During my stay in Tbilisi, I had the opportunity of discovering the famous Georgian cuisine. Dinner at a local restaurant hidden in the mountains, overlooking an astonishing view. Georgia is renowned for its delicious traditional dishes, particularly their distinguished dumplings, called khinkali. Unfortunately, my interest in khinkali ended abruptly at the beginning of my Georgian holiday as I foolishly decided to scavenge several of them in one sitting.
Which happened after too many glasses of wine, much to my waiter’s amusement! The informative waiter then announced that Georgian men show off their masculinity by eating as many khinkali in one serving as possible, my excuse being tipsy!
Georgia is one of the oldest wine districts in the world and a leader in exporting wine to the Western world. Tourists will find plenty of opportunities to take a tour to the many wineries scattered throughout the country. I decided to take a tour of ‘Winery Khareba’, who produce wine using both the ancient methods combined with modern technologies.
Wine-tasting is a must when visiting Georgia. This can be quite expensive depending on how much wine you’re planning to test, so keep in mind – there’s no harm in having a bottle of the local wine in the city with a friend before the tour begins!
Bottles of wine are sold everywhere in Tbilisi, a huge variety at a bargain price than what us Westerners are used to. This spur of the moment plan saved us a lot of money at the winery tour while also resulting in the tour being that bit more exciting!
The nightlife in Tbilisi is a lot different than what I am used to. I tried out numerous bars and clubs but each one was as shady as the next. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place in Tbilisi but I’m pretty sure I tried out every bar possible. During the day, we were welcomed with opened arms, whereas at night, the atmosphere changed drastically. Pick-pocketing is something to be weary of, especially at night, but I suppose this can be said for any country nowadays.
At night, I found numerous Georgians can be quite opinionated and rude to tourists. Georgia is also one of the world’s most homophobic countries. As there weren’t many Western-looking girls in Tbilisi at the time, my friend and I were quite uncomfortable at times in bars.
Prostitution is a huge deal in Georgia and it’s clearly a growing problem. Sometimes non-Georgian girls can be seen as being promiscuous even if you’re just standing there minding your own business. What we call ‘stalking’ has an entirely different meaning in Georgia, to them it is just another way of expressing their curiosity about you.
The only positive outcome of partying in Tbilisi was my discovery of Chacha, a strong alcoholic spirit (between 40%-65%) made of the grape residue left after making wine. This is just as plentiful as wine in stores and you can’t leave Tbilisi without giving it a taste!
Out of all the countries I’ve travelled to, I felt the most unsettled here but luckily the impression I acquired during the night time didn’t affect my overall view of the beauty of this country. The hospitality and friendliness of the people and staff I met during my visit outweighed the view of Georgians I witnessed at night.