A couple of weeks ago, I had a few days to spare. So, after seeing lots of Facebook status updates saying how lovely Georgia was, I decided to jump on a plane and see what all the fuss was about. Friends- mostly in the UK would say ‘Georgia in America?!’ They obviously need to brush up on their geography skills ;-)
But, to be fair, It seems there has been a big tourism push in Dubai to visit this small and ancient country which rumours of it’s beauty hasn’t yet hit the UK so I’ll let them off, plus Georgia is much closer to the UAE. But what I would say is, do get in there quick before the Brits (and everyone else) get a sniff of the place and run wild.
The facts: Georgia is a small country (population of 4.4 million) situated between Europe and Asia. Bordering countries are Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is a former Soviet republic that’s home to Caucasus Mountain villages and Black Sea beaches. It’s famous for Vardzia- a sprawling cave monastery dating back to the 12th century, and the ancient wine-growing region Kakheti. The Capital, Tbilisi, is known for the diverse architecture and cobblestone streets throughout the old town.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with Georgia. Lovely wines, the freshest of vegetables, clean, cooler air (for when you need to escape from the furnace) and the dumplings…Ooof, they were good!
Being a single female traveller, sometimes I felt a little intimidated as some of the Georgians weren’t overly friendly. Maybe they’re just not used to travellers and tourists yet. But, if you get the chance to get to know a local, you’re in for a treat. They are extremely hospitable and lovely - Khatuna I’m talking about you! :-)
What to do:
* Did i say dumplings?!
*Wonder down Errekle Street. Quite touristy but pleasant.
*Visit the sulphur baths and get a scrub down!
*Take a cable car up to see the views overlooking Tbilisi.
*Ride the funicular and have lunch in the beautiful restaurant at the top. If you have kids, entertain them on the fairground rides.
*Grab yourself a bargain at the flea market at Dry bridge.
*Visit the food market near the stadium.
Restaurants/bars I visited:
Leghvi (close the the sulphur baths)
Organique Josper bar
Rooms hotel bar
I loved the sights, sounds and smells of this unspoilt corner of the world. I now totally understand why its fast becoming a popular destination for a quick holiday break. My top tip - go now before the rest of the world finds out about this little diamond.
I stayed at the super cool Rooms Hotel (www.roomshotels.com) and flew direct from Dubai with Fly Dubai at AED 1400 and took just over 3 hours to get there.