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Walking the walk...Tbilisi, one step at a time..

It is by walking the streets that you start to understand the lives of the people. Taking the underground, shopping for your daily meal, or just looking around, there is nothing better than that to absorb the beauty of a country.
beautiful balconies near Pushkin street
In Tbilisi, there is so much to see..
Next week, I will start with Sololaki for a great photo safari. We are in search of beauty and realism. Luka will be my companion, tchemi patara pedagogi.
Rustaveli, an inspiration to all
Here is a slice of what we discovered already in the great Georgian khatchapuri pie...
fruits, veggies and all kinds of goodies

grapes in downtown Tbilisi
still don't know what that is, but it is cool.

China is so much closer here..

The bazaris, or open-air markets, are going to disappear soon, as the government is trying to bring in more shopping centers with big names such as Carrefour, Zara, H&M, etc..For now, they are what remains of the great Silk Road, a mixture of goods from all over, and also, and especially close to my heart, local products made by local people. Give a pair of knitted Georgian socks anytime, rather than a Chinese or European knock-off version!
wool and other yarns. Vagzlis Bazari/Didube
One of greatest things to do is to go to Vagzlis Bazari, (check this page of our blog for info on this market) and look at the gold! It comes from all over, at great prices. Gold here has a beautiful copper hue, and we all know what the Kartvelis have done to gold in the last centuries. They are absolute experts, and their work is absolutely flawless. Don't miss the gold in the Janashia National Museum.

Sitting on the balcony on a summer or fall evening, as temperatures slowly fall, is delightful. A lot of Georgians move their beds to the balconies in the summer, to escape the sweltering heat of the day. Today, September 13th, 2014, it is still 30+ Celsius.. Great if you arrive from Northern Europe, where I have already taken out my sheepskin slippers out..
so pretty

A mixture of ancient, very ancient, and very modern is what makes Tbilisi such an interesting place to visit. The Bridge of Peace is one of those examples that bridges modern and ancient, going from the park of Rike, with its ultra modern additions, to Kala, and the Charden district, or Old Town. The harmonious lines of the bridge do not alter the landscape, but rather....bridge it...
The bridge of Peace

This walk is not for the weak at  heart.
On the way to Betlemis Eklesia.

The beautiful golden statue of George 
slaying the dragon on the main plaza, 
called "tavisuplebis moedani", 
or Freedom Square. 
First, let's take the metro. Wow, scary, dude!! In order to get to that first step down..or up, obviously, you will need to buy a card that will allow you to go through the turnstile. The cards are available for a couple of laris (GEL) and you can refill it with cash anytime. Nowadays, some machine will refill your card at a sort of ATM. The first card is still usually bought at the desk in front of the dreaded steps. You can use your card for several people, it is not nominative. It used to be money was ok, but now the system is such that you can also use the card on all public transport systems, even the little marshrootkas/minibuses that go around town. Those, as I understand, will slowly disappear to make place for a more pollution-conscient alternative. Good, but then will it be ok to call it anywhere on the street like we can now? Don't know..
Anyway, the metro lines, for the most part, go deep within the ground. It is amazing. can get in trouble with the person that is sitting watching traffic at the bottom of the elevator stairs. No pics, please! Why? Yeah, this is an "illegal" pic of an elevator.  :)

Wonderful fig trees and balconies
Lemontov avenue

Here is a link to an old part of Tbilisi, called Sololaki.
On Dadiani Street, close to Freedom Square, you can see some amazing old buildings. The one above is number 8. The wall paintings are very cool. The doors are usually open since it is an apartment house.
lovely statue on
Gudiashvili Square
amazing balconies

If you make to the top of the hill, here is what awaits you. 

ebony and ivory grapes,
a lovely arbor in front of Ateshgah 
Ateshgah is a zoroastrian temple

On the way up the hill, by way of Asatiani street
make sure to see the Betlemi churches.
Can you find the two churches on that hill?
Keep climbing...
 Zororastrianism! What a word! It is, as a matter of fact, one of the oldest religions in the world. Some of our Georgian friends are still adepts of this faith that venerates the sun. This fire temple, called Ateshgah, only open to people of this faith, is an ancient structure from the 5th or 6th century. It  was transformed into a mosque around the 17th Century, but is now back in the hands of the original followers of this faith.
It is worth climbing to see it, because the way up is also a beautiful walk..

Jvaris Mama Church, at the bottom of the hill
on Ierusalimi Street
On the way back down, admire Jvaris Mama Church and Sioni. Both are very important churches in the hearts of the Georgians Orthodox. Sioni is the most impressive. Small, but magnificent. Be aware that proper clothing is mandatory. No short sleeves, shorts, short skirts, or anything...short. The ladies also cover their heads before entering what can be called the holiest of holy in Tbilisi. Respect, please.
Many weddings happen in Sioni.
Charden Street is quickly becoming a tourist trap...
but it is pretty. 

Carpet store next to Sioni

Going across the Bridge of Peace and over gives you a fantastic view
of Rike Park and the Lower Caucasus Mountains
There are many areas worth visiting in Tbilisi. I recommend...all of them. The Office of Tourism can help you decide. They have absolutely all it takes to cater to all tastes. Take good sturdy shoes, as roads can be sometimes in poor state. The place is nothing but hills too, so, hills,
Happy tourism!

Of course! Was there a doubt?

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a fun travel time in Georgia.
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