Georgia, a Eurasian paradise

A memorable trip with unique friends

13 SEPTEMBER 2016,
Stepantsminda, in the north of Georgia
Stepantsminda, in the north of Georgia

On a memorable trip with unique friends, I discovered the overwhelming marvels of the Eurasian country Georgia. Throughout the few days spent there, every scenery on every turn was mesmerizing. The chaos of the lovely friends and the harmony of the beautiful nature and history made the trip one exceptional experience. Each place we visited on the road trips and in each place we stayed, we couldn’t but fall in love more and more with amazing Georgia.

The journey started in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. From Freedom Square in Rustaveli, we roamed the avenue where both old and new architecture embrace to form an outdoor art museum of everyday life. From there, we reached the old souk of Tbilisi, then we crossed the glass Bridge of Peace to take the gondola up to Narikala Fortress that dates back to the 4th century AD and is considered by the people as the “heart and soul of the city”. Through a short steep walk, we reached the Kartlis Deda or the Mother of Kartli statue overlooking the whole city and the Mtkvari river. The fortress is also overlooking the 300-year-old Botanical Garden. Most of the attractions are within a walking distance from each other, which was a great advantage to contemplate the scenery and the harmony of old and new buildings across Tbilisi. Following that, we took a short ride to the other side of the river to get to Sameba or Holy Trinity Cathedral, also known as the symbol of new Georgia. It is the third tallest Orthodox cathedral in the world and the tallest in Georgia. The evenings in Tbilisi were a daily highlight with the fine local wine and the delicious local food.

On the road trip to Batumi, there were several amazing spots that we visited; including ancient fortresses, the Stalin Memorial Museum located in the birthplace of Joseph Stalin in Gori, the beautiful scenery of Borjomi all the way to Batumi. Located on the Black Sea coast, Batumi is a charming southern city and the second biggest city in Georgia. The history, the culture, the architecture, the coast, the people, the vibes and all the attractions are simply amazing. Again, the modern and old make a fascinating synchrony of past and present. The Statue of Love sculpture inspired by the love story of Ali and Nino created by the Georgian artist Tamar Kvesitadze is an eccentric piece of art that adds to the remarkable charm of the place. And just within a walking distance, there is the Alphabet Tower that draws your attention once you reach Batumi. The tower is a symbol of the uniqueness of the Georgian alphabet and people, which is undeniably evident. There is an elevator to the top of the tower where the view of the coast, the city and the Black Sea makes you speechless.

The major sights of the city are the Adjara State Museum, the Aquarium and the Batumi Botanical Garden. The streets are in themselves a piece of art, and the walk along the coast and across the Seaside Park is an fulfilling experience itself. What also adds to all this beauty are the diverse activities along the coast, such as swimming, bike riding and scooters, and of course the cruise and the crazy dive in the Black Sea. Nightlife is another entertaining feature to further enjoy such magical place.

From Batumi back to Tbilisi, the next destination was Stepantsminda (Kazbegi) in the north of Georgia. If the other places were magical, this is simply beyond magical. It is one breathtaking village among the countless other places in Georgia. The highlight of the visit to Kazbegi was the adventure of hiking to the Gergeti Trinity Church in the rain. The cold weather and the rain made it an exceptional and challenging experience, and the local cognac further added to the fun. And after such hilarious hardships, we spent a great evening at the Café 5047m, where they serve delicious food with awesome drinks and distinguished hospitality. The next adventure was the horse riding across the green and beautiful fields surrounding the village. The scenery is literally beyond description and beyond capturing. Another memorable feature of our stay was the old amazing lady that hosted us in her humble yet inviting home for two days. She was a proof of the genuine hospitality and generosity of the villagers of Kazbegi. Before heading back to the city, we continued on the Georgian Military road all the way to the Russian border, where we also took a hike to Gveleti Waterfall. Again the scenery is marvelous. And it is not less so throughout the Georgian Military Highway all the way back to Tbilisi. The special landmark of the road trip was the Russia–Georgia Friendship Monument in Gudauri. The monument was built in 1983 to celebrate the bicentennial of the Treaty of Georgievsk and ongoing friendship between Georgia and Soviet Russia.

With so much memories left, these were few major highlights of a lifetime travel experience. What also contributed to the value and success of this trip were my fellow travelers and awesome friends from Egypt, India, Pakistan, and the United States. This cosmopolitan group of unique folks added to the charms of Georgia and proved that this planet is a truly borderless and beautiful place. I awe them every memorable moment I spent in this Eurasian paradise and this beautiful experience of coexistence. This trip is a reason to look forward to another adventure with such amazing people and to urge fellow readers to make Georgia your next destination.