I run. I eat. I travel.

…unless you know a guy, that knows a guy, that goes to a guy that owns a garage. That’s how things roll in this place they call საქართველო.

Last weekend, I went to Georgia to visit Leslie who’s been living and working there since last September. I’m not even gonna start on the happy reunion part – that was obviously amazing 🙂 – but I really want to share some stories and impressions with you.

But… I think I’ll skip a detailed recount of the party night on Friday. I’ll just say it was FUN. Like… serious fun! 😀
Und für die Österreicher hier sei noch erwähnt, dass die Wahnsinnigen Stroh 80 hatten. Meinegüte.

Friday morning started out with about -1 degrees daily max and a shower only slightly above that temperature. Cold water may be healthy BUT when you have to hop though the shower on your tippy toes as the tiles on the floor are too freakin cold, fun kinda gets a little lost… Anyway, because of the gooooorgeous weather we decided to head out of the city to Mtskheta, the region surrounding Tbilisi – think breathtaking, untamed landscapes, beautiful buildings as well as cows on the street, tiny, worn down places and just loads of impressions. And as it always is in Georgia: no hill goes unchurched.

Saturday we explored Tbilisi in Georgian company and crawled through abandoned/to be demolished houses, climbed hills, saw lots of beautiful churches and went to Greece (which looked pretty worn down)…

I’m not quite sure who was more curious – me about the locals or the Georgian people about the odd tourist on a photo spree… but as this pic of a few workers on lunch break proves we were some kind of attraction too.

Then again, the tourism industry is first of all not quite as developed in Georgia as it is in loads of other regions and countries. And after all, the last war – although only lasting for a mere 3 days – was only 3.5 years ago. Quite unimaginable coming from a country where speaking of war times automatically implies talking about the time your grandparents were young. Most expats are working as teachers and if tourists show up it’s either Russians going to Abkhazia (which is a whole other story) or hikers in the summer months. Therefore me visiting in March was actually a really cool idea – I got to see the most beautiful places without anyone being there and thanks to Leslie actually got the chance to meet locals. As good as it gets when you’re in a place that’s so different from anything you’ve seen so far 🙂

We also went to THE expat hotspot in Georgia, Tbilisi’s Prospero’s bookstore. Tucked away in a lovely courtyard, not only does that place have walls filled with books of all kinds but it also has an adorable café where you could spend all day listening to people’s stories. If you’re interested in how life is for expats in Georgia I can VERY highly recommend this collection of random funny Only-in-Georgia outtakes.

On Sunday we decided to skip our plan of going to Gori (a guy well known as Stalin was born there, just fyi) and meandered around the city some more before watching a really great dance/music show about Georgian history and different regional traditions and having a serious feast of the most amazing Georgian food at night.

Eggplant with ground nut paste and pomegranate seeds, trout filled with herbs, ground walnuts and pomegranate, the fluffiest khachapuri with egg, khinkali with different fillings (meat, mushrooms and herbs, mashed potatoes), some lobiani bean sauce in a clay pot and just general deliciousness. Oh and the Georgian version of baklava (creatively called Pakhlava) is amazing. Less syrupy, flaky goodness but sort of like the most amazing nut-honey-cake ever. Fresh and hot out of the oven it is simply unbelievable. Believe me 😉

Being told off by the security guards in Georgian for taking pictures of Saakashvili’s… palace, trying to climb a massive wooden piano and oooh-ing and aaah-ing at the changing lights on the freakiest space-ship-wave-ish looking bridge ever let us have a great last night and a sad goodbye way too soon (and way too early).

PS: Viele viele bunte Fotos gibts nach dem KLICK.

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