Holidaying in Tbilsi, Georgia

I have always loved the summer, and it would be fair to say that I would prefer 50 degrees of sveltering heat to 5 degrees of, what some people call, pleasant cold. As I grow older, I still prefer 50 to the 5. So when we thought of where to travel to in December, I quickly said Egypt without much thought. I knew Egypt (especially the coastal city of Sharm El Sheikh) would be nice and warm. But as luck would have it, my Kuwait residency had less than 6 months validity remaining, and hence, we could not apply for the Egypt visa - which was a huge bummer - becasue Egypt could really do with some tourism inflow.

Anyways, with maturity (not) I put aside my dream of diving in the Red sea, for now, and looked at other places. We were already late as it was mid November and we could only have managed a Visa on Arrival now. We then looked up Georgia, which I did not know much about. I was quite skeptical - the average temperature in December was 0 degrees much to my dislike.

But remember, someone famous once said - 'Do something new every once in a while and conquer your fear'. So with a lot of courage, and winter clothes aplenty, we took our flight from Dubai to Tbilsi. Flydubai has introduced affordable and convenient flights, and the flight was really nice. No freebies, but it was only a 3 - 4 hour flight.


When you travel to Thailand, or Bali, you've seen plenty of photos and you know what to expect. But with Georgia, I had no clue. We walked out of the Shota Rustaveli Tbilsi International airport, and almost froze. Literally. It was so cold, that my nose sheepishly turned crimson (I am not kidding).

What was my first impression of this capital city ?

Well, to be honest, Tbilsi is beautiful. Very beautiful. When we drove towards our Airbnb accomodation in the old city, I could not stop smiling. We were going to spend a whole week here. Tbilsi is the biggest city in Georgia, and right through the middle of the city flows the Kura river. Tourism is only just developing, which in a sense means that the people of Tbilsi are still new to receiving strangers to their city. The country is located to the north east of Turkey, to the south of Russia and to the west of both Armenia and Azerbaijan. As a result, apart from the local Georgians, you'll find several Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Turks and Iranis inhabiting this city. The main road - called Rustaveli - is lined with trees on both sides, adding to the already gorgeous palette of the city. Buildings are rustic in the older parts, and modern in the newer parts. As you drive around and go further from the main city, you'll find lots of remnants of the Soviet era - where most residential buildings are identical to each other, billboards are in Russian and where time seems to have frozen.

Back to Tbilsi. We did a couple of touristy and not so touristy things. And if you've ever felt like there's so much we don't know about nor have seen, you'll feel it more so in this city. The country saw war as recently as 2008 - during the conflict with Russia.

Some photos that capture the beauty of Tbilsi in December.

Public transport - bright yellow buses.

Romantic architecture.

I loved each and every building in Georgia, the symmetry, windows, the design and architecture are all drool worthy. There is a certain beauty in every corner of the city.

There are a number of amazing bakeries with fresh bread, desserts, coffee and locally produced wine.

The Peace bridge over the Kura river - one of the landmarks of the city.

Focussing - it was freezing. This was taken near Chardin street, the most visited place by tourists.

Vake - preparing for Christmas.

Pure unadulterated joy.

View from the cable car.

Soviet style architecture. Regards, USSR.

The holy trinity cathedral - 1055 metres high.

The local fruit called Khurma. It was sweet, squishy and delicious.
Trivia about Tbilsi -
- Most of the elderly population speak Russian, the younger folks speak English too
- The currency is called Georgian Lari (GEL). 100 Tetri = 1 Lari
- You get excellent Wine for as cheap as 5 US dollars (15 GEL)
- Just a couple of hours drive from Tbilsi and you can see the magnificient Caucassian mountains
- Bread is a staple food - and Kachaburi, is a must try
- The winters are harsh - it snows in Tbilsi - and some parts of Georgia are under a pile of snow
- Tbilsi is actually the new capital of Georgia, the older capital is called Mktsheta
- Georgia and Russia have strained ties, however, Russians loved Georgians and find themselves in Tbilsi often
- Flydubai has cheap flights from Dubai, and if you have a valid residency in the GCC countries, it is Visa on Arrival

While I write more about Georgia, I wanted to wish all my readers a Happy New Years !! I hope each of you turn a new page and as Sir Richard Branson recently said, 'Write it down'. Don't let great ideas go waste. And remember to travel2learn.


2 comments

  1. Happy New year Shruti! Tbilsi is so gorgeous! Loved going through your captures and now we are waiting to read more about your Georgia trip!

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    Replies
    1. Happy new year guys ! Am working on the next post :) Tbilsi is indeed very beautiful.

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