The city of Tbilisi accepted me with a pleasant chilly breeze and a welcoming host. He dropped me at his apartment to explore the Georgian Wines, Khachapuris and Khinkalis in the backdrop of Caucasian mountains, the calm Kura River, cobbled streets of the Old town and the churches that have lived through several destruction's and reconstructions.
A relaxed city that lets you soak in everything at your own pace describes Tbilisi aptly. As legend says, the place was discovered accidentally and because of the sulphur springs the erstwhile ruler decided to make it his abode. The baths have now mushroomed together in mosaic facades and brick lined structures on the streets of Abanotubani. Walk through the streets and the peculiar odour may tempt you to take a dip.
The charm of the city can be lived by sitting in one of the Marshrutkas, transversing the new town and the old. Walk the Rustaveli Avenue and end up spending your entire day either at one of the theaters, operas or museums if you appreciate art forms or doing some holiday shopping.
The place is easy on the pocket to the extent that some things back home felt expensive. Hotels should best be avoided, instead I opted the local way and found an apartment at Airbnb. It was in a run-down building nevertheless well maintained and located close to the Freedom Square, which made it easier to explore the suggested places on foot.
Orthodox Christianity is practiced extensively and customs play an important role, an elaborate toasting ritual is a testimony to it. Get invited to a Georgian feast and you will find an all new way of celebrating life. Conversely, the night life in the city is restricted to a few bars and some strip clubs and will take some time at least before it become the reason to visit.
Most Georgian postcards are adorned with the captivating image of the Gregeti Trinity Church, consequently no trip to Georgia is complete without a visit to it. It is an iconic structure set amidst lush greenery and an imposing Mount Kazbeg in the background. The journey takes you to the famous military highway and old town of Mtshketa which are popular tourist attractions.
Remnants of the soviet era remain despite efforts of the locals to disassociate themselves. The fusion of the previous regime with eagerness to merge with the western world is evident and the influence percolates to the neighboring country of Armenia too.