Kutaisi is not the most interesting city, in fact, it might even be the most boring city that I have visited for months. It has a large square, a simple opera house, a park and a couple of churches and thats it. The reason people are visiting is because the flights there are cheap (60eur to Budapest!) and because there are lots of cool things that can be done around the city.
I had heard good things about the wine in this region and was quick to book a wine tour costing around 20euro including pickup from ny hostel (N4), transfer to Baghdati(45mins) a four course Georgian meal with 4 accompanying wines- a great deal! The best part of it was that it did not feel like a commercial tour at all. The driver felt like my friend and the wineyard we visited welcomed us like we were family, explaining passionate not only about their wines but also about their food, history and culture.
I also met a French guy who had just bought a car and wanted to take it for a spin to Martvili Canyon. The Canyon is famous for its turquoise water and beaches where locals and tourist come to relax and sometimes have a picknick. The rock walls in the canyon were perfect for practising bouldering skills as the water provided a safe, but cold landing every time I would fall.
Originally I had planned on going to Tbilisi and not to Batumi, but as the train from Yerevan arrived at midnight in the capital and on the coastal of Batumi at 8am, I decided to stay the night on the train and to explore the city famous for its beach and party scene.
I was a bit surprised when I first arrived and saw that all the beaches were not sandy, but full of small rocks. The beaches seemed to stretch far outside the city as well, and there were plenty of restaurants and activities for the tourists there. When I was there it was really quiet though and the streets, parks and beaches were free of traffic and noise.
The Batumi rock pebble beaches
Batumi was also the first place that I ever tried wine ice cream. There was no cream in it and I think it was just frozen wine. Georgia is the country where wine was invented and it is widely drunk everywhere you go, so it was no big shocker to see it being served frozen as well.
Tbilisi is the oposite of what Baku is- a perfect city to explore by foot and every day I spent there I clocked up more than 35000 steps on my pedometer. The city is home to about 1million or a quarter of the Georgian population so the streets are always lively with music, wine and cheerfulness.
Tbili means warm in Georgian and it is probably the hot springs that gave the city its name. Sitated along the river Mtkvari river, the city did not feel as warm as e.g Yerevan and there was plenty to see to keep you busy for days.
The cable car up to the fortress cost the same as a bus ride with the public transportation card and the selection of budget hostels was great. There was lots of local eateries and people understood that friendliness instead of being pushy was the thing that worked best to attract tourists. I would say that Tbilisi is among my top favorite cities and I believe it will become way more popular for tourists in the near future without loosing its charm.
My great guide at the Tbilisi Free Walking Tour.