Day 2, The Cheese Volcano, The Man-Rub, The Mosque and The German Girls
Tbilisi Travel Blog› entry 3 of 8 › view all entries
I think I must have commented to my friends about how un â€śGeorgianâ€ť our food was, because the next day, very first thing in the morning, they took me to a place that sold the cheese volcano, a food that is by far one of the most unhealthily delicious things I have ever eaten.
The cheese volcano is a type of traditional Georgian Kachipuri (hopefully I spelt that correctly), which means that it is bread with the normal kachipuri cheese. This type of cheese was slightly sour, semi-melt able and fresh, I think (Iâ€™m not a cheese expert at all, I just like to eat it).
Either way, this wasnâ€™t your normal kachipuri. Imagine a medium sized loaf of bread shaped like an oblong caldera with the crater full of cheese and half a stick of butter. Now, imagine an egg fried over the caldera. This is the cheese volcano , caldera-bread filled with eggbuttercheese.
We all ordered the second to smallest version, and none of us could finish it. I ate about 2/3rds of mine and I think that my heart would have exploded on the spot if I had finished it.
High on life and full of eggbuttercheese, we went to explore more of the city. Our goal was to make it to some Turkish baths, which should have been no more than an hour of walking, but we kept on stopping at houses of worship from several different faiths.
Note: the traditional name for this type of bath is â€śhamam.â€ť
Our first stop was in one of the most beautiful Orthodox cathedrals I have ever seen. I found it interesting that there were dozens of people inside praying and visiting the shrines of all the saints. I was impressed by how religious the Georgians seemed there.
We visited a Jewish synagogue next, and then an Armenian Orthodox cathedral afterwards. They were both interesting, but then, suddenly, we found ourselves at the hamam and we went inside for the man-rub.
To explain things, the man-rub was a long time coming. John, Charlie and I had spent an evening looking for a hamam in
So there we were, the three of us, sitting naked in a sulfur bath. We had paid for the full hour and for the special treatment, which meant that we were getting a massage from a man, or, a man-rub.
I was the lucky one to be first in line. The man slapped his hand on the marble slab, which indicated I was to lie down on my stomach. He took some sort of rough pad and started scrubbing me vigorously. He systematically scrubbed every part of my body from my head all the way down to my feet. Then he turned me over and did the same thing.
To be fair, it seemed completely natural, and it wasnâ€™t uncomfortable at all. Besides that, the massage was relaxing. At this point he was alternating pouring hot and lukewarm water over me and I was probably as relaxed as I have ever been.
He then turned me around and did the same thing, but with foamy soap, following the same process as before. I finished by taking a lukewarm shower as the masseuse moved on to the other two.
I had been man-rubbed. I donâ€™t think I have ever been cleaner in my entire life.
It is interesting to note that the masseuse came in wearing underwear, but at some point took them off. Iâ€™m not sure when or where that happened, but we were four naked men in a hamam.
Quick note: I donâ€™t know if this was a Turkish bath or an Islamic bath. Both of those terms seem to fit and might be the same thing. If anyone has an idea about this, let me know.
Later that day, after leaving the hamam, we kept on exploring the city. We found our way up a hill and into a mosque. Of course, excited about visitors, the imam (or mullah, he answered to both), came out to greet us. He started speaking to us in a broken English about the different parts of the mosque area. We started talking back and forth and soon found out that he was an Azeri born in
First off, he was very interested in name dropping. He talked about all of the religious leaders he was friends with. He mentioned Cardinals from the east coast of the
I took a risky move when I asked him about how Azeriâ€™s in
Of course, this got him ranting about
He was frank, he was candid and he made sure to let us know that he loved the Doors and the Rolling Stones, but that he didnâ€™t grow up listening to Michael Jackson.
After that experience, we went down to see an English movie and by chance met a couple of German girls. By â€śby chanceâ€ť I really mean that I started talking to them.
These girls were really cool and we got to know them a bit better over drinks after the show.
We then went to McDonalds to eat, which was lame.