And why you should do it quickly. I need to point out that it won’t be a long post. And it’s not my way of encouraging you to read it, as I know not many people actually read long blog posts. I would just like to make it clear that you will not find a complete guide to Georgia here.

I’ve been there twice but unfortunately both times too short to consider myself a specialist. The first time we went to Georgia in March 2015. We were motivated by my friend, Iwona, who was a volunteer there and planned to come back to Poland. And I really wanted to visit her. Then nine of us equipped only with hand luggage, packed into WizzAir and after three hours, late in the evening, we were leaving the airport in Kutaisi. And at the airport parking we had the first contact with Georgian hospitality.

The taxi drivers opened car trunks and took out bottles of czacza, 50-60% alcohol, something like Italian grappa. Nice. Worse was that they drank much more than we did and after that they drove us to the hostel. We did not have to wait too long for further signs of friendliness. When we decided to eat something before bedtime, in an almost empty restaurant, a very drunk Georgian joined us. At the beginning he tried to communicate with us in Georgian, then in Russian, and when he saw that we did not understand anything he simply kept on talking and filling our cups with czacza. Then he took one of us to his table. Piotrek almost lost his life. Unfortunately, he could not avoid the worst hangover of his life.

Kutaisi did not make an amazing impression on us, even though I expected it to be a touristic place and it was not like that at all. The next day we went for a walk to the Bagrati Cathedral where we met our guide and we took the first marshrutka which took us to Tbilisi. What a ride it was! What emotions! Overtaking on bends with huge speed. I remember that I went to sleep because I did not want to see it. In a capital of this nearly four million country located on the borderland of Europe and Asia, we walked along the picturesque streets of the old town, we took the cable car to see the statue of the Mother of Georgia, and finally we went to eat a huge supper, for which we only paid 30 PLN (7 EUR) per person. There were khachapuri, khinkali, a few variations of eggplant and a lot of coriander. However, Georgian cuisine deserves a separate blog post, which I intend to write soon.

Another nice situation took place in the restaurant, which we visited the next day. We entered the restaurant and went to the basement where the tables where, but it turned out that unfortunately there is no chance that we could sit there. When we were leaving the owner asked where we are from – From Poland – we answered. In a moment he moved his friends to the different room, he seated us at the largest table and after few minutes he set a plate with lots of khinkali on the table. And all the time he was talking about friendship beetwen our countries. From the capital we headed to Kazbek, one of the Georgian five-thousanders. We spent half a day in the village of Stepancminda, which was formerly called Kazbegi. We also went on trekking to one of the most beautiful churches I’ve seen – Cminda Sameba. I remember that when we were going down to the village, we were passing by he shepherd who were shouting to us – I love Poles – I love Georgia! – I replied and we fell in our arms. That kind of thing happens only in Georgia. On the way back we visited two attractions near Kutaisi – Gelati Monastery, which I can recommend, and the cave of Prometheus, which I recommend strongly. However, the funniest situation was still awaiting us. We had a flight at 4:00 in the morning, so we decided to wait it out in a bar. We chose the Barca Pub. At that time there was a football game between Georgia and Germany happening. I don’t have to say who we’ve supported. In the meantime, we drank some wine, we also tried to buy czacza, but unfortunately they did not have it. However, when the Georgians saw that we support their team, they went over to our table and asked where we came from. And it all kicked off. Glasses of wine filled under the table, singing, finally the owner of the pub, who explained to the taxi drivers that they have to wait for us because he has to drink with the Poles, and czacza which magically appeared on the tables. This is how I remember Georgia.

This year, we visited Georgia on the occasion of an expedition to Elbrus and Kazbek. We spent three days on Kazbek. And then, the three days that we had after a successful trip we spent on regeneration. Tbilisi made an even better impression on me that time. It’s like Warsaw Praga on steroids, so if you like this atmosphere you definitely have to visit this city. In here you will find beautiful streets with lots of pubs, destroyed tenement houses that want to fall apart., construction sites covering several blocks and lots of flea markets where you can buy almost everything. There are also estaurants with traditional cuisine and those specialized in fusion cuisine, lots of delicious wine, czacza or local kraft beer. Perfect. But this time I had totally different impressions about Stepancminda. It was impossible to resurrect the mood from three years ago. In addition, the area around the church of Cminda Sameba was turned into a large construction site, and the church will soon be accessible by an asphalt road. I don’t know who came up with this idea, but this is the last moment when car park in front of the church is not full of cars. I know that it is difficult to compare the trip in March and in August. Of course there were definitely more tourists. However, it seems to me that it is getting tighter here every year, which unfortunately has an impact on the behaviour of the locals. Apart from dancing together at the Freedom Square in Tbilisi we did not manage to experience Georgian friendliness with which we fell in love three years prior. That’s why I sincerely recommend that you visit Georgia as soon as possible. Two way tickets from Warsaw s can be purchased for as little as 118 PLN (28 EUR).