Tbilisi Travel Blog

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Hotel: Kopala Hotel (Tbilisi, Georgia) $100
$1 USD = 1.80 Georgian Lari
I slept most of the train trip, and awoke early the next morning as we arrived at the Azeri border post. The conductor came and collected our passports, and finally reappeared almost an hour later when the train started moving. Same thing a few miles later at the Georgia border; we were there over an hour. Georgia had just lifted visa requirements for Americans, so we did not have to pay anything at the border. We finally arrived into Tbilisi around 12:30, several hours late. As we were leaving the railway station several street kids latched onto us, one clung desparately to my shirt as we yelled at them and tried running across the street.. I had to pinch him to let go of me! Many of the Caucasus countries have a refugee problem. Georgia has many refugees from Abkazhia, a breakaway province. Armenia and Azerbaijan still have many refugees from the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Our wallets and money were safe, but it was a bit disturbing. We found an ATM across the street, then got in a taxi ($2) for the Hotel Lile that the Aussie woman had mentioned. We finally found it after some difficulty; the street it was on was torn up and the taxi couldn't drive all the way. The hotel is actually in a good location, just across the square from a metro stop, and within walking distance of the old town and fort. They only had one room available; D+S decided to stay there while we would go around the corner to another hotel, the Kopala, which we had passed on the way in. The Kopala turned out to be a very clean and nice hotel with a great view overlooking the town, quite luxurious after the rat hotel and the sweaty train. Georgie Bush had just visited Georgia the month previously; there was a poster of him shaking hands with the Georgian president just outside our hotel. It was almost 2 PM by that point and none of us had eaten a real meal since the day before. We found a restaurant just down the street that was still open, hoping to try out the great Georgian food and wine the guide book was boasting about. Well, the food was Ok, but the (house) wine was pure donkey piss. I also had a Georgian 'lemonade', not really lemonade at all but a flavored soda, they come in different flavors like lemongrass, blackcurrant and pear, they are very delicious! I ordered a khachapuri, the traditional Georgian salty cheese pie; this one was a heart attack on a plate, a flaky crust dripping with butter, cheese and egg. Afterwards, my wife went back to the hotel to rest her heel, while D, S, and I walked over to the hot springs and up the hill to Narkhala Fort, overlooking the rest of Tbilisi below. Tbilisi gets its name from the hot springs, it means 'warm' in Georgian. Nearby was the huge statue of Mother Georgia, a tall silver woman with a cup of wine in one hand, and a sword in another.
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photo by: herman_munster