Hotel: Sheraton Metechi Palace (Tbilisi, Georgia) $0
I had reserved an award at the Sheraton Metechi Palace in Tbilisi
for our final night in Tbilisi. The hotel isn't very convenient for the rest of town, being along the road to the airport about 8 blocks east of the Lile Hotel. My wife and I walked over this morning and claimed our bag that we had left earlier this week. The Sheraton isn't much to look at from the outside (Lonely Planet describes it as a Swedish prison); but the rooms inside were quite comfortable. The breakfast buffet was decent, and afterwards we went for a relaxing swim in the pool (we didn't wait 30 minutes!). Around 11AM I left for Gori
, my wife stayed behind to relax at the hotel.
The minibus ride ($1.50) was about 90 minutes. On arrival, I found a taxi ($14) to take me out to the Uplistsikhe cave city; similar to Vardzia. Uplistsikhe had been on the old Silk Road; although smaller than Vardzia it was more accessible. I hired a guide to show me around, he gave me a 'discount' as he claimed his English wasn't very good. He explained the features and history of the city, which had also been destroyed by the Mongols. There were storage rooms, pharmacies, wine presses, and pits where they put criminals. Afterwards, we drove back to Gori and the Stalin Museum. The house where he was born is protected under a huge temple like roof, the house itself is very modest. His bulletproof railway carriage is also here, Stalin was reportedly afraid to fly and would only travel by rail. It was getting to late afternoon by this point so I caught the bus back to Tbilisi. My wife and I had dinner on the terrace of the Sheraton watching the sun set on our Caucasus adventure.