Tbilisi: heat, architecture, flea market and… Indians
Русская версия We reached Tbilisi in the evening by marshrutka from Kakheti. The bus station is 5 minutes away from subway, so we went to the railway station to buy tickets to Erevan for the next day, and then to the hostel. We booked it in advance on booking, here, its name is ‘Tbilisi Budget Inn”. Never, never go there!
In fact, the room did not have windows and AC promised on booking, it was filled with tobacco smoke, and I doubt that the linen was fresh. The room was next to the reception with a bunch of Indians smoking and yelling. When we asked about breakfast declared as a feature of this hostel on booking, they were very much surprised. I felt like I was back to India: all was the same. Too tired to look for something else, we went to eat to a café at Rustaveli str. The food was ok, but not so good as in Kakheti, and of course more expensive. Well, it’s the capital.
Then we went back to the hostel aiming to sleep after a long day, in vain. After midnight we were woken up with the shouting: “Johnny, kiss me!” Looking out of the room, we found a very young and drunk Georgian girl sitting on the knees of the Indian receptionist, Johnny, who seemed to be reluctant to kiss her. Anyway, we yelled at them in English, and Georgian girl responded with rich Russian obscene vocabulary. After that she disappeared and we spent rest of the night in peace.
In the morning, when personnel noticed that we were awake, the most important Indian came to our room trying to apologize. He asked what kind of breakfast we preferred: Indian or European, and while we were hesitating, he offered both. The other Indians started bringing multiple plates with Indian and European food. This was just the beginning:
Nevertheless, this kind apology did not influence the rest of our experience: the bathroom appeared to be dirty, with cockroaches and other unidentified insects. We decided to store our luggage at the railway station rather than in this hostel, checked out, and went to the nearby National Museum which has a tourist information office with lots of maps of Tbilisi and other Georgian regions. On the way to the museum (main street and tiny streets next to the main one):
Vitya found a stadium and the security there even let him inside to take a picture.
Then we went to the Park of Roses which does not really have roses, but got its name after the revolution. Inside the park we could find table tennis, and had a lot of fun for just 1,5 laris for half an hour. After that walked slowly towards the Dry Bridge:
The Dry Bridge and its surroundings appeared to be the biggest flea market we’ve seen ever. Chandeliers, paintings, dishes, samovars, knives, jewelry, plane and car models, Soviet souvenirs, busts of Lenin, Stalin and whoever else, antiques, everything… I bought a nice jewelry set, and Vitya – a Societ knife.
Crossing the bridge, we found a great place to eat, which we liked a lot and later came back for the dinner.
After the lunch we decided to visit the uptown amusement park (by bus nr. 123). The bus drove up the mountain on a lacet, and it was indeed impressive – lacet is a rare thing it cities. The park:
Our main goal was the Ferris wheel which costs little, but gives the access to great view:
At 6 pm we started a free tour from the Independence square. The tour was held in English and featured old and new Tbilisi:
Georgians are proud of having found a small statue of tamada (the event –wedding, etc. – leader) as old as VII century BC. Tamada figure is drinking wine which means that Georgian traditions of wine-making are extremely old. This is the larger copy of the statue:
The volunteers did not like architectural innovations in the city, for instance, this new bridge, as they said, is often called ‘a sanitary napkin’.
This innovation resembling a watch in Prague was not highly appreciated as well. The main complaints were about Saakashvili who by erecting this watch tower and other architectural objects, wanted Tbilisi to be more European, satisfying the ideals of beauty EU citizens have.
However, we came just before it was striking:
The next stop was at the beer festival:
We did not like it a lot: the beer was of one kind only, and the queues were terribly long. We had a glass of beer each and crawfishes, and then came back to the café where we had had lunch before. We ordered lamb and kebab with potatoes, they were excellent! And the beers not worse than at the festival:
If you cross the bridge, the cafe will be on your left. The name of the place if it helps:
Unfortunately, they close at 9 pm.
After the dinner, we took the bus to the railway station, as out train to Yerevan departed at 22-15. In the train, the policemen collected the passports, and returned them in an hour. The train was terribly hot, especially when it stopped. After reaching the Armenian border, the frontier guards stamped the passports, and the conductor opened many windows at once. Due to the draught the heat became tolerable. Next morning we woke up in Yerevan.