Directly after 31C3, I flew to Tbilisi, to meetup with two former flatmates: Ela and Kai. Ela started on the same day from Basel and was like me never before In Georgia or Turkey. She plans to travel with my until mid january. Kai was many times before in Georgia, he even worked for some time as a german teacher at a school in Tblisi. Kai became a very good tourist guide in Tbilisi, as he knows the city, its history and the Georgian language very well.
Tbilisi was founded next to some hot springs which are still used in the bath houses today. Most houses in Tbilisi are relatively young, as it is located in an area with has lots of earth quakes. Despite buildings lasting not very long, it looks old. This is, because the materials needed for constructing houses are hard to aquire and old parts are reused and because the Georgian government likes to construct buildings which look old. Sometimes they only build up the front of crashed buildings, so it looks intact.
Georgia itself is inhibited by an own culture not connected deeply with its neighbours. It has its own language and alphabet. The alphabet is similar to the Latin alphabet, but looks different ("Tbilisi" in georgian alphabet is "თბილისი"). It features some extra 'ch' sounds and is missing a 'f' sound.
Most georgians we meet, were friendly, helpful and good drinkers :) When we got out visa at the airport, we got a free bottle of wine with it. It is said, that wine originates in Georgia. And of all different sorts of grapes you can find in the world, 90% can be found in Georgia. The most common wine is a black wine which is very strong and still a little bit sweet.
The pressed grapes are distilled into a strong liqueur called "Chacha", which can be bought for as less as 5 Lari a bottle (~2,2€) or for double the price in a restaurant (yes, still in bottles).
As Kai knows a lot of people in Tbilisi, we didn't had to search for a place to stay, we stayed at Hardys place for the first days until we went skiing in Gudari (next blog post) and afterwards at Nikolos, Nora and Marias place/Kai and Hardy old flat. Hardy is a traveller who got stuck for some time in Tbilisi, but still plans to continue his travels. After being in Tbilisi for some time, I can understand how this could happen.
Tbilisi has a really nice bar scene with lots of nice people frequenting many nicely decorated places (Favorites: Riffer Bar and Cannudos). Most bars are unterground (literally) and are open until about 4 in the morning. There's also a trend in converting flats into nice living room bars which are very cosystem and friendly places.
Most people we met, prefer to be awake late and are not known for being on time. Hardy explained it by calling the Georgian time zone, the "Georgian Maybe Time".
I was positively surprise by the selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes in Georgia. This originates in the Georgian tradition of fastening: Every friday and two timespans a year with each one month. Traditionally fastening in Georgia means living on a vegan diet.
Common Georgian dishe are filled bread with cheese ("Khachapuri") or mashed beans ("Lupiani"), cooked or fried dumplings filled with potatoes, mushrooms, cheese or meat ("Khinkali") and lots of grilled or cooked vegetable dishes with a tasty walnut paste.
My favorite Georgian spice is "Adjika", a spicy blend of chilli, salt and traces of magic unicorn tears.
For the hangover, or days without alcohol, Georgians prefer mineral water with a high amount of Natrium (my favorite: Borjomi), extremely sweet lemonade or beer.
Please don't forget to scroll through the images and to have a good time!