HELLO, GEORGIA! (PART 2)

I’m late. Tardiness has become second nature to me these days. And yeah, yeah, I’m not proud of it, now don’t give me the look.

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Alright, back to Georgia. My second day started on a bad note. You know, I’ve become so prone to mood swings that it’s hard to predict whether I’m actually in a foul mood or it’s the hormones doing their job.

I sulked throughout our excursion at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the largest religious building in Georgia. It was a sight to behold. As we enter the gates, a large archway provides a scenic vista of the gorgeous structure of the church. The many steps that need to be climbed might seem like a downer but you would be so pulled by the allure of the erection that the steps would actually seem like a fun activity.

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The interiors were astonishing and the intricate paintings of murals left me wide-mouthed in awe. A few tourists lighted candles and offered prayers to God. We explored the surroundings for a few more minutes, admiring the multi-coloured flower garden, bell tower and a small pond.

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I was still deep down in the dumps by the time we exited the church. But an instant uplift showed up in the form of an adorable duo, monkey and macaw.

Ah, animals just make my day.

Then we took a funicular to the Mtatsminda mountain at an altitude of 729 meters above sea level. There we went on a short hike to see the statue of Kartlis Deda, also referred to as the Mother of a Georgian. On the way, we also tried out local outfits in which we looked like lost tribals.

Next, we climbed down hundreds of steps to get to Narikala, an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi. There wasn’t much to see and do as I was advised against climbing rocks. But I would highly recommend prospective tourists to climb the rocks and take in the breathtaking view of the city from the top.
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From there, we went to see the famous heritage site, Jvari monastery. Perched at the edge of the well, you can have a clear panoramic view of the vibrant city of Mtskheta. There we also realized how small the world is when we caught the filming of an Indian movie. It was probably a regional flick since we couldn’t recognize any of the actors. But excited tourists clicked pictures with them, giving them ample confidence boost.

The tour guide gave us an insight of what to expect the following day, which would be the last day of our trip.

When I heard the word paragliding, my heart sank to my feet in disappointment as I was advised against that too. For a second I thought, ‘What am I even doing here forgoing everything I love?’

The third day passed by swiftly. It was a long 4- hour drive to Gudauri, the famed ski resort. But there was no snow since it was summer, and hence no skiing.

But what we saw in Gudauri, we wouldn’t have been able to see when it’s covered with snow—the verdant valleys, hills dotted with many-hued cottages, chirping birds in the tree hollows.

As we went further along, we were able to see remnants of snow on the mountains. There were beautiful streaks of white running down each of the mountains as we passed them on our way up to Gudauri.

When we got down from the car, a cool gust of wind stabbed us like the sharpest knife and sent us running back into the vehicle scrambling for shawls and cardigans.

It was so cold that even fifteen minutes of picture-clicking seemed impossible. But the views were too awesome to let go. We tried our best to get some credible snaps and left the place huffing and puffing. As soon as I was inside, I noticed that my nose started running. So predictable. Slightest provocation, it starts running a marathon. From then on, I continued sneezing, blowing, sniffing . . . it got converted into a serious cold and that was the only bitter memory of our remarkable trip to Georgia.

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Now I can rest for a few months and let my husband breathe easy till the time comes (very soon hopefully) when I start chalking up another trip.

Toodle-oo!

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HELLO, GEORGIA! (PART 1)

Well, well, well, look who’s here with a shiny new souvenir.

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Yup. I am here with yet another travelogue. Surprise!!!

It’s nothing major. Just a short 3-day trip to Georgia. But the memories we gathered are sure to last longer.

So many of my friends and cousins have mistaken the country Georgia with the state Georgia in the United States that I felt bad for the small but stunning country.

Well, I’m certain that one day, its repute will spread and the scenic locales will put the country on the map.

So while we were at the airport, I couldn’t stop myself from jumping up and down in excitement, as if a spring had been attached to my feet.

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It was just a 3-hour flight from Doha. As soon as I settled down in my seat, I decided to play a movie so that I won’t feel the travel time.

Of course, movies don’t engage me. Of course, I got bored as hell. Of course, I felt if this trip was a mistake just because I was bored and couldn’t sleep smushed in between my co-passengers. Oh, the drama!

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Aerial view

When we landed and proceeded towards the exit, I was first and foremost caught by the beauty of the people. Their sharp features, flawless skin, captivating eyes, seemed like a sharp contrast to the covered faces in the Middle East.

We were hit by a gust of cool wind as we stepped outside. Again a contrast to the hot climate in Middle East, given that it’s summer.

After exchanging pleasantries with our tour guide, he drove us to the hotel. The roads were quite bumpy and reminded me of our village in India. After checking into our room, we agreed to wake up by six so as to have breakfast and begin our tour by ten.

The first day started with a bland breakfast. We Indians need the spices and salt and the absence of any one element would result in our tongues recoiling in distaste.

We had to make do with some plain bread and a thick omelette. We carried snacks in our handbags, wore hats on our heads, and sported bright beams on our faces, excited to begin our first day.

We were headed to the magnificent town of Sighnaghi, but not before stopping by a large winery en route.

First, when I entered it seemed like a wine shop where a vast array of wine bottles and flasks was put on display for nominal prices.

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But as we moved further, we were taken into what looked like a huge factory where the ambrosia is manufactured. Gigantic wine tanks surrounded us, and the temperature inside dropped by several degrees, making me shiver with cold as a result.

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The guide offered us plastic glasses and made us taste the fresh wine from each of the tanks. Here, I must add that it was a truly unlucky day for me as I couldn’t taste a single drop of wine (again, given the circumstances) but I did derive vicarious pleasure from seeing others do so. Oh, who am I kidding? I wanted to smash their glasses on the walls.

Anyway, so next, we arrived at Sighnaghi, which was a cute little borough with colourful buildings and people. Down the road, we could see most of the ladies dutifully knitting and crocheting vibrant articles of clothing so as to sell them to the swarming tourists.

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Tourists fascinated by my sari-clad mom-in-law

After a not so satisfying lunch (like I said, we need our spices), we made our way to the Bodbe Monastery, which was two kilometres from Sighnaghi. Girdled by clusters of Cypress trees, the pilgrimage site looked more or less like a miniature Hogwarts castle, minus the many spires.

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It also provided a picturesque sight of the vast Alazani Valley, best viewed from the beautiful flower garden a few steps beyond the structure.

 

After the exhausting walk back to our vehicle, we began our journey back to the hotel room, already anticipating the wonders waiting the next day.

And sure, it turned out to be better than the previous one.

But why don’t you guys wait till you find out next week? I promise I won’t make it longer than two parts. Haha!

And oh yes, there are animals this time around too. So stay tuned.