During my recent trip with my family to Caucasus region the first impression was great. On reaching Batumi, Georgia on a sunny day, I was surprised to meet very friendly and helpful immigration officers.
Next day, when travelling on an overnight train, I met a Georgian couple on the way and got my first impression of the country and its people, warm-pleasant-friendly. Perhaps my first interaction with this friendly couple may have formed my opinion about all Georgian as friendly and helpful.
Georgia, is a place with a rich historical past (as old as 4th Century), enchanting natural beauty, numerous chances of adventure and great mountains. I had planned for 10 days holiday to tour Georgia and it was perhaps the best time of my life. Rather I would say, and my family supports me in this, that 10 days may not be enough to do justice to this place.
Off late the government of Georgia has done a lot to promote the country as welcoming tourist destination and if you go there the results are there to be seen. Remember the friendly immigration officers (an exception indeed) backed by the good roads everywhere you go and en-route support infrastructure was everywhere. Some year ago, when one of my friends tried to visit the place he had horrible time as that it one had to catch an overnight train from Tbilisi to go to Svaneti region and then from Tbilisi it used to take 6 hours on bad mountain roads. But now it was nowhere to be seen and the efforts that had gone to improve was quite visible. Rather when we travelled on the same route it took us only three hours that was half the time that was expected.
There are excellent tourist support services available in every city through the Tourist Information Centres, supported by English speaking and friendly staff. They help you with tips for best place to go, to eat and to stay and also provide you with the maps of the place. In case of any issue they are also ready to go extra mile as I myself experience many times during my 10 days stay with family.
It is a small nation located on the eastern side of the Black Sea. It is in the area of the Caucasus Mountains. It has history that goes to B.C even up to the Jason, a great folk Greek hero of lolk. During your visit if you happen to be at Poty, a sea port, then you can also see his status there. During the times of ancient Greeks this country was called Colchis. Even when Ukraine was inhabited by wild tribes and there was no existence of Russia and many other European Countries, Georgia was still being a developed nation.
The Georgian culture is unique, its people are suave, like freedom, have democratic values, friendly and extremely hospitable and above all likes to be happy with their peculiar sense of humour. They not only know how to work hard and earn money, they are equally aware of the need and ways to relax and be marry. In Georgia you can see music, dance and songs everywhere you go. All of them love to take music coaching to some extent. Even the national song of Georgia gives you the echoing sounds of mountains and forests. They love to dance and their dances are full of life and energy. Their attitude towards life is just infectious and you cannot prevent but be affected by it when you are in Georgia.
The traditional Georgian attire is very beautiful. One our visit to Tbilisi we got a chance to get ourselves photographed wearing the tradition dress of Georgia. It came out great and now the family photo in Georgian dress is adorning the wall of our home.
Georgians are generally Christians associated to the Orthodox Church. This is somewhat different from the Russian establishment. But it is definitely suitable for the Georgian culture which is basically a mix of the Asian and European values. The churches are designed to be like castles and are everywhere to be seen, wherever you go in Georgia. All the cities of Georgia have a great history related to Christianity There are well known monasteries, missions and churches in almost every city. We could also get chance to see some cave monasteries build into the hillsides like the one near Vorotan Gorge with name of Tatev Monastery. There is facility of cable car to go up to this monastery.
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia is located in a valley and surrounded on all sides by the lush green forests and mountains. This is a very beautiful place. The morning is normally misty and filled with fresh air. The city is located on both sides of Kura River. Normally there is not much water in the river, except for the spring when it is always full of water. Though the river seems only waist deep but it is said that the water moves with great force and hence there were caution displayed everywhere advising people not to enter the waters.
While in Tbilisi, you are advised to explore the city on foot as was done by us. This city has its own rich past and it can be experience when you are moving slowly on foot. If you simply go around in a taxi or guided tour then you shall only see the surface and that may not interest you much. There are lots of old 18th to 19th century buildings throughout the city. The local government have taken extra efforts to preserve these buildings in best of the shapes, thus preserving the excellent wood work and heritage feel. But these building look old only from outside, from inside they are normally most modern and well equipped with all the comforts of modern life. Georgians and hardworking and know how to live the life in real spirit.
One place that we recommend for every would-be visitor to Georgia is the Sulphur bathhouses in Tbilisi. They are very popular both among residents as well as the tourists and are considered to be very good for health. There was also one waterfall at New Afon, Gagra. It is believed that if a man carries his women in the water of this fall and kisses her and if she also replies in return then they are sure to be happy for long. I also tried it with my wife and also got the certificate to be happy in return. May I wish the same for you all?
Georgia is also well known for its wine-yards and has a long wine making history. There are wine yards that are centuries old and still keeping the old traditions of wine making alive. We got a chance to visit few places and tasted wines of many varieties.
So, to close the topic let me summarise by saying in the end that undoubtedly Georgia is one of the most friendly and naturally beautiful country that we me and my family has ever visited. Though we were there for only few days, but it has left a very long lasting impression on us, has given us some new friends, made us aware of the great history of the place and given us the chance to enjoy the nature at its best. I am sure that whosoever decides to g o to this place will definitely be delighted.