Last year, one fine morning, when I woke as usual, I felt a pain; as if bitten by a bug! Then i realized that it was just like what my aunt (Ananga aunt) said, I was bitten by the travel bug! The weekend was a long weekend and I had not made up my mind as to what to do or rather where to go!
The first thing that came to my mind was to go home, to India. My wife proved me wrong and said… “use this time to explore places you have never been to”.. Quickly checked the places I can go without a VISA. I found this country Georgia very interesting. For people with a residence permit in Saudi Arabia, there was no need to apply for a VISA to Georgia.
The fever rose to a new high. I started searching for cheap flights.. found.. done. Next accommodation.. AirBnB came to my rescue as usual. And lastly who can show me around the city of Tbilisi? The answer came from a nice person, Natita, who volunteered to show me around. That was it. I packed my bags. My camera kit took most of the place and weight, as usual.
The flight from Riyadh to Tbilisi was early in the morning with a short layover in Istanbul, Turkey. The flight was half empty. The seats next to mine were not occupied and I could put out the armrests and spread out to sleep on three seats. Woke up just to shake my leg in Istanbul to walk over to the next departure gate. Again the flight was empty and I had no reason not to get some more sleep before reaching Tbilisi.
Reached my room after a bit of a confusion. Quickly freshened up and informed Natita that we could start our tour of Tbilisi. Off we went through some parts of the old city, savoring the beauty of old architecture and see some of the new architecture as well. She explained to me the story of their kings and some of the great poets and people who had built the city.
It was getting dark and the lights were coming up. So was the beauty of the night lit city. We crossed the Modern Bridge. It was an architectural marvel and the lighting was so wonderful. The theme park on the other side and the lighting of the buildings were a gift for the eyes.
Next day, went about strolling by myself. Found an Indian restaurant and got to know couple of other Indian as well there. One Indian, studying medicine in Tbilisi, Mohamed Shan, was kind enough to offer to take me around Tbilisi. So the next day morning we set off to the mountains in Shan’s car. His car was a beauty, a two door BMW. He took me to various picturesque locations and showed me a lot of architectural marvels in the form of old monasteries and houses.
We reached a place up in the mountains called Goduli. The snow covered mountain peaks were a delight to soak up through my camera. After spending some time there, we returned to Tbilisi and reached where I was staying by late evening.
One more day of strolling through the city and evening dining out with my recent friends made my day and I started to pack my bags. Shan offered to drop me to the airport. On the way went to Natiti’s work place. Bid farewell to Natiti and Girogi. On the way Shan took me to a beautiful park atop a hill.
And it was time to say bye to Tbilisi, only to plan for the next visit in 2017.