The first day in Georgia felt a bit like a hallucination. We barely got any sleep the night before since the flight was really early in the morning and the excitement was keeping me up during the hours I was meant to get some ZZZZzzzs.
I had always wanted to go to Georgia and we came across relatively cheap flights, so it felt like this trip was meant to happen.
I was travelling with my parents this time and an obvious advantage was their ability to communicate in Russian. Most of the locals speak good Russian, so getting around wasn’t a problem and the best part was not having to do any talking or having to arrange things (unlike when my parents come to see me in Scotland). I could just relax and enjoy my holiday!
We landed in Kutaisi early in the morning so had a full day to do sightseeing. I heard that Kutaisi was once known in Soviet Union as a capital of crime (correct me if I’m wrong). While it now felt safe, it still had the post soviet feeling, which I actually really liked. Maybe because it felt a bit like Lithuania and it’s always nice to feel like home.
We didn’t really stay in Kutaisi but decided to get out of the city and a few places nearby. Our host lady arranged a driver for the day, which was a cheap and efficient way to get around.
The first stop was Prometheus Cave which is one of the largest karst formations in Georgia. About 1km of the cave is currently open for tourists and there are several halls that open up as you go through the cave, allowing you to appreciate the magnificent formations. The cave is nicely lit, helping your imagination to create whatever it wants. Mesmerising and almost hypnotic experience.
Once we left the cave we saw a cheeky pig trying to steal somebody’s food! We made a mental note to be careful and keep our food close while ordering a khatchapuri – a Georgian cheese filled bread topped up with an egg. Definitely worth a try!
It turned out that animals were roaming freely and you could spots numbers of cows wondering on the roads. The driving style in Georgia felt really chaotic with two lanes being turned into three whenever needed, but we never felt unsafe (maybe the cows wouldn’t agree with me).
The next stop was Martvili Canyon. It was worth going for a wee boat ride in the emerald colour waters. I did not expect to see anything like that in this part of Georgia and it felt like being transferred to an almost secret oasis.
After the canyon my parents were extremely exhausted and we decided to head back. We still had a few things to see but decided it wasn’t worth it since we could barely keep our eyes open.
We went back to our b&b and had a nap after which we took a quick stroll around the town and tried to figure out how to get to Mestia the next day. Got to appreciate Colchis fountain on the way, which was an unexpected but a nice surprise.
Once we went back our host was waiting for us with loads of delicious dishes and plenty of homemade wine. Apparently it’s very common to make your own wine in Georgia (the country is said to be a birthplace of wine) and loads of people have litres of it stored in the cellar. I heard the rumor that our host had about two thousand in their house. I was surprised that the colour of the wine was almost brown, but was explained that it’s because they make their wines in a traditional way – natural, unfiltered and organic.
It was a great dinner with all the host family chatting about their everyday lives, economy, wine and things my poor Russian didn’t pick up. The Georgian hospitality at its best!