Monday, March 4, 2019

Georgia: Tibilisi, Kakheti, Signagi, Kutaisi

The contents of this post were taken in the spring of 2018. Ana flew back to San Diego to meet our new nephew while X and I thought flying to Tbilisi, Georgia to see former colleagues and to explore something totally different would be a nice Daddy and Daughter adventure. We visited spent a couple of days in Istanbul before flying to Georgia. In the end we experienced: Tbilisi, the Kakheti region, Signagi, and Kutaisi. Below is our documentation in photos and words.

Turkish Breakfast
Chasing pigeons in Taksim Square, Istanbul
Exchanging greetings with a baker in Istanbul.
Nusretiye Camii and the Bosphorus in the background.

Street art in Tbilisi.
Street art in Tbilisi.
Vake Park in Tbilisi a a pretty great was to spend the afternoon.
Vake Park has all sorts of playgrounds and even a mini amusement park.
Georgian Lunch
We caught up with our friend Jill and El in Tbilisi.
Catching up with Mr. and Mrs. Smith. They are the ones who really sold me on the idea of visiting.
Playground sculpture in Vake Park.
Would like to know more about this sculpture.
Neighborhood architecture around Tbilisi.
Just sitting on top of the Orbeliani Baths in Tbilisi.

"You should see it in summer." Waterfall in the wonderful and never ending Botanic Gardens in Tbilisi.
Now I understand why the bbq in Signagi is so well regarded. That and their wine.
A bowl of beans always puts a smile on your face.
While in Tbilisi be sure to hit up the Dry Bridge Flea Market for your Soviet era souvenirs and cool paintings and handicrafts.
Crossing the Peace Bridge in Tblisi.
Springtime in Tbilisi.
On the way to the Kakheti region, my driver told me I needed to try the roadside bread, cheese, and churchkhela.
Walking around Bodbe Monastery in Signagi.
Walking around Bodbe Monastery in Signagi.
View of Signagi.
One of the wineries we stopped at had quite a collection of vintage stereos.
The process of traditional wine making in Georgia involves a Qvevri (large earthenware vessels buried underground used for fermentation).
Gazing at the epic mountain range along the Georgian, Russian, and Azerbiajan boarders.
Signagi style of housing.
Central Signagi. Hail to the Qvevri.
The ground of Khareba Winery located in the Kakheti region are beautiful - ideal for families, picnics, and a nice wine tour inside the caves.
Khareba Winery gardens.
Got the bright idea that i would push X up this hill to see the Dzveli Shuamta Monastery.
After walking 5 KM up a hill to the Dzveli Shuamta Monastery.
Persimmons and I have a decent relationship, but dried persimmons is a whole different level. Another reason to go back. 
Somewhere in Kakheti en route to a monastery.
An old church my driver though I needed to go see. I chatted with the priest about our travels.
Roaming around Lagodekhi Nature Reserve.
Lagodekhi Nature Reserve has vast hiking trails, waterfalls, and everything to satisfy any trekking needs.
I'm not sure if "Good Luck" is the impression you want to be left with when entering Azerbiajan. I talked to the dog and he is currently applying for dual citizenship.
I constantly dream about the next time I will eat churchkhela (Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian candle-shaped candy. The main ingredients are grape must, nuts and flour. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnut and chocolate and sometimes raisins are threaded onto a string, dipped in thickened grape juice or fruit juices and dried in the shape of a sausage. Source: Wikipedia)
Signagi has a fortress wall.
En route to Kutaisi with what I would regard as the car ride from hell. Georgians are lovely until they get behind a wheel. At one point our car and a car I driver was fighting with parked on the shoulder of the highway and the two drivers went at it only to be broken-up by the other driver's partner. When my driver got back into the car he said, "Good thing his wife stopped it because I was about to use my karate on him."
Bagrati Cathedral in Kutaisi
Motsameta Monastery outside of Kutaisi.
View from inside of Motsameta Monastery.
Gelati Monastery UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The owner of the airbnb I stayed at in Kutaisi was a little invasive and pushy about booking a tour. While he did take us to a couple of monasteries, we stopped for about an hour so we could watch him fish.
Relief sculpture building in Kutaisi
Up above Vake Park is ever enjoyable Turtle Lake. While it hosts many places to grab a snack, there is also a walking trail that goes around the lake to work off some calories.
Totally Tubular. Music theater and exhibition hall in Tbilisi's Rhike Park. Designed by Italian architecture Studio Fuksas.
A romantic date on Vake Park statue.
You next place of business.
Street art in the underpass in Tbilisi.
Freedom Square.

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