2nd day in Tbilisi began with the Free Walking Tour. We learn 3 rules of surviving in Georgia:
- dont’t look dogs in the eyes – they won’t ever let you go and become yours forever (the dog petted by Michal on the airport)
- dont’t look beggars in the eyes – they won’t ever let you go until you give them money
- do look drivers in the eyes – if you want to cross the road – it’s obligatory even on the pedestrian crossing. Otherwise you will be ignored and stay on one side of the street forever
Our guide tries to teach us a few words in Georgian, but this language is simply irrememberable. And now, in a few pictures, I will try to show what Tbilisi has, what other capitals don’t.
Plenty of houses that seem to ought to be demolished at first glance, but are patched and supported enough to stand. And people live there. One thought comes to mind:
Tbilisi definitely won our hearts and on our list of favorite cities ranks very high (for me the second place, just behind Porto <3). A beautiful old town, a gorge, climatic houses (those crumbling too, and basically especially these), a lot of viewpoints with a panorama of the city, a bit of chaos. And food… On this day, we decided to go to Khinkali House – a restaurant recommended by our ‘peanut’ owner of the hostel. Along the way, we are caught by a cloudburst, then for some time we can’t find this place, but ultimately there it is! It’s on the main street. Not hidden at all 🙂 Khinkali House is a real kingdom of Georgian dumplings. The quantities that people order there are huge. We aren’t worse ordering khinkali, harcho (tomato soup with meat), and delicious wine. Again we pay the bill which is very low for the quantity and delicacy of food.
Georgian cuisine is very simple, but delicious. It consists mainly of cheese, bread, eggs (khachapuri in all varieties, cheburieki), tomato-meat stew (ostri, harczo) and wine. Warning! Coriander is added to most dishes. If someone is not a fan, may – like me at the beginning – try to pick it out from the food, which isn’t simple (or aesthetic), or – like me later – like her and eat everything with taste 🙂 After delicious dinner we go back to the hostel. Today we have to sleep, because the next day we have to wake up in the morning and fly to Mestia – a village in the Western Caucasus, which is a good starting point for hiking to the mountains and the glacier.
And here we start to hit the consecutive obstacles.
The first assumption – to sleep well – failed. My roommates returned in the middle of the night in a bubbly mood, making noise, turning on the light, giggling, the party went on. At 5:40 my alarm clock rings and I have the impression that it has been 5 minutes since the company calmed down… Well, it’s hard. At 6 o’clock we leave the hostel to arrive at 6.30 at McDonald’s, from where we are to take a minibus to the Natakhari airport (about 30 km from Tbilisi). Flying a small plane over the mountains is an attraction itself, moreover it will allow us to quickly move between two distant places. The Vanillasky company offers such attractions at an affordable price, along with transfer to the airport, not profiting from that would be a mistake. So, tirelessly, we get up at 5.40, still happy that the flight is at 8.30. We will get there early and do a lot on that day. We reach for McD and wait. We wait and wait. No sign of a bus or other passengers. The departure time passes, still nobody. We check the e-mail with the ticket again (we had to reminded the company that they would send it to us, they probably usually don’t do it). And what turns out? Bad news #1: On the ticket, the flight is at 10.30. And when I was buying tickets on the site it was written that at 8.30… Furious as f… we are go to the park, because there’s no point in returning to the hostel. We try to nap, but it ends with a half hour of freezing. We return to Mac at 8.30, which is two hours before the actual departure. There are already other passengers, we pack on the bus and go. The airport is tiny, but very charming.
We fit ourselves in the seats and wait. And then there comes bad news #2: there is bad weather at the airport in Mestia, we have to wait another 1.5 hours to see if the conditions would improve. If not, the flight will be canceled. After 1.5 hours there comes bad news #3. So we looked at the plane only from a distance and through the window of the airport room. The same bus brings people back to Tbilisi, but we get off on the highway road to the west of Georgia and we have to change our plans immediately. We will not get to Mestia by ground transport, it’s too far, our time in Georgia is running out, and we have just lost a good few hours on pointless waiting and we are still very sleepy. A disaster!
I will add, that at the airport it was claimed that we will receive a refund automatically. When after a few weeks neither of us got a refund, I wrote an email about this matter and it turned out that the return is not automatic, but you have to write to them. After all, after almost two months we received the money back…