Edit Blog Post
Published: July 17th 2021
As Willie Nelson’s version of the old timey song Georgia on my Mind plays on repeat in my head ever since booking this vacation, I can’t help but accept I really don’t know much about The Republic of Georgia and I am guessing I’m not alone. We all know Georgia exists, but what else do we really remember from history class or geography lessons?
For starters, the song annoyingly invading my brain has nothing to do about with this little country at all. The song is about the American state, not surprisingly.
Right out of the starting gate, there is a bit of an identity crisis with Georgia. Am I in Europe? Asia? Eurasia? The correct answer is, Georgia is located in the Caucasus Region; essentially at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Asia. Formerly a Soviet state, it is bordered by the Black Sea, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The country is small in stature—about half the size of the American state with it’s namesake—at almost 27,000 square miles.
Though little in size and with a population of only 3.7 million people, Georgia is overly abundant in geographic variety with coastlines, mineral
springs, mountains gorges and some of the best climates for growing wine. We are here during the summer months, when every guide book advices not to be here because of the heat and humidity. It is definitely warm, but no worse than the Midwest summers I’ve known my entire life.
Despite not being on the traveler’s radar of late, Georgia boasts some notable claims to fame. Stalin was born here and his likeness can be easily found. It was once part of the Silk Road route. It is the birthplace of wine. (I know you are questioning my last sentence, but there will be more on that later!) And, Georgia even caught the attention of great writers such as John Steinbeck.
Steinbeck wrote: “Whenever we had been in Russia, in Moscow, in the Ukraine, in Stalingrad, the magical name of Georgia came up constantly…Indeed, we began to believe Russians hope that if they live very good and virtuous lives, they will go not to heaven, but to Georgia when they die.”
Better than heaven? Sounds like a place I must see.
Some quick and early observations
while in Tbilisi:
The schedules of Georgians are not anything like that of the Midwestern culture back home. The workday begins around 10 or 11 am. Lunch is typically 2 or 3 pm and dinner is served so late, I won’t even print it as my early to bed, early to rise friends back home will blush with disbelief.
Because of these schedules it is difficult to find many breakfast restaurants or cafes. Even in our hotel, the earliest time to get a coffee is 8 am. This actually has not been a big obstacle as we adjusted very quickly to a schedule that is 9 hours ahead of our home—in other words, there has been no early to bed, early to rise practices for us.
Because of COVID-19, all establishments must close at midnight. Masks are still being worn indoors and in taxis. Only about 3 percent of the population has been vaccinated, but it is apparently due to availability, not skepticism. We were able to enter the country effortlessly with vaccination cards, no testing required.
Though not officially declared, I am declaring smoking as Georgians’ national
pastime. It is hard to acclimate to a culture that chain smokes in public places, sitting at outdoor cafes and even in taxis.
If you do not like cheese, bread or wine, do not bother to visit Georgia as those seem to be culinary staples at every meal…probably even breakfast if you could find breakfast. However, you do not like cheese, bread or wine, I am not sure you are really living anyway. Needless to say, the food is fantastic, decadent and hearty. (And, thankfully, very affordable!)
My GQ reading, fashion loving husband has quickly become obsessed with Georgian men’s fashion…or should I say lack of fashion. He is convinced every man leaves the house wearing only a black t-shirt and jeans everyday, with the occasional white t-shirt and jeans. Translation: we won’t be spending lots of money men’s clothing shopping while on this trip! Good, more money for bread, cheese and wine!
There is so much more to learn about this little country and each moment makes me even more eager to explore.
**For more stories and photos about our travels, please follow along on
Facebook at Valeri Crenshaw and on Instagram at Valerispassport!***
Tot: 0.035s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 9; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0061s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb