Hello! It’s been a week since we last posted and we have so much to tell you guys! Our trip to Georgia, for fall break, was more amazing than any of us had expected. As we mentioned in our last post, the change of plans from Russia to Georgia was totally sudden and our study abroad office had about less than a week to plan this trip for us. I don’t know how they pulled it off, but they SOO did! I’m so thankful for the opportunity to go to Georgia.
We started off with one night staying at the airport in Vilnius. We had to be at the airport the next morning super early for our 6am flight. Once we were approaching Kutaisi, Georgia in the air, we immediately were emerged in beautiful mountains. It was such a beautiful sight, and the pictures don’t do the views justice. We got to explore the cute city of Kutaisi. While there we rode a cable car up to an amusement park, visited Bagrati Cathedral, saw the Colchis Fountain and of course tried Khachapuri! Guys, khachapuri changed everyone’s lives on this trip. We ate so much that some people got physically sick from them! If you don’t know what Khachapuri is, your missing out and you need to google how to make it for dinner tonight.
On our trip to Tibilisi, we had an all-day bus ride along with making lots of stops on the way. We visited the Gelati Monastery, which had a beautiful view, the Stalin Museum, where we found out that one of our students looks a lot like Stalin when he was younger, Uplistikhe Cave City (my favorite thing from the trip), and Mtskheta which is the old capital of the Georgian Kingdom. Then finally we made it to Tbilisi where we found our amazing hostel with lots of cool, hip food options *and more khachapuri.
While in Tbilisi we had the opportunity to take a back street tour of the city. We got to see the community of the locals and their living conditions. It was amazing to see the friendliness and hospitality that they have for each other. We also got to visit a musical called “Welcome To Georgia” that displayed the welcomeness that Georgians have towards the guest. They are people driven. If they have a guest come to their home their guest is first always. They prepare big meals for the guest and overwhelm them with love! We got to experience the traditional Georgian meal that they make for their guest called Supra, which of course had more khachapuri.
Tbilisi had many sights for us to see. We got to visit beautiful churches, bridges, parks, museums, fortresses, and markets that sold Churchkhela. Churchkhela are nuts that are threaded onto a string, dipped in thickened grape juice or fruit juices and dried in the shape of a sausage. There was even an opera that we got to attend that was called “Keto and Kote” which is the Georgian version of Romeo and Juliet! Tbilisi is truly a city that has things for everyone to do!
We had the opportunity to also make it to the Kazbegi region (MOUNTAINS). We road up the mountain on an old Georgian military road stopping at the Ananuri fortress, and eating Khinkali, which is Georgian dumplings with meat inside. Once we reached Kazbegi, we went even higher up the mountain (5033 meters above sea level) in jeeps to the top where the Gergeti Trinity Church sat. The view of the mountains was insanely beautiful.
Overall, our time in Georgia was more amazing than any of us would have expected it to be. God showed us a culture that we would have never truly understood without him changing our path. We learned from the Georgian culture that we should thrive from other people and making them feel welcome when they come to us. We should be like the Georgians and care for others becuase as our Georgian guide said, “People thrive off of other people. If we don’t have friends or family then we are nothing.”
We also learned from Georgians that khachapuri is the best food you will ever try. Even if you never get to visit Georgia you still must try this amazing food!