It’s been 9 months since I’ve moved to Dubai, and almost 5 months since the last time I published something on my blog. In 5 months I have been on two trips (OK let’s be honest the whole point of me moving closer to Asia is to be able to travel!), I went to Georgia (the country not the US state, because having to tape “Georgia the country” every time I was googling something was kind of pissing me off) and I finally ended my 2015 with a small get away to Nepal where I crossed off something awesome from my list, but chaotic Nepal will have to wait for now, because today I’m talking about Georgia.
I really didn’t know what to think about going to Georgia in the beginning because honestly It wasn’t my first choice, but my green passport (again) decided on my behalf, because when you’re a Moroccan living in Dubai you don’t need a visa and even if you don’t live here you get a visa upon arrival which is not bad. I couldn’t be happier that my passport chose this beautiful country because it absolutely blew my mind. It was literally something that I was waiting to discover, you know that moment when you have this dream about going somewhere and thinking “Yes that’s the perfect place to be”? that’s exactly what happened to me in Georgia.
Well, if you read my blog on a regular basis you probably got sick of me being astonished by every little thing in every country I go to (which is the point from this whole travelling idea right?). You might even ask me “what is so magical about it this time?” and my answer would be that It’s actually a mix of everything, the stunning landscapes, the warm people (well given that they are so new to the whole concept of foreigners visiting them that very few of them speak English!) , Tbilisi’s beauty, and don’t even get me started on food! It’s hard to describe but I guess it’s the mix of everything.
Geographically Georgia is located in Eurasia, some people describe it as being the balcony of Europe and I like that description because the balcony is my favorite part in an apartment. It is one of the three Caucasus countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan are the other two (which I’m definitely not going to miss!). Georgia’s history has given it a fascinating mix of influences from Turkey to Russia to Persia and Central Asia and beyond, all of which are recognizable in the architecture and the way the people look and the languages they speak, in fact anyone over of 40 will only speak Russian and Georgian, no English.
I only had Five days in hand, so I tried to make the most out of my trip. From the long walks in Tbilisi discovering the old and new city to the absolutely magnificent nature outside the city.
first of all, the beauty of Georgian nature is something no words can describe, take it from someone born and raised in Morocco, a country with beautiful mountains and gorgeous landscapes. I have to say that I was pretty amazed when I saw the Caucasian Mountains for the first time, I was literally speechless, and god knows it takes a lot for me to lose my words! I couldn’t really believe what I was just seeing when I first discovered the mountains behind Ananuri Church, while I nearly lost my mind over Kazbegi, It was a beautiful afternoon after a long bus trip, no clouds, no noise. Just the sun, myself, a gentle wind touch and the mountains.
Second of all, the capital Tbilisi is a whole different kind of special. Abandoned churches and crumbling foundations blend beautifully with decorated balconies, grape vines and a buzz of life. I was also fascinated by the number of churches spread all over the city, and the extremely religious people I came across (cab drivers, store owners,..) which was quite interesting.
I spent hours wandering its narrow streets, with only schoolchildren, few curious foreigners and lazy cats as my company. The city combines between the Turkish, European, Caucasian and Persian influences, which gives it a special flavor. Georgia’s Soviet past is hard to miss as well. From the deteriorating USSR-built monuments, to wartime memorabilia sold at small outdoor antique markets, Soviet kitsch is everywhere.
Finally, one of my very favorite things about Georgia was the food. You can easily gain 5 Kg in 5 days on a trip to Georgia. And it’s worth every single calorie. Wood-fired breads so crispy and chewy, Georgian meat is from another galaxy. Savory red beans, lamb kebabs, Fish with plum sauce (so weird but so good), chicken strewed in tomatoes and herbs…I could go on and on.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, and to be honest not even the pictures I included here can describe the real beauty of Georgia, you need to see it live to get it.
I didn’t expect to fall in love with this country, it was just another “why not” trip. But I left a part of my heart in Georgia and I look forward to the day when I’ll return and rejoin it again.
Cheers to the places we yet have to go to!