Looking back on our trip to Georgia (the country), I can’t help but think we were pretty brave to take our four month old twins on such a trip. It is like a military maneuver. Milk, bottles, diapers, double stroller and much more. An hour taxi ride to the airport, 3 hours waiting in the airport, the three hour flight, then waiting in airport before taking a taxi to the apartment we were renting in Tbilisi. Exhausting just to arrive. However, whenever I travel I am quickly re-energized to explore. I set out right away to reconnoiter the neighborhood once we were set up.
Why Georgia? I had heard that it was beautiful, with mountains and rivers, was inexpensive and we wanted to try a flight with children. I had also heard the food was delicious. We decided to break the trip into two five day stays. First Tbilisi and then Borjomi, a town on a river famous for mineral water and close enough to the mountains that we could visit a ski area.
Georgia is bordered by Turkey, Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Part of Georgia is occupied by Russia. Georgia became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991 and suffered a lot economically. They have made a strong comeback. Tourism and agriculture play a big part in the economy. Over 80 percent of the country is Eastern Orthodox and I believe around 10 percent muslim. The population is close to four million and Tbilisi is the capitol. When I started out around town I could see quickly that the city was a mix of old and super modern architecture. The churches have a unique style and some of the streets are cobblestone. In the center of town there are old roman baths. I checked a couple out, but when I entered I felt a little out of place. The places were a bit dirty, men were smoking and walking around naked, so I decided to pass. I went into town to find food at a restaurant and some big football games were on the big screen. Was it the World Cup? Can’t remember now. The nightlife seemed pretty wild. Lots of discos and music. Almost made me want to be young again. I decided to try the famous cheese and egg filled meal called, khachapuri. It was delicious and I ended up eating one almost daily. I learned they are prepared differently in each region. Probably not great if trying to lose weight.
In Tbilisi most of our energy was spent on the kids. We would attempt to go out at least once a day for something significant. We took the cable car up to a fortress on the hill for a nice view of the city. The cobblestone streets were difficult for the stroller. There was a small park near our apartment that had beautiful deciduous trees. We would sit with babies and they seemed to find the view of the leaves soothing. I actually wrote something about what we can learn about life from the trees. When the kids would sleep I would often take a long walk around town. Once I took a cablecar type vehicle up to the top of the hill where there was a 1950s like amusement park. I went to the casino once. I like to play roulette occasionally.
This is what I wrote about the trees: I returned to look at the trees in the late afternoon early evening…and again asked what I could learn….
- There are almost an infinite number of paths the branches take
- All routes lead to a unique life and in a real sense success…leaves are growing and some thriving
- The vast majority make it…at least for a while
- It was very windy last night and the beautiful flowers were falling ever where…
- The leaves and branches are young and strong as it is summer…they flex with the wind and don’t ask why..they are in the moment…perhaps some more than others…the leaves will fall and enrich the future with what they have left behind…winter will arrive
- The tree is sturdy and strong and can withstand almost anything…a new generation of growth, branches and leaves will return…new, unimaginable branches will be created
- The leaves enjoy a glorious moment in time but life continues without them
So after Tbilisi, we got a driver to take us to Borjomi. We had a terrible time finding the place and the owner forgot we were coming. We were tired and stressed. Two babies, nowhere to stay and difficulty communicating. Finally the owner came, but the place smelled terribly and seemed moidt. We had to carry the babies up some weird steps to the upper level. We were right on the river but otherwise not a good situation. The next morning I found this cool place that overlooked a park. The park had a trail that went for a mile or two. There was an amusement park along the trail so it was very amusing to walk the twins in the stroller a couple of times per day. My wife had her birthday while there so it was a wonderful set of days just loving our new family. We did take a drive up into the mountains one day but otherwise stayed in town. The twins got a lot of attention. As usual I walked a lot and I enjoyed seeing the many fruits growing around houses. Many places had trellises for grapes. Georgia is well known for its wine.
Georgia was a very memorable trip for us and a unique place. We barely scratched the surface.