Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Georgian Vacation Round 2: Day 1 or "Unexpected Stopover" Part 2/2

To catch up on part 1/2, go here.

My sister and I head out on our uphill journey. After the path ends, there is a church and a great view of the city. But this is not the top.
I didn't even see the "do not ring" sign. Rebel without even trying.
Wish things on the way up
To get to the real top there were two options: the path option or the get-on-your-knees-and-hands option where you feel like you could totally fall off and die. I opt for the latter because I didn't see the path.
The road less traveled haha
I met a Turkish man on the way up who showed off his limited Armenian language skills and I showed off my limited Turkish language skills to even it out. Two men from the US popped out who specifically kept warning me about a difficult part up ahead that didn't exist.
You can see the US-ers being all well intentioned BUT I AM A MACHINE
When we all reached the top where a huge wooden cross was, the two men from the US let me know they had plans to visit Armenia the following year and asked me if there were really as many churches and monasteries as they had heard. YES SIRS. I gave them some tips and then we talked about Georgian food for way too long.
My pictures refuse to rotate again.
We headed back and I bought a tasty Georgian beer to celebrate and it hit the spot perfectly. We picked up Gohar and went to a small hidden authentic-looking restaurant by our hostel to eat some traditional Georgian food. It was very small inside and an older man came out greeting us in Russian and Gohar asked to see the menu and he proudly said I AM THE MENU. We asked for some things we wanted, he recommended things and it all sounded good so we sat down. He asked us where we were from and Gohar said Armenia and he of course let us know he was Armenian (Petrosyan) and that it was his Armenian family that ran the kitchen. We happily switched from Russian/Gohar translating to Armenian and got to know each other. He let his family members know and they greeted us with "barevs" and blasted Armenian music in the background while they cooked.

They brought us chai cups, a bean/dill dish, tomato/cucumber salad, an eggplant dish and surprised us with dolma (stuffed pepper style).
Beans + Georgia spices > everything else
Everything was delicious and I was glad my sister got to try some Georgian food even though we wound up in an Armenian restaurant. When we felt we had expanded enough we went in for the chai. There was a wonderful aromatic smell in the otherwise black tea and the woman let us know that they used local flowers for a little kick. We had about 4 cups each.
Before we left we chatted a little more with the family and one of them let us know that her son moved to LA but came to visit and just left to head back a day or so ago. She became teary-eyed when she talked about him since she said she gets so used to having him around and it is always hard when he leaves. Gohar said "mi dkhrir" (do not be saddened) and it made her smile. Gohar's adorable big cartoon eyes make everything better. They told us to come back so they could pull out the "real deal" in terms of food, which we had to assume meant meat.
View from outside
We decided to walk around the city to wrap up our nice night in Tiflis. I heard wonderful music at one point and looked across the street to see a man playing three instruments at once (including harmonica of course) and played all of them really well as he sang. We decided to cross the street so I could listen more closely but had to go with an underpass and I heard some really loud echo/wailing and when we came closer it was a younger guy with a small Georgian ukulele-esque instrument singing at the top of his lungs while a friend stood by him. It was punk-style singing over traditional music and it worked really well. We listened for a bit and went off to see 3-instrument man and I asked if I could take a photo:
We then saw some animal rights spray painting right by a group of boys with a beautiful husky. I wonder if the number is a vegan hotline or something.
We decided to head home about an hour and a half later to end our unexpected but very pleasant stopover in Tbilisi. While we are excited for the beaches, I don't think I will ever get bored of this city. On the way home we saw my boy, Chaplin:
This would be so much cooler if it was rotated properly
Kobuleti, we are coming for you.

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