Wine is the elixir for all sorrows ..more so if it is Georgian.
Being an avid wine lover I could not contain my excitement when we reached Kakheti. As promised by our friend from the hostel, we were hosted by a local family . It was a small house with wifi (first and most important factor ), comfortable beds and the most benign inhabitants. It is funny to say now that the experience was quite surreal for me ..substantially similar to the one I had while watching Petra illuminated by 1500 candles at night. Why? , you ask. It was because much like Petra , I never imagined myself to be experiencing purely authentic and local Georgian hospitality in a remote village of Kakheti region. I will name it a cliched “special feeling” for my future blogs. As mentioned in my first blog , traveling did give me an opportunity to be a part of people’s lives and leave a part of me with them , and this probably was the first instance .
We went for an authentic Georgian dinner to a small restaurant in the village. The food was delicious. ( Check out the American who spoke Mandarin – Per on the right , Ferdinand, licked off plates and my red wine stained smile.)
We retired for the night not before promising each other that we would wake up early to practice yoga .Needless to say , I was chosen as the teacher . (MYTH- ALL INDIANS ARE YOGA EXPERTS).
I woke up at mid day.
We started for Kakheti vineyard on a rainy afternoon . It was a short ride away from our temporary abode.
We were led through the entire process of wine making from its infancy to maturity. It was my first , first hand experience of wine making procedure. No doubt it tasted that good !
It was a thorough process which I won’t be boring you with here. However it is worth mentioning that the end surely justified the means. Georgian wine is one of the best of its kind and should be a must try on all the wine lovers’ lists. I particularly enjoyed Cabarnet Souvignon.
And as I thought our day was over , we still had a wine and cheese tasting event at a local’s house. It was a home housing a beautiful underground restaurant .
It was getting cold as the sun set, however , the wine and cheese helped. I soaked in as much as I could , still not getting over that “special feeling” , and we finally made our way back to Tblisi while defying death a couple of times on our beloved Matrushkta (explanation in my last blog ). We had dinner at a small restaurant near our hostel.
Ferdinand left to Armenia the next day and it made me realise the visa limitations of my passport instantly.
I dedicated the following day to explore Tblisi and stuck to the “touristy” things.
Experiencing the 500 metres funicular ride up the Mtatsminda mountain was my first exposure to the said means of transport. The metal tube precariously ascended.
Mtatsminda park is situated on the top of the mountain and is a heaven for thrill seekers. A roller coaster ride on a mountain top sure translates into a free adrenalin shot.
What, however, is more hormone inducing is the fabulous view of Tblisi from the peak. Check the pic for evidence.
As I was trying to get over the marvellous view , I heard a familiar voice emanating from the background. I stopped to listen to the electrifying voice of Enrique belting out “Hero” from the fancy Funicular Restaurant . With the inky blue skies above, thousands of lights decorating the ground beneath , fresh evening breeze of the mountain caressing me and my eternal “hero” embracing me (in my head) , it sure was a thrill for me.
Ahh..one sided love is not easy !
I wistfully decided to make my way back . In the funicular ride down , I , found myself face to face with a guy having distinctly Indian (read Sri Lankan , Pakistani , South American , Fijian, Malaysian ,etc ) features . We decided to dispel the awkward silence by guessing our origins and it turned out that he indeed was a US citizen of Indian origin. We had a quick chat about Georgia , wished each other luck and bade goodbye. “Traveling also hones your social skills”, I thought to myself.
As I was walking hastily towards my hostel from the funicular station I was suddenly accosted by a Georgian guy who spoke in a foreign tongue. After deciphering my confused expression he asked if I was scared and thus was half -running . He clarified that he was unintentionally following me as that was his regular route home . Totally unexpected and quite endearing ! I gave him my reason of trying to quickly escape the night cold ,for my unusual pace .Its strange how a little banter stays in your mind and somewhat gives you a glimpse of people and culture of a place. He invited me for a friendly drink of Georgian wine since I was a “guest” which I politely declined . Talk about social skills !
I retired to bed unaware of what was in store for me the next day.Details in my next blog .