It was an early start to the day, our flight touched down in Tblisi at 4:50am. Passport control was somewhat frustrating, the lady kept asking me why I look different to my passport photo. This was not the right time to try my patience but I had to smile and play the obliging tourist at the mercy of an immigration officer. Well considering that the picture was taken almost 9 years ago, I think a little change would be warranted. I mean really people come on. Save me the drama. I breathed a sigh of relief as she gave me the nod. I may have sighed too soon because no sooner had we reached the customs post, did the lady stop me and my fiancé because I was carrying a South African passport. Are you kidding me? Apparently Africans are a rare species in these parts LOL so they were probably thrown off and didn’t know what to do. I won’t bore you with the details but that experience irritated me immensely and I may have spewed out a few cuss words- that’s a story for another day. This is not how a trip is meant to start, can we rewind please? I made a resolution not to let that messy start not taint the rest of my trip. Whooosah!
We arrived at the hotel at 6am, the city was asleep and very still. The ride from the airport was a quick one due to the lightning bolt speed the taxi driver was driving. I don’t know where he was rushing to but I had my seat belt firmly in place. We reached the Laerton hotel, our home for the next 5 days and I loved it.
You can read about it here
We checked in and darted straight to the room to catch up on some much needed rest, I honestly don’t think sleeping on the plane counts, I don’t know about you but I always wake up more tired and beat. We dozed off slept for about 3 hours and went to replenish our famished bodies at the buffet breakfast that was being served alfresco.
I loved breakfast here because of the lovely views and excellent food of course. We freshened up and by 12:45 pm we were set to explore the city for the walking tour organized by the Sightseeing company. The great thing about the tours is that if you are a “wing it” spontaneous type of person with no plan, you can show up at their office and book a tour on the spot, it really takes the hassle out of planning. The tours start just across the I love Tbilisi sign in the heart of the city.
Our walking tour started off at Metekhi Church with its regal statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali perched on an elevated cliff overlooking the river and the Narikala Fortress.
Due to our extreme laziness, we then took the cable cart up to the Fortress. The cable cars run throughout the day from 12pm to 12am and are really cheap about 5 Lari, the only compliant I have is that you blink and the ride is over.
I mean can I please get a few more minutes to take in all these surrounds? The cart view offers 360 degree views of the city and is truly breathtaking.see video here
We got up to the Fortress which offered breathtaking city views with colorful rooftops and lush greenery.
We walked a few meters to a towering Kartlis Deda (Mother Georgia) statue. The statue can be seen from anywhere in Tblisi. The statue is of Mother Georgia’s and symbolic of her protection over the city. In her one hand she brandishes a sword to protect her city from enemies and in the other, a bowl of wine to welcome friends, I found the symbolism beautiful.
The Narikala fortress is found a few metres from Mother of Georgia, we decided to walk down to see the old town, where jovial pastel colored houses on narrow cobbled roads lay before us in quaint serenity.
We took a detour and decided on catching a glimpse of the Leghvtakhevi waterfall since we were close by. Lines of people awaited their turn to take a dip in the inviting water, I secretly wished I had brought my swimming costume to join the revelry.
We walked back down into the old city center and passed by the Sulphur baths which I had earmarked for later. The baths are similar to hamams and apparently have healing properties.
We walked along little cute souvenir shops which had traditional nick naks.
We walked a little further and found ourselves close to Shardini Street filled with restaurants. This place has a very vibrant night life.
The Cathedral of Sioni was awe inspiring and peaceful.
We also saw the Puppet Theatre however we arrived a few minutes too late and missed the last show.We walked back through freedom square through the glass bridge of peace to the serene park offering free wi-fi. I found this very progressive of Georia well done. The Funicular is also something to see, constructed in 1905, this tram offers spectacular views from the top and only cost 10 Lari for a return trip.
You also find the restaurant complex with great dining options such as Chela which serves traditional Georgian, Puri Guliani, delicious baked goods and desserts and the Bar-Lounge.check it out here
See my foodie video here.here
The entrance to the amusement park Mtatsminda is also located as you exit the Funicular. I honestly didn’t like the amusement park for the rides, they looked ancient and as if they could break any time lol but the city views were magnificent.
Rustaveli Avenue with its Parisian ambience is lined with cafes, restaurants, museums, high fashion outlets and theatres and the opera house.
I loved walking down this street and taking in all the culture, I loved seeing the artists painting on the streets, the beautiful display of art and jewelry.
There are a lot of recreational things to do so make sure you check it out. The one thing I was disappointed about is that, the opera tours were in Georgian with no English translations available.
Tbilisi is a city filled with a dearth of history, culture and delicious cuisine. If you want to have a relaxed trip, this is definitely it, everything is cheap and the people are so lovely, contrary to my drama on the first day. Its also very beautifully scenic.
I really recommend the walking tour it’s excellent in discovering Tbilisi We had an amazing tour guide who had a good grasp of English. I love history so getting historical information from someone who is articulate is paramount. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a knowledgeable guide. Tbilisi is great because it’s so small and you can do the major sites in a day. It’s quite tiring too so just ensure you have comfortable shoes. The people are pretty friendly and you getting around by cab is super easy and cheap too. Taxis are relatively easy to find and I found that these taxi drivers, with the exception of one driver were not exorbitant or try to take us for a ride literally.
We went on three day trips which I will be posting up in a bit. Stay tuned.
Happy Wanderlusting 🙂