Posts Tagged ‘ananuri’

Back to Tbilisi

It occurs to me that I should add dates to the posts from this trip, since they are all after the fact! This one covers 25-27 Sep. I made it home Sunday 15 Nov, so I should be posting a bit more often now.

The Kartli (www.hotel-kartli.com) in Tbilisi gave me a different room this time, a somewhat smaller twin with a working TV. I had to switch beds during the night, as the mattress springs on the first dug into me, but the second was comfy enough. The Kartli could not give me a room for my last night in Georgia, though, and I revisited the old town to take a look at the Villa Mtiebi (www.hotelmtiebi.ge/welcome.htm), which I thought might be a worthwhile splurge. Between the attractively renovated old house, and the charming, light-filled atrium, it was an easy sell.

But first I revisited my ophthalmologist Marina for a discussion of my blood test. She checked my retina again – still fine – and gave me a prescription for a blood thinner. (After exchanging emails with my home doctor, I decided not to fill it.)


Although Kazbegi was still forbidden (and forbiddingly cold, according to reports), I did manage to travel the Georgian Military Highway as far as Ananuri. I loved the trip – Ananuri now sits above a lovely lake, Zhinvali, which reflects the surrounding mountains. While the lake is actually a man-made reservoir, it totally seems to belong (unlikeĀ  Lake Powell, incongruously turquoise in a land of dry red rock.) Good carving decorated the outside of the churches, and inside, for once, I bought and lit a candle before one of the icons. So, good churches and good views, but nowhere to get coffee!

Back in Tbilisi, I visited the Botanical Gardens, short on labels but long on

Mother Georgia

peace – at least until I caught up with a boisterous school group. Following them up a final steep slope, I came out beside the iconic aluminum statue of Mother Georgia (Kartlis Deda), sword in one hand and wine-cup in the other. I didn’t spend too long enjoying the excellent views, as a brisk wind threatened to blow me over.

On the opposite hill on the other side of the river, I visited the huge new Holy Trinity Cathedral, a show place for traditional Georgian craftsmanship and religion. Outside, I admired the stone carving: inside I found traditionally painted icons in traditional silver frames. A service was in progress, and among the scattering of worshippers I noticed one young man on his knees – but talking into his cell phone! A little bevy of junior clerics, in blue, were also having a quiet chat.

After I finished reserving my room at Villa Mtiebi, I ventured further into the renovated section of the old town, and ate on touristy Rue Chardin, at the Telavi Winery restaurant. Mushroom soup and tuna salad were accompanied by a very drinkable Tsinandali white wine, aged in oak, that displayed good balance and character. Unfortunately, the tuna salad didn’t go down quite as well.

That evening I asked my hotel for a recommendation for a local restaurant with reasonable prices, and found myself eating in a basement among a lot of happy groups of guys. The food was fine – way too much khachapuri, and a sizzling dish of meat with interesting seasoning. (I don’t remember the name, but it’s on Dadiani, just down from Teremok, a Lonely Planet listing whose blinis didn’t live up to my expectations – I have to go back to Ukraine!)

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