Before leaving for this trip to the Caucasus region, the idea of Georgia and Tbilisi somehow scared me a tiny bit and I’d read a few horror stories of people who were robbed. I was so terrified that I’d loose all my pictures if someone stole my camera that I decided to bring along my pocket version rather than my larger SLR.
After arriving in Tbilisi I am so very frustrated that I didn’t bring the best of the best of cameras in order to capture this amazing capital. My trips around Georgia have only cemented this irritation with myself. Not only do I find myself completely at ease here with friendly and open-hearted people. I also think this might just be the most beautiful country I have ever visited. Everything from the lush green mountains of the Southern Caucasus to the romantic Orthodox churches. Add to this a very charming capital which brings to mind the atmosphere of a Southern French town. I absolutely adore Tbilisi.
I am lodging in a homestay which seems the only way to do it in Tbilisi. She has a massive flat where she rents out countless beds to hapless backpackers who have had the odd idea of exploring Georgia. This is definitely not a touristy country.
Most of my fellow backpackers however agree with me that Georgia is the most beautiful country they have ever seen. Only those who have been to Syria argue that Georgia only manages second place. But I guess I’ll have to see Syria in order to dispute that.
While in Georgia, I have taken three trips outside of Tbilisi. First a day trip to Mtskheta, then a few days in Kazbegi and finally a day trip to the monastery complex David Gareja. But in between I’ve had the fortune to wonder the streets of Tbilisi absorbing the atmosphere and meeting the charming Georgian culture.
I never really figured out Tbilisi since everything was in Georgian script, and though I attempted to reach different neighbourhoods each day I simply walked though the streets absorbing both the old and the new. Old wooden and ornamented houses with old Ladas in front. New modern buildings and modern sculptures.
My favourite part was reaching Sololaki Hill with the massive statue Kartlis Deda. As The Statue of Liberty or the Jesus statue keeping watch over Rio de Janeiro, Kartlis Deda stands 20 metres tall keeping watch over Tbilisi. Kartlis Deda is Mother Georgia and is a symbol of the Georgian people. She has a goblet of wine in one hand representing the Georgian hospitality and a sword in the other telling the world that she will fight if need be.
I am in love with Georgia and already hoping to return one day. I have been here a little more than a week, yet I feel as if I have only scratched the surface of this fascinating and absolutely stunning country.