"charmed by Tbilisi...." T'bilisi by ellielou

T'bilisi Travel Guide: 503 reviews and 1,598 photos

....and really don't know why!

Tbilisi. I've said the word over an over. I think it sounds nice--Ta-bleee-zeee. (Although, that's not really how it's pronounced.) I don't really know what it is that made me want to come to Georgia at all, but it probably started some years ago with a taste of Georgian food. (Some friend brought over a Georgian-inspired salad, complete with walnuts and cilantro. It always starts with the food. Then a Georgian restaurant last year in Chicago....)

Not everyone likes the city. When I talked to some of the very few other travelers I met there, they looked at me as if I were nuts (walnuts?) for saying that I was charmed with the place.

I still don't know what it is. But, it's gone beyond the name. It's an attractive place. It's elegant and crumbling at the same time. It has remnants of almost three-quarters of a century of Soviet-rule, and remnants of others who've set up shop there.

The people are great, even if, when I didn't understand Georgian, they switched to speaking Russian (which I don't understand either!).

And, the food. Yes, the food.....

being off of the tourist path....

...is just incredible. You really never have to worry if something is targeted 'for the tourists' because, well, there really aren't (m)any! And, if that weren't enough, they LOVE the U.S.A. and Americans. (And, believe it or not, that even sometimes extends to the country's elected leaders!)

It's not only that they love the US, some older people still have a fondness for Stalin.

At some point during my trip to Georgia, I had the thought that Georgia was more different from the US than any place I'd ever traveled. I mean, I felt that I was more off the beaten path, and further away from home than in any place I've ever been., including being in a place like Northern Laos.

Again, I can't quite put my finger on it. This time, I don't think it's food. I think it's something historical and cultural.


Living up to her VT name, here is photonina, or Nino (actually not in Tbilisi, but in Davit Garja), with her camera in hand.

Not only was she smart, funny, witty, and charming, she lived up to all the advanced billing regarding that famed Georgian hospitality, and really helped to make the trip incredible!

Thanks, Ni!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:elegant, crumbling, far off the beaten path
  • Cons:infrastructure isn't what it could be.....
  • In a nutshell:you either 'get it' or you don't!
  • Last visit to T'bilisi: Oct 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (18)

Comments (36)

  • ninimetreveli's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Great pics!!! miss xinkali!! :(

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Feb 25, 2009 at 2:12 PM

    Ellen, fantastic page with brilliant photos of Tbilisi, which is still on my must visit list. I especially like your very practical tips. Well done.

  • Rumi-fan's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2008 at 3:26 AM

    There is something quite beautiful about 'old'. Lovely pics.

  • frankcanfly's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2008 at 8:07 AM

    I'm in T'bilisi!!!!

  • jojopisek's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2008 at 9:42 AM

    Very good but very touristic... It is a good place to taste your first kachapurri...

  • Basaic's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2008 at 3:05 PM

    Really enjoyed your T'bilisi Pages and Tips.

  • GyuriFT's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2008 at 6:30 PM

    Great pages about Georgia! - According my mom: "Georgian food is the best". I won't object it! - LP has also constantly poor advices regarding trains in Europe and CIS. - McDonalds is/was in many countries of ex-YU and we know the sad past.

  • matt10gonzalez's Profile Photo
    Oct 22, 2007 at 1:27 AM

    Oh yes! I love to go to Georgia one day! In fact, I'm enticing my mom if ever we go to Turkey if maybe we can detour a bit to Georgia! I'll show your page to her!

  • grets's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2007 at 12:24 AM

    I remember that awful Borjormi water from the old days of the USSR, the type that was so full of minerals that you felt you could stand a spoon up in it. I hated it!

  • vesna04's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2007 at 2:01 PM

    Very nice page indeed! Lovely pictures as well.


“The taste is completely different from a gummi bear, yet somehow familiar.”

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