The second part of our trip to Georgia was a flying visit through Tbilsi! We left Gudauri at around 1pm and our taxi drove us through the mountainous terrain back down into the city. When we arrived in the city centre, the first thing that caught my eye was the quaint cobbled paths and the charming coffee shops located above street level on the terraces. Our poor taxi driver hadn’t been given clear directions to our hotel and didn’t speak a word of English! We were just as useless with only having the hotel address written in English! One thing I would advise is to screenshot a copy of the hotel’s address in the local language – this is a tip we picked up when visiting Asian countries as it makes the taxi journeys much easier!
After driving around the cobbles for a short while we found our hotel – to the delight of all in the car! We stayed at No.12 Boutique Hotel and it was just lovely. The hotel was located down a side alley but was well lit and had several hidden coffee shops / bars on the short walk to the hotel. The staff were very welcoming upon arrival and showed us straight to our room. When searching for hotels online, this one really caught my eye because I loved the homely vibe, the décor was so quirky and felt very cosy. Our room was perfect for our needs for the one night and we literally dumped our belongings and headed out to explore.
Before heading to Tbilisi, I had done a bit of research online and the one place that I was set on visiting was Abanotubani, an ancient district of unique thermal baths within the city. On route, we stopped for a coffee (Ryan had a wine – both priced the same!) I had pointed out one of the terrace cafes and was happy to get a seat outside on the balcony. I love people watching and although we were only sat there for a short time whilst eating khatchupuri and cake we saw so much life in just a small part of this city!
After, we walked to find Abanotubani and this is where I really felt the life of this city shine through. I could feel the mix of history and culture with the European city feel coming through from the architecture, but also a Turkish / Arabic influence from the colourful buildings. After forcing Ryan to hold a mini photoshoot for me, we carried on wandering around the thermal baths. We found a lovely hidden waterfall, Waterfall Leghvtakhevi, hidden within the remains of the old city walls which was a delightful surprise.
In the evening, we went for dinner at Orshimo, a quaint Piano Wine Bar just a short distance from our hotel. The waiters were clearly very passionate about their wine and we got to try some of the great unfiltered Georgian red wine. The food was excellent Ryan had river trout, and I had fried pork and potatoes, followed by the most amazing chocolate brownie cake and ice-cream (I had clearly given up on my diet by this point!) During the meal, a pianist was beautifully playing a range of songs but my night was made as soon as he started playing Robbie Williams, She’s the One. After we had finished our desert, we headed outside onto the small terrace which had only two tables set out. The waiters brought us a blanket each and we finished our wine, looking out over the street below. We could also see the castle on the hill (cue Ed Sheeran singing) and it was a wonderful way to end the evening, and our trip to Georgia.
Before flying back to Dubai on our final day, we had breakfast at the hotel, which I must say was AMAZING. The ‘restaurant’ was nothing more than a kitchen you would find in a regular home, with cute farmhouse style cupboards and two ladies cooking the food fresh! At the back of the room was a selection of pastries, toast and fruit and on the chalkboard listed any items you could order, freshly made. I ordered scrambled eggs and porridge, both were cooked fresh and brought straight over to me! I can’t say the breakfast was the highlight of the trip, but it wasn’t far off!
We went and sat out in one of the coffee shops for a while before heading back to the airport to finish off our trip. I guess the only downside of Tbilisi was the airport itself which had only one restaurant and allowed people to smoke!
We definitely did not spend enough time in Tbilisi, or in Georgia as a whole so I would love to return for a summer visit. If anyone has any recommendations of sightseeing / city breaks in Georgia, please feel free to comment!