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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: 41.72, 44.79
1816hrs Tbilisi: Sitting on our little balcony overlooking the Old Town. Over the years we have developed a City/Town rating as follows:-
London - NewYork - Paris.........5 Horse Towns
Epsom - 3 Donkeys (5 Donkeys = 1 Horse)
Calcutta - 2 Horse - 4 Plagues and 4 Fleas (5 Fleas = 1 Plague)
Jinka - Ethiopia - 5 Plagues
Tbilisi is a 2 Horse 2 Flea Town. A mix of Turkish and Russian mixed with a healthy dose of "falling down" due to earthquakes wars and lack of investment. However, it has huge character........we have three nights to explore this labyrinth of cobbled streets,orthodox churches and fantastic markets.
Mild consternation as I discover our supply of Ukranian Wheat Vodka has been gently haemorrhaging into a dark blue pair of M & S underpants in my suitcase......I am not sure what has come off worse.........
Trouble strikes early this morning when one male group member is "ejected" from a monastery for wearing shorts. He is pounced on by a aggressive young monk who looks like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's younger brother.
Seconds later "Old Boy" is admonished for taking an illicit photo of the interior of this crumbling pile of bricks by the same ISIS style storm trooper.
He looks bewildered....
It is now time to introduce other members of our group. Let's start with the "Retired Intellectuals". They are into historic gardens of the world and are lovely but spend the whole day pointing out obvious things to each other in an "intellectual way"...... " Oh I think that's a Dexonia Spongius Plant dear"......quips Mrs Intellectual from our bus window. Mr Intellectual chortles in reply....." Yes dear but only a sub Caucasian variety"...... By 1700 hrs I have had enough as Mr Intellectual has swallowed the guide book and knows everything about everything. More to follow......
We also have a Miss Marple. A delicate and quiet granny type gently smelling of moth balls and lavender. Butter wouldn't melt but I am not so sure......as I gently rib her for wearing a pack a mac in the hot sun and 31C temperatures........only to get the "death stare" and a minor "hand bagging"...
UPDATE Saturday 12th 1800hrs: Again, I bring this blog to you from our little rooftop terrace. Today we have pounded the streets of this historic and electic tumbledown City. Tbilisi is nestled in a deep valley either side of the Kura River which flows East to the Caspian Sea.
High above me to the right is a huge Soviet Statue of Mother Georgia brandishing a sword. She stands sentinel over the City which has seen more than its fair share of turmoil in the last 100 years. Most of this has been as a result of it's defiant struggle against Russia resulting in huge suffering and hardship for its brave and fiercely proud people. Although Stalin was born in Georgia it seems that this counted for little and in the 1920's thousand we shot or deported to the gulags for pro Georgian beliefs.
The Republic Of Georgia declared its independence in 1991 after the fragmentation of The Soviet Union. As recently as 2008, trouble flared with Russia over South Ossietia. Russia launched a full scale invasion and several hundred were killed. I just wonder if this Country faces the same fate as The Ukraine and Crimea.......?
We have had a fascinating day pounding the streets culminating in a tour of a huge variety "flea market" where Cathy purchased a genuine Russian Passport of a lady born in 1935......
Tonight we head off for a "non group dinner" on our own......Hurrah!.....however .....Mr and Mrs Intellectual are ahead of the game in finding a
genuine "non touristy restaurant" ..........I spotted them surreptitiously "snuffling" out suitable establishments on our group city walk earlier in the day........grrrrrrr!!!!!!!
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