In September, Tbilisi is literally teeming with tourists from all over the world, which in some way breaks its charm – to walk around the city in silence, looking into the classic Georgian courtyards, or all alone climbing in a cable car to the top of the mountain, to Mother Georgia, slowly contemplating life in Georgian. This was my first acquaintance with the city at the end of October a couple of years ago. The weather, however, left much to be desired. Let’s see what September has in store for me. They say that there is no better time to travel around Georgia than this month. The weather is excellent, in the country there is harvesting, fruits, the sea and other joys of the southern country. Well, I’ll check. Ten days for the first time is enough to “with feeling, with sense, with arrangement” to drive through the main attractions, and not be oversaturated with places like the famous Georgian khinkale, khachapuri and lobiani.
One way or another, even in noisy September Tbilisi you can find a place to your liking, and I choose style and brightness. This is the case when the details matter.
Fabrika Hostel And Suites is an urban style with a capital letter from Adjara Group Hospitality. Brick building of the former garment factory, all in graffiti, several floors, stylish and spacious rooms. In general, I love spaces that are comfortable for travelers on a small budget, and those who can afford a suite with a huge veranda. Waking up with a view of an old church, doing yoga on a terrace with roses, truly enjoying delicious breakfasts, which can already give an impression of the richness of Georgian cuisine – this is our way. In the courtyard of the Factory there is a large co-working space, several stylish cafes, bars and shops where you can buy both decor and household items, and fashionable clothes from modern Georgian designers, as well as vintage, but brand new dresses and jackets of the 70-80s , which were found in the warehouses of the factory, within the walls of which the project is now located.
You can compare “Fabrika” with Moscow spaces such as “Artplay”, “Flakon” and “Winzavod”. Only there are no hotels in our clusters yet, but the Georgians came up with an idea – and they were not mistaken. The factory has become a fashionable place where cultural events regularly take place, and both hotel guests, including many foreigners, as well as Tbilisi residents and expats who have chosen Georgia, gather here.
From Tiflis (as Tbilisi was called before) it is convenient to travel around the surroundings. But only for short distances. For example, to medieval Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia, Georgian Jerusalem. This city is located in a very picturesque place, the very one where merged, “embracing like two sisters, the jets of Aragvi and Kura.” And you can go to the cave city Uplistsikhe of the end of the II – beginning of the I millennium BC, located on the left bank of the Mktvari River.
But in Kakheti, where the harvest is in full swing, you will already have to go on a trip with an overnight stay. After all, there you still need to taste the wines of local winemakers, walk around the medieval town of Sighnaghi, admire the view of the Alazani Valley, dine at the Pheasant’s Tears restaurant and taste their wine, which is rightfully considered one of the best in Georgia. And along the way, we will overtake trucks full of grapes, leaving a mark on the roads of the country with a dotted line of grape juice. Following this trail, you can find yourself at the Graneli factory, which makes wine only for export. And, if you’re lucky, its owner, the most charming Nugzar, will personally fill your glasses with Kindzmarauli, Mukuzani or collectible Usakhelauri. And he will lead sweet, like Khvanchkara, speeches about the abundance of the Georgian land.
The next day, you should definitely visit the Alaverdi monastery of the 6th century, where you can literally drink peace and quiet just like we drank wine the day before. And, of course, to Boodbe Monastery, where St. Nino, who brought Christianity to Georgia, is buried. And plunge into the healing font there.
Well, after all this, you can go to the mountains. Because only they can be better than mountains. And along the incredible beauty of the Russian-Georgian road, past the Friendship Arch, admiring the Terek, mountains and hills, decorated with moving sheep necklaces, we go straight to Kazbegi, indignant at the indifference of the Lermontov Demon, who, flying over all this greatness, for some reason was bored. And along the way, remembering the poems of all the great poets, because the spectacle outside the window is so breathtaking that it’s even somehow embarrassing to talk about it without poetry.
If you want romance, the Rooms hotel in Kazbegi from the aforementioned AdjaraGroup is a must be done! For the sake of one view of Mount Kazbek and the Church of the Holy Trinity in Gergeti, which opens directly from the room, it is worth going! I am silent about the stylish interior, a pool and a sauna with mountain views, a spa, a bar-restaurant, delicious food, a forest, horses, a huge area with hammocks that you definitely want to lie in, walks around the neighborhood with a local naturalist, etc. Mount Kazbek, like Ararat, is a mountain with character, not open to everyone. More often Kazbek hides his snowy peak under a cap of clouds, but in the end he smiled at us. It is very difficult to leave Rooms, because everything here is done with such great taste that you don’t want to leave it at all. If it were my will, I would sit all day on the terrace, wrapped in a warm blanket and enjoying the delicious cuisine of a local restaurant, wine and a view that will never be forgotten.
After relaxing in Kazbegi, you can return to Tbilisi for a couple of days to take a steam bath in sulfur baths, walk around the Bethlehem quarter of the city and enjoy a new reading of the classics of Georgian dishes in the restaurants of delicious author’s cuisine “Black Lion” and “Kitchen” (again vivat roomshotels.com! ).
Well, this time I choose to stay at the Claude Monet design art hotel, which is recommended to me by my new friends – Bestforguest.com – Hotel Management Company, which considers it its mission to introduce international standards of quality and guest service to the most remote corners of Georgia and its neighbors.
A cozy two-room suite with a bright design and plane trees rustling through the windows is a great choice to comfortably relax before the next breakthrough. The owner of the hotel, hospitable Mamuka Chkheidze, treats me to tea and wine from his own land and talks about how much soul has been invested in this hotel. Claude Monet is really soulful – especially on the terrace of their lounge-bar, where I sat comfortably on the soft poufs of which I watched talkative Tbilisi and planned my last outing – on a VanillaSky plane I go to the mountain beauty of Svaneti, which will truly become the pearl of my trip and one of the highlights of the trip. Svan towers of the X-XII centuries. Blue rivers descending from the mountains. Springs gushing out of the ground like Narzan. The mountains are the two-humped Ushba and the beautiful Shkhara. The town of Mestia is a regional center and a center for ski tourism. To say that all this steals your heart is to say nothing.
Mestia is well-groomed and falls in love with its hospitality and landscapes, the view from the windows of the Svan towers and the sky strewn with suspiciously close stars. Whichever hotel you stay in, the sound of the river and the view of the towers are almost guaranteed. I chose a small but very cozy Swan’s House, which became the hotel of the year 2016 on booking.com.
And, of course, in no case should you leave without a trip to the village of Ushguli, where Queen Tamara herself loved to admire the views, organizing her winter and summer residences in the Svan towers on the local hills.
And so, sitting on the sun-drenched veranda of a cozy cafe overlooking a talkative rivulet, drinking another masterpiece of local winemaking in small sips, smiling and squinting from the jumping sunbeams, I involuntarily caught myself on a happy thought: “Well, I’m done! Perhaps breaking into this trip was the only right decision at the moment!