Discover Georgia – Part One

Bodbe Monastery at Kakheti region
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From beautiful architectures to picturesque mountains and delicious cuisine, Georgia is the place to visit

Many think of Georgia as in the one in USA, but little do people know that it’s a country of its own. Set in the Caucasus region of Eurasia and located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, Georgia is a lesser threaded path but slowly this perception is changing.
Compared to other familiar European countries, Georgia offers everything you need to explore and dine at almost half the price of other EU countries. Friendly on the pocket; it’s time to give this place some serious thought as your next vacation destination.

We flew into Tbilisi, its capital for a 5 days 4 nights venture covering the capital city, its wine region Kakheti, old town Mtshketa and of course its winter escapade at Gudauri. The winter season is from end November until April, and armed with our winter clothes and our friendly Georgian guide, Erakli, we were ready to explore this beautiful country.

River stream at Khareba Winery tunnel

We stayed at a hotel close to the Metro station and it’s wise to purchase a metro card for 2 GEL Lari (about RM3.10) with each way costing only 0.50 GEL (RM0.80) per journey. We took the bullet fast metro to the modern city centre called Rustaveli and explored the place which has fancy buildings and great architecture. It houses several museums, galleries, church, as well as the old parliament house and the Freedom Square.

Try local foods such as ‘Khinkali’ which resembles the Chinese counterpart of ‘Siow Long Bao’ dumplings and the tastiest ‘Kachapuri’ which is a cheese pastry so yummy that you will come back for more! As Georgia produces its own wines and beers, do try some as it slips down easily.

The next day we had a whole day tour to Kakheti – its wine region. Most of their wine grapes are grown here, on land that has been used for viticulture for thousands of years. We had a tour at Khareba Winery tunnel which is a unique wine cellar carved in the rocks of the Caucasus Mountain Range and learned about wine making culture. The entire surrounding is surreal and gives you a feeling of being one with nature. Entry fee for the tunnel tour inclusive of guide is 7 GEL per person (RM 11) and extras for wine tasting.

Traditional Georgian food known as ‘Khinkali’

If wine is not your thing, head to other pretty sights such as the Bodbe Monastery overlooking the Alazani Valley with views of the Greater Caucasus Mountains covered with snow! Another popular place to visit is the ‘City of Love’ called Sighnaghi for picturesque landscapes and pastel houses. Head to the museum here to learn more about the country and end your day with a local meal at a restaurant nearby. I especially recommend trying Chicken Barbeque and ‘Badrijiani’, an eggplant dish stuffed with walnuts’ paste.

On the way back, our guide drove us through the snow-filled Gombori Mountain pass which was truly magical and a sight to behold forever.
The next day we were all set to head to Gudauri ski resort which is about two hours away from Tbilisi. We went through a scenic drive passing the Zhinvali Reservoir, before making a pit stop to Ananuri Monastery which used to be a castle along the Aragvi River. To be continued…