Did you know that you can simply show up with a US passport and get 360 days to stay in Georgia as a tourist? I didn’t stay that long, but it was fun to think about.
I arrived past midnight, and my hostel had set up a guy to pick me up, since the buses weren’t running. Bang on the door, wake up the employee, crash into my bed.
In the morning, I settled up, asked some questions about finding vegan food/translations, and then I was off to explore. Along the river, I saw the Bridge of Peace and then just wandered aimlessly.
I was introduced to “Lobyo”, which is a local bean stew that is vegan and incredibly delicious. A really cool Italian guy at my hostel showed me a local restaurant that became my lunch & dinner spot, because it was so cheap. We also talked to a Canadian girl at the hostel, and the 3 of us hired one of the hostel workers who 1) had a car and 2) was off the next day to drive us out to the Stalin museum in Gori, his hometown (Surprise! He’s not from Russia), plus some ancient caves from the Bronze Age where people lived, to which Georgia traces its roots.
At the museum, they have the train used to carry Stalin’s body and also his boyhood home, moved here to be part of the museum.
After the museum, we bought lunch for our driver at a restaurant serving Roast Brian. I feel sorry for that guy.
Next, we drove out to the ancient caves, going over some hills with a church on top en route.
Our next stop was this hilltop walled-in city. There was a wedding happening, and we got roped into taking pictures with everyone’s phones.
Back at the hostel, it was local dinner again, with more lobyo. Mmm.
Early the next morning, I went to the Georgian occupation museum, which is very anti-Russian and even ends with an account that the separatist regions of Georgia (South Ossetia, Abkhazia) are illegally occupied, continuing the Russian occupation.
At 10, I caught the mini-bus for my 24 hours in Armenia.
When I got back the next night, everyone went out to a bar run by some Americans who’d come with the Peace Corps and wound up staying in Georgia. Bars aren’t really my thing, and smoking inside makes things much less fun, but I enjoyed hanging out with everyone from the hostel, including the employees.
The next morning, I walked out to the bus stop and caught the bus to the airport.
Georgia is awesome. I really, really liked it.This entry was posted in Europe, Georgia, Tbilisi