Our invaluable Alumni Association offered us the event “Georgia in a nutshell”. The geopolitical situation made lots of us hesitate. Finally, at the Okęcie airport, at 3 am, a reliable group of 18 people showed up.
The first day was a flight to Kutaisi, a drive to Tbilisi and we went to the city. Our guide Kasia told us about the history of Georgia and its political changes. We had the opportunity to see the Parliament, Freedom Square, the statue of Mother Georgia, holding a sword for her enemies in one hand and a cup of wine for her friends in the other. We walked the charming streets of the Old Town filled with bars, cafes, restaurants and music. It was the moment for a break and the first dinner on Georgian soil with traditional dishes: vegetable pastes, khinkali, khachapuri, lobiani or skewers watered with traditional Georgian wine. We also started learning Georgian toasts. At night we took the cable car to Narikala Fortress, went down to the fantastic waterfall and the route near the baths, and along the river we returned to the hotel afet 1 am.
The next day was a trip to Sighnaga in Kakheti, a place in Georgia considered a city of love and lovers, where the registry office is open 24 hours a day. We went for a walk along the old defensive wall with towers, from which we admired the beautiful views of the surrounding hills. Encouraged by the view of the vineyard landscapes, we went for a traditional feast at a local winemaker. Gio told us about the traditional production of wine and chacha, and then we developed the culture of drinking Georgian toasts by eating traditional dishes.
Eager for more knowledge, the next day we went to one of the largest wineries in Georgia. So we had a comparison between the local and mass approaches. It was time, however, to leave the beautiful Kakheti behind and set off towards the Caucasus. On the way we stopped for rafting on a mountain river. I think it will be an unforgettable adventure for all of us. We reached Stepantsminda (formerly Kazbegi) late in the evening along the Georgian military route. Kazbek (5047 m above sea level) welcomed us with a snow-covered peak perfectly visible from our hotel. Some, encouraged by the guide Ania, got up in the morning to watch Kazbek at sunrise – it was worth it 😊.
We started Tuesday with a visit to the Gergeti church (Cminda Sameba – Holy Trinity) from the 14th century, towering over Stepantsminda against the background of Kazbek. Then we set off on an off-road trip to the Truso valley. This place is located at an altitude of 2,200 meters above sea level. surrounded by the majestic Caucasus Mountains. There are several deserted villages in the valley, the towers of former defensive strongholds, and herds of cows, donkeys and horses. A walk through the valley will be dreamed up on long winter nights … just like delicious skewers prepared on a picnic grill somewhere in a village forgotten by the world and abandoned by people.
The next day, we regretfully returned to civilization. Kazbek said goodbye to us with fogs and light rain. On the way, we stopped to admire the 17th-century fortifications in Ananuri and for a little longer in Mtskheta – the ancient capital of Georgia, where one of the most important religious monuments in Georgia, Sveti Tskhoveli, is located. We spent the afternoon in Tbilisi again. In the evening we admired traditional Georgian dances.
We completely changed the landscape on Thursday. First, on the way, we stopped in the rock city of Uplisseich, carved into a steep hillside – one of the oldest urban centers in the Caucasus. Then we reached the last attraction of our trip – Batumi. A place where different architectural styles mix, where the mountains flow straight into the sea and the old contrasts with the new. Friday’s free time meant that everyone devoted themselves to their favorite activities: sunbathing, bathing, shopping, sightseeing, walking. The evening ended with an Azerbaijani restaurant. On Saturday morning we went to the airport in Kutaisi. Already on the way we made more plans: maybe Iran or Jordan … We will see what the Association will surprise us with this time. Thank you for a great trip!