Feeling fresh and rested, I left the hotel around 10 after a delicious breakfast that included khinkali, Georgia’s famous stuffed dumpling.
I took the jammed metro to Rustaveli boulevard, ground-zero for the Independence Day festivities.Food! Balloons! Clowns! Folk-dancing!
The best shows were on the folkdancing stages which attracted large crowds.
The demands of tourism eventually pulled me towards the Old Town for a look at the famous sights. First up was the famously goofy clock tower.
The cafes and boutiques lent the pedestrian streets a cosmopolitan flavor and I loved the particularly Georgian architecture that features lacy wood balconies.
The central part of the Old Town was delightfully restored but wandering just a few streets away revealed a much poorer environment of crumbling buildings and cracked pavements.
One of the major highlights was the Anchiskhati Basilica where a wedding was in progress with men dressed in traditional Georgian costume. Boots! Swords!
And this fashionable guest dressed in a female version of Georgian dress.
After strolling Shevli street I meandered over to Peace Bridge, one of Georgia’s celebrated ventures into modern design.
From there, I was close to the cable car that glided up to Narikala Fortress.
and a wonderful view over Tbilisi.
I walked down the hill to Envoy hostel in order to book a wine tour tomorrow. Relaxing over mint tea, I thought about all the Moroccan-style cafes dotting central Tbilisi. Must be a thing.
For dinner, I wandered the side streets around Rustaveli and wound up at Veliaminov because it was crowded with locals. Good choice! I ordered way too much food again, including a very nice little baked trout and of course, katchapuri.
I love the simplicity of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions topped with cilantro and finely chopped walnuts. Why do I have to leave the EU to get a decent tomato?
Coming back on Rustaveli, I stopped to watch more folkdancing. Men in bushy hats were leaping and twirling like dervishes in an incredibly athletic show.
Coming back on the metro was a nightmare. I was squished so tight I could hardly breathe. No more. Taxis are cheap enough. Did I make a mistake with Hotel Delisi? Walking back on a poorly lit street with lumpy and uneven pavement, I tripped and went sprawling, leaving me with a nasty bruise on my leg but nothing more.