A Khachapuri at large

A weekend in the delightful Georgian capital among ancient Orthodox churches, Soviet flea markets and its melancholy beauty

The first time we set foot in Tbilisi it was a few years ago when I was five months pregnant with Nora.

We return because the memory was really pleasant and I have to tell the truth that this time it was even more beautiful. If you want to learn more, you can take a look at ours travel narrative around all of Georgia!

The capital of Georgia manages to be a city for young people while maintaining its tradition.
In recent years they have known how to awaken corners that had been neglected. The open-air venues, the little restaurants under the pergolas in bloom. Walking through the streets of the historic centre, one stops in the small shops that sell jars of honey and the typical elongated candies (churchkela) made of dried fruit and which you cannot fail to taste because they will be offered to you in all sauces.

No visa is needed to visit this small country and it will be a must for anyone who wants to explore all three Caucasus nations in a single trip because entry into Armenia is not allowed byAzerbaijian and vice versa, consequently it will be necessary to "use" the Georgia as a necessary "corridor".

Once in Tbilisi we take possession of our wonderful room at The House Hotel Old Tbilisi which I highly recommend both for the location (a stone's throw from the leaning clock) and for the breakfast, simply crazy! The spotless and spacious rooms overlook an elegant and traditional courtyard where, on fine days, you can also enjoy it with a nice glass of Georgian wine (famous all over the world).

But now let's go and discover this still little-known city.
Early in the morning we headed towards a place that I had in my heart and that I wanted to see again: the flea market (Flea Market Dry Bridge) just under the Saarbrucken bridge; here you will find everything for fans of the genre, the people are wonderful, I don't know how many little things they gave to the children. There are memorabilia from the former Soviet Union, stamps, paintings, porcelain, rubles, buffalo horns for drinking wine in the Georgian fashion. Like every trip, I bought a souvenir ring for 3 euros!
From there you can easily reach Rustaveli, the main artery of the city, where you will find cafes and wine bars. The curiosity of this street is that a small saying is drawn on each street number.

In Tbilisi it is very convenient to take the metro to move from north to south. 60 meters deep in typical Soviet style, it is also fun for children.
The cost of the ticket (0.35 cents). From the Rustaveli stop in 10 minutes we are at the Avlabari stop.
From there, another 10 minute walk takes you to the church of Meteki, one of the symbols of the city which rises above a rocky promontory as if to protect all citizens and is close to the sulfur baths, ideal for a traditional bath in the famous sulfur baths.

We saw the traditional domes of the baths and then in 5 minutes behind a bridge overloaded with padlocks of lovers we arrived at a small waterfall. It is nothing unmissable but it is certainly a particular thing since it is located in the middle of the city.

Always nearby and, since we travel with children, do not miss the opportunity to pop into the Museum of Illusion. There are really a lot of games to play and situations to experience, the children will surely have fun and not just them!
Because when the little ones accompany us on a trip, it is a must to think of things to do for and with them, also to thank them for all the steps they take to keep up with us.

Returning to the hotel we stop just in time to watch the clock tower show. (Shows at 12 and 19) the little puppets come out of the tower and go around building a very suggestive story that summarizes the arc of life. However, remember that at all hours a little angel comes out and rings the bells with a small hammer. This picturesque tower is one of the most emblematic but also the most recent buildings of ancient Tbilisi.

It's time to eat something! Here's a restaurant that's right for us, plenty of space for children to run around and live traditional music. We tasted the delicious khachapuri, a stuffed focaccia, made with flour and yogurt or kefir, with cheese and eggs inside. Then we think of the famous khinkali, pasta rolls filled with different types of minced meat and spices or cheese, often seasoned with black pepper on the surface. In the Caucasus in general, cheese lovers will have a wedding!

On the second day, after crossing the Ponte della Pace, an elegant steel and glass walkway designed by the Italian architect Michele De Lucchi, we take the cable car (operating with a card that can also be purchased on site for 1 euro) at the Rike park and go up up to the Narikala Fortress where we observe closely the imposing statue of Kartlis Deda or mother Georgia who holds a goblet of wine in one hand (symbol of the hospitality of this people) and in the other a sword (which depicts the ruthlessness of the Georgians against the enemies).

After enjoying the view from above, we decide to go to the deserters' market (15 minutes by metro) where we find delicious fruit, spices and sweets. This is surely the right place if you want to taste the famous typical Georgian churchkela.

In a few stops we return to the Avlabari stop. With a small climb we find ourselves in front of a real wonder: The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, commonly known as Sameba, this is the main Orthodox cathedral of Tbilisi, built between 1995 and 2004, the cathedral is the third tallest Orthodox church in the world.

On the way back we slip into an oven, I won't tell you the scent that was there... if you can: enter these places also because you can see live the characteristic ovens they use but above all how they manage to "stick the bread to its deep walls".

We end the afternoon at the Rike park just as the sun sets, here the children play and we have a relaxing cup of tea.

Tbilisi is definitely one of those cities where you can spend a few days.
We suggest it, on a human scale, full of beautiful people, colors and scents.

You won't regret it but now we're going backpacking…
Tomorrow we leave by land to reach theArmenia!

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