I never thought about Georgia as a possible travel destination until a friend of mine described the kindness and openness of its inhabitants, the wonderful and tasty food and wine – and the beauty of the countryside.
Curious as I am of all the corners of the world, I started reading some articles; little by little I was captivated by the tales of the past, starting from the important archaeological remains to the troubled and recent war with Russia in 2008.
Multi cultural and multi ethnic, a melting pot of languages, religions and traditions, Georgia has a diverse territory as well.
Crossed by the Caucasus military road – used in the past by Greeks and Romans until the present days- this route has helped to develop commercial links and has been described by authors like Pushkin and Tolstoy. It has given birth to famous citizens like Shevardnadze and Mayakovski, and infamous ones like Stalin. Biodiversity is found in different ecosystems and endemic species populate the many Natural Parks created in the country. Eager to enter the EU, Georgia allow citizens from Europe to enter the country for one year without a Visa. Rich in natural resources (minerals and water) it has started several economic investments and partnership with different countries.
More than ever here the famous quote by Rudyard Kipling is so appropriate:
Marina, firstname.lastname@example.org , a local lady, helped me to arrange an independent itinerary of six days:
day 1 – Tbilisi
day 2 – Jvari Monastery, Mtskheta, Gori and Stalin Museum, Uplistsikhe
day 3 – Caucasus mountains, Kazbegi, Gergeti
day 4 – Tbilisi Wine Festival and tour of town
day 5 – Khornabuji Castle, Vashlovani National Park
day 6 – wine cellars and wine tasting, Ilia Lake, Telavi
Hotel in Tbilisi: Old Metekhi, over the Mikvari River in the old town www.ometekhi.com. Dine at the Restaurant at the top of the funicular www.funicular.ge or “Tsiskvili” in Tiblisi
Try to go during Wine Festival and/or visit Schuchmann Estate www.schuchmann-wines.com. In Kazbegi stay or lunch at Kazbegi Hotel. Lovely views over the mountains.
Arrange a tour in Vashlovani National Park and sleep in the bungalows. Contact the Protected Area Administration www.apa.ge
Go to Ilia Lake near Telavi and dine in the Castle above.