain what I want, by showing the picture. The owner told me they ddin’t have any. But he told me not to leave, afterwards he called his son, 5 minutes later the son came back in his scooter, with the cake I was looking for. I was served with coffee. I felt a bit bad to make them buying it for me and it was not really a cafe. I love Georgians and their tasty cake.
On my way to the monastry, I found an interesting colorful dessert. I first thought it was something salty like sausage, but they are actually a kind of desserts, basically different nuts with grape flavored coating. I kinda liked it and I’m missing it right now while writing. I call them “the Original Snickers” even though I don’t think they actually are.
The guest house was close to the famous Bagrati Cathedral. The Cathedral is a masterpiece in the history of medieval Georgian architecture. This green top is newly added during the reconstruction. I love this shade of green as it matches with the cathedral especially in a snowy day, although manylocals think that it lost its original look.
The view from the cathedral was stunning, with background of the extended Caucasus mountains. I was absolutely amazed to see the breathtaking views of totally white Kutaisi city under the gigantic snow-coated Caucasus before me.
Some typical Georgian dishes, I expected it to be more of the BBQ and kebab-like dishes as the the dish above, but actually in Georgia, there are many stew dishes as well and they are super tasty, just as its famous BBQs. Also the anis flavor limonade was special.
More food and sights, to be continued…