We slide in to the traffic of the metropolis through its main artery, which soon takes us to Mtkvari river in the old town of Tibilisi. We park up for two nights next to a casino, at the car park of “Mira”, a hostel just by the glass made
Bridge of Peace. This is a brilliant spot, within walking distance of all the major sites. We pay the seemingly seasoned and polite valet a fee of 30 Lari, equal to around €11 and he watches our motorhome like a hawk!
Out of all the major
cities we have visited in Europe, Tbilisi certainly stands out the most. The murky streets of its old town are filled with deteriorating houses, the wooden, decorative balconies of which bare a sad reminder of the glory days of a by gone era. Something about
this place feels similar to Havana, Cuba. There are lots of historically valuable sites here and they have gone through a fair bit of renovation work lately, funded mainly by money from the west. Construction work for skyscrapers is under way and some already
completed, weird and wonderful architectural creations, such as a pair of gigantic metal tubes, remain empty, awaiting a purpose for use.
We spend two days walking around the hot, multicultural home city of about a million people and among other things
we photograph several old churches, the St. George Statue, the town hall, a mosque, a synagogue and the cathedral. We spot a precariously lob sided, colourful clock tower that is leaning on a metal pole for support. As we sit down on a bench next to it a little
hatch at the top of the tower opens and an angel pops out. The angel is holding a sledge-hammer and he rings the bell with it one solitary time. It’s 1.00 pm.
We journey up the hill in a trolley lift, which drops us off at Vake park situated next
to the television tower. The view over the city is spectacular! The temperature hovers around 37C so it’s lovely to sit at the park café and enjoy some cold refreshments. There’s an amusement park here too and its old ferris wheel is the
symbol of Tbilisi.
On our second day we find ourselves swinging in the air in a cable car as it takes us to the ancient Narikala fortress just by The Mother of Georgia statue. In the evenings all the different churches, fortresses and statues
are lit up and they look superb shining in the dark all around the city!
As we walk along a small side street in the old town we come across an elderly lady dressed in a floral dress and wellies. She is just watering these splendid hydrangeas
that radiate purple into the grey and grubby walls in the background. The lady asks us where we are from in Russian and once she hears that we are from Finland she lights up and invites us to a tiny little art gallery, her home. Her house is a modest, run
down, drafty little place with an odour not dissimilar to that of a cellar. She proudly presents her own artwork to us. She has painted beautiful pictures of nature and animals onto the unbroken parts of the walls! This mysterious old lady’s somewhat
regal domeanour hints of explicable taste and a past in the social elite. We find out that she used to be a talented violinist! This lady has lived through the ever changing seasons of her home town: the wealthy soviet years, the Tbilisi massacre, Georgia’s
independence, the collapse of the economy and the rose revolution