HI I'M... TBILISI
“The fabulous land” - Alexander Pushkin, poet and Tbilisi mega fan.
And he ain’t wrong.
Sandwiched between Europe and Russia, this city is all boob-shaped roofs and fruity wines. It’s been invaded loadsa times (including a spell in the USSR), but it’s managed to hold on to all its history and character.
Do ThisThe view from Narikala ancient fortress takes some beating - the cable car up there only costs 60p.
While in town, you have to try out the traditional sulphur baths at Orbeliani (yep, they stinky).
Follow a burly attendant to the tiled bench and show her what you’re made of. After being scrubbed with kisa mud, let big Bertha knead your body til you feel looser than Pete Doherty at the 2009 NME Awards.
Dry Bridge Vintage Market is a Sunday legend - this dusty corner of Tbilisi’s old town is crawling with antiques, artisan goods and bric-a-brac.
Shuffle round the stalls past wrinkled old men playing chess and Georgian grandmas eating strawberries out of plastic cups. That leather drinking horn has your name written all over it…
Eat ThisFunicular serves up dinner with a view. Sit on the balcony for over the city. A bottle of Pirosmani and a plate of pomegranate sausage (yep) will sort that vertigo out.
Drink ThisKakheti wine is a local favourite - drink unadvisable amounts of it at Konka wine bar. It used to be an old horse drawn tramcar - now it’s where the big dogs in Tbilisi’s art and music scene hang out for bohemian chit chat and jazz.
‘Only an absolute mug would drink an incredibly strong liquor they bought at the side of the road in an old Evian bottle’, you thought just hours before.
Yet here you are, guzzling it down like the water it should rightfully be. Chacha (the local spirit of choice made from wine dregs… mmm) is surprisingly good and doesn’t tend to turn people blind. Score.