This country has been in our minds for some time. We listened to one and other friends, how beautiful it is, how much it is worth going there, how delicious the food is, and prices that are affordable. Is it really like this? Do Georgians, in fact, exceptionally avoid vowels? For the answers, we invite you to the following relation.
The cheapest option for getting to Georgia was a WizzAir flight (surprise, I know) from Katowice to Kutaisi and return from Kutaisi to Warsaw. Moderately rested after a Saturday wedding, on Sunday we get on a train to Katowice. On the spot, wanting to feel the holiday mood, we walk a bit and try the dishes of various cuisines from around the world: a cheap Chinese food and a kebab. Then we spend 1.5 hours in two city buses, which got us to the airport „in Katowice”. The flight is at 22:00 Polish time and landing at 3:40 local time. At WizzAir, we try to comress ourselves, so that we can have a moment of rest in relative comfort. Another surprise – futile efforts. Fortunately, the airport in Kutaisi turns out to be our absolute, unrivaled favorite when it comes to sleeping. See for yourself:
There is one big seat instead of rows of chairs separated by handrails, and behind the seat there is artificial grass on which you can comfortably lay and sleep with a view on the stars. An additional advantage is that the airport is very small, the traffic is low and there are few messages through loudspeakers. We sleep almost to 8, when we get up to catch the first ride to Gori. On the way to a convenient hitchhiking spot, a dog gets hooked on us, and there is no way to scare him away. He plays with us in ‚Red light, green light’ – when we turn back around he pretends that he is standing still and he isn’t following us, but somehow the distance between us is constant. Regarding dogs, beggars and cars, we got a valuable tip in Tbilisi, it’s a shame that it was basically at the end of the trip. Doggo leaves us (or rather we do) only when we get in a stopped car (and a bit to walk we had).
Our drivers toss us almost to Gori itself. Already in the first car we get a foretaste of communication gymnastics that awaits us on this trip. Scratching our brains, we try to remind some Russian words heard 4 years ago on the Crimea Peninsular (then Ukrainian, now Russian), or in my case from my mother. In such moments, however, everything that is at least useful comes to mind, meaning – in our case – a lot of words and phrases in Spanish. Fortunately, Polish and Russian are quite similar and, by supporting with universal international gesture language, we somehow manage to communicate. Another thing that quickly catches my eye (or rather in my ears) is the diversity of music that Georgians listen to in cars. I noticed it with the first driver, but also with many others in the following days of the trip. Everyone is listening absolutely to everything. Traditional Georgian music is intertwined with Russian rap, dubstep remixes, rock hits or pop music, which is currently on the „top”. It can be said, that musically they are very open :-)
Gori itself is not particularly worth attention. Well, unless someone likes exchange offices (they are on every corner) or is a fan of comrade Stalin, because that’s where he was born and the town cultivates memory after him. The main street and square are named after him, you can visit the house in which he grew up and his museum. Somehow we didn’t go there. Why, then, why go to Gori? Let me show you:
Uplistsikhe is a rock town located about 15 km from Gori. The history goes back to the 4th century BC, when it was the most important civilizational and religious center of eastern Georgia, as well as the capital of the rulers of that time. Over the years it has lost some of its importance, also war, plunder and an earthquake hit this place. Today’s Uplistsikhe is the result of excavations from the 1950s. You can easily get there by hitchhiking or marshrutka at a crazy price of 1 GEL.
Being in Gori, we try Georgian cuisine for the first time. We eat ostri – meat in tomato sauce, and khinkali – Georgian dumplings shaped like onions. They can be stuffed with meat or various cheeses and sauce. Everything is super delicious, and for food for two people and 2 beers in a restaurant, which at first we didn’t want to look in (it looked too expensive), we pay about PLN 30. Smooth! Unfortunately we don’t have food photos. Somehow we have the habit of eating it when it is hot and fragrant, and not photographing. But Uncle Google will definitely help if anyone wonders what it looks like.
In Gori, apart from the exchange offices and Stalin, there is also a pretty cool fortress on the hill. It is worth to climb and take a look at the city. We filled our bellies and, after a glance from the top, returned to the hostel to sleep after the journey. Plan for tomorrow – Stepancminda, a village at the foot of Kazbek – Caucasian five-thousander.