Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Georgia on my mind: Tbilisi

Right, back to Georgia. Walked back over that same bridge, very chill border.

First thing a guy approached us asking if we wanted a taxi to Tbilisi (less than 1 hour away). Nah, we told him, we'd take the mini-bus, it'd be cheaper. He offered the ride for "4" lari, which is 2 euros. We hopped on it and enjoyed the quick ride to the capital. Got there and handed him a fiver - no dice, he "meant 40".  While 4 was certainly way too cheap, 40 was through the roof expensive. We tried to explain "you said 4....1,2,3,4" but to no avail, he just kept making hand motions and implying 40 was in fact what he expected for the ride. While Ritchie fought with him I set my bag just behind the taxi and sat on it, making it so he'd have to run me over if he wanted to leave. 20 euros for a taxi ride in no way fits into my backpacker budget. I was ready to camp out there all night if need be to get to that 4 lari he quoted us, but we eventually all came to the agreement to meet in the middle at 20 lari. He was pissed, but that's what happens sometimes when things get lost in translation.

Decided on the spot to try a place called "Why Not?" Hostel, and despite the daft name, the place was actually quite cool. 10 euros a night including breakfast, nice common area and a very spacious dorm that felt like a huge attic. 

Took to wandering around Tbilisi toward Old Town - we both agreed that Tbilisi is utterly livable and would be a perfect place to spend a summer. The buildings are a mix of old and new, although the new still have such character and charm about them. There's a very educated and artistic feel to the city and it's people, a general amiable ambiance seems to follow you everywhere. Loads of cafes and little restaurants, and the food proved to be top-notch, lots of veggies, spices (but not spicy), garlic, nuts and pomegranates. Delicious! Also, eastern Georgia is the oldest wine producing country in the world, so you can find home made wine everywhere - from boutique wine shops all over the city, to the little road side stalls selling wine out of a recycled liter bottle to huge 5 liter water containers holding the sweet, sweet drink of the gods. All the ingredients for a great city!

Shavteli Street

The funky clock tower attached to the puppeteer theater

The ultra modern Peace Bridge

Old Town

Holy Trinity Cathedral (Sameba)

View from our dorm room

badrijani nigzvit - eggplant with a walnut & garlic paste topped with pomegranate. YUM!

Rustaveli street market

vegetable ragout - so many nice spices...delectable 

Van for sale as is, score!

The exotic 'trash tree', spotted randomly throughout the city

Roman baths...since Ritch got told "pull up your pants" about a dozen times by strangers, maybe he's finally listening...

Good to know

Lots of inviting little streets like this

A vegetarian is never short on good options in Georgia

Lamb, sweet onions, spices and pomegranate 

What you get after consuming too much Georgian booze.

We took a couple of small trips from Tbilisi as well, and finally ended our 2 weeks of travel together there before parting ways. The city really is a brilliant mix of old and new, a "Eurasian" country who seems to be gunning for admittance to the EU. Inspiring you to want to sit in a cafe and and embrace your intellectual side, while at the same time encouraging you to gather some friends and have a few drinks over outstanding traditional food. Can't ask for more from a city, in my opinion. 

 But one thing first.... D-Day. Ol' dreadlock cutting day. Literally though, old. 11 years with these bad boys. Ritchie warmed his Edward Scissor hands up and did some practice karate chops while I mentally prepared (drank a small bottle of cognac) myself for what was about to go down.

Last ever picture with dreads, October 20th 2012.

Hand a nice little bathroom hair cutting session with some good folks and some good music and plenty of drinks

Our classic bar, Bude. Kind of a dive, but you can order vodka by the liter for something ridiculously cheap like 5 bucks. Ritchie and Sam (England).

Able to wear a hat properly for the first time in 11 years.

Feeling the wind against your head for the first time in a decade is an unbelievable thing! :)

Cable car ride up the hill

Epic two weeks in Armenia and Georgia.... we learned a few things...

A few things from the bible as well

We parted ways once more, 2 heathen world traveling bums destined to have more adventures in the future. As I headed back to Yerevan to pick up my India visa, I shed a tear at the metro station while saying goodbye and got told something like "Don't be another crying bald chick wandering around Armenia for an Indian visa." Cheeky.

“I AM IGNORANT of absolute truth. But I am humble before my ignorance and therein lies my honor and my reward.” – Kahlil Gibran


Flat Foot Flewzy said...

You are such a traveling rock star! I love reading all your adventures! Miss you smiley face...thought of you this week because we are getting STL panic tix this weekend for two nights in April.....have fun Nic and be careful out there:) Love you hair look amaze-balls!!!!!

Nicole Boyer said...

Thank you!!! Miss you lots sista.... boogie a little extra for me, will ya? ;)

Henry Buell said...

This is great stuff. Thanks for taking the time to put it up there. We're looking at Georgia, and some of you're pics have made great impressions.

H, Nikki, and the boys (Henry, Sam, and David).

Henry Buell said...

Some of 'your' pics. Sheesh. Got to love the sketchy auto correct! ;)

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