Batumi, Georgia

Last year we had the chance to go to Georgia a week, and were able to visit three cities Batumi, Borjomi, and Tbilisi. Now honestly speaking, I did not know much about Georgia until a couple years ago. But we had a wonderful trip there and would welcome another trip back anytime! As with most of our travels, we only barely scratched the surface and there is so much left to explore and experience there.

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Selfie street art.

Georgia is a Caucus country on the Black Sea. It neighbors Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Turkey. We started out our trip in the coastal town Batumi. Batumi is about a 6 hour drive from Tbilisi, the capital. Driving in Georgia is not for the faint of heart. One of the Georgian men my husband was working with told us the joke, “In Georgia you will die from 2 things: a car accident, or a Russian sniper.” [Insert wide-eyed, red-faced emoji here.]

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Batumi has such a mix of architecture; modern, European, and lingering Soviet style can all be seen here.

Upon arriving to Batumi, we checked into our hotel and were welcomed with a fabulous room. It was probably once of the nicest we’ve ever stayed in, with an almost panoramic view over the whole city. These are the perks of traveling to countries where your dollar goes far! We had some dinner and started walking around the city. It was March when we visited, and Batumi was feeling much warmer than still freezing Kyiv. We walked out to Europe Square, a square that pulls elements from other well-known European cities.

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Europe Square with a statue of Madea and the golden fleece in the center.

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Look familiar? Inspired by Prague perhaps?

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From there we went out to the beach promenade area. There is a big park that lies along the coast, full of vendors, playgrounds, and a few restaurants. We came across a man with basically some suped up power wheels and decided to let the kids go for a ride. My husband was in tears laughing at them. Neither one of them could steer it, so the guy walked around with them steering the car with a long pole. This was a few bucks well spent, we spent probably 30 minutes watching them cruise around.

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The “Georgia-mobile” was hilarious!

The next morning we walked around Nurigeli Lake. There is a zoo and dolphinarium there but I believe they were both closed when we were there. We opted for carnival rides instead. Even just walking around the city would’ve been entertainment enough. It is a great place to enjoy nice weather, parks, and the beach.

 

 

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Look Ma, no hands!

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Fun on the rides!

We had lunch at the top of the Hilton and had the restaurant to ourselves, which was nice for the kids. No worries about disturbing anyone else. And the view from the top was phenomenal. There’s also an outdoor deck for better viewing. The restaurant is also a club at night, so if you have kids and want to see the view, definitely go earlier in the day.

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Check out that view!

We didn’t have very long to stay in Batumi, about 24 hours in total. It was very quiet while we were there, this is definitely a resort town. We were there in the off season so there wasn’t a whole lot going on. I’m sure in the summer it is bustling! Even though it was short and sweet, we really enjoyed our time in Batumi!

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Tbilisi, Georgia

tbilisiTbilisi is the capital city of Georgia. It had never really been on my radar before moving to Ukraine and once we got there, it seemed like Tbilisi was the hotspot everyone was talking about. We were very excited to see it for ourselves!

Tbilisi was actually the last stop on our week long trip through Georgia. We had also visited Batumi and Borjomi prior to our couple days in the capital. Tbilisi has a character all its own. It’s old world and new world smashed together. It has a lot of charm and interesting architecture that I hadn’t seen in other places. The people we met were so friendly. It seemed like everyone wanted to talk, say hello, and smile at our kids. We even had waiters offering to hold our son and letting our daughter come walk around with them (within our sight, don’t worry). It was very fun and refreshing coming from Ukraine where the culture isn’t typically as outwardly friendly.

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We began our day at a playground at the Garden of the First Republic of Georgia around the corner from our hotel in Freedom Square. We needed to kill some time before the free walking tour we planned to take. We used to do free tours frequently before we had children and while our daughter was a baby, but attempting it with a toddler and a preschooler was going to be a little different. So we said we’d try it, go as long as we could, and part ways when the kids were done.

The tour took us into a wine shop as one of the first stops. Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Their wine is distinctive from European wines because it is stored in clay pots as opposed to oak barrels. The wine shop sounded like they were very informative but honestly I missed much of what they were saying because…kids. My husband and I took turns waiting outside with the kids and going inside the wine shop to listen and taste.

 

We were also able to go see some churches, and then about an hour into the tour it was clear that the kids needed a break. So we tipped our guide and went to lunch. If you have never had Georgian food before, you are missing out! We hadn’t had it until we moved to Ukraine, but in Ukraine Georgian food is everywhere! Some of the most notable dishes are khachapuri (baked bread with cheese, sometimes with an egg on top), khinkhali (large dumplings), and lots of different grilled meats. This is a very simplified summary of some of the food, there are so many dishes to try. If you happen to be in D.C. and want to try Georgian food, Supra is supposed to be wonderful. I’m sure it is triple the price of what you would pay in Georgia or Ukraine, but it is there if you can’t make the trip for the real thing!

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Government building with Mother Georgia (Kartlis Deda) statue in the background.

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Churches here have a very distinct look to them that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

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Our lunch stop, I always like a place where the kids can safely roam a bit.

After lunch we started wandering through the old town and eventually made our way over to the cable car station. The cable car will take you up in between the Narikala Fortress and the Kartlis Deda (Mother Georgia) statue.

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I loved Tbilisi’s architecture, especially the decorative porches.

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Before going up in the cable car, we bought the kids a snack to keep them happy. I think it worked 🙂

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Family selfie in the reflection of the cable car station. Notice the kids are too busy with their popcorn!

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Views over Tbilisi.

When you get to the top it is a short walk over to the fortress or to the Mother Georgia statue. You will also find vendors selling fresh pomegranates, pomegranate juice, daisy crowns, and more.

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The small circles are bullet holes from when Russia invaded in 2008.

Upon heading back down the cable car, we decided to go over to Rike Park. I highly recommend this park, it was modern, clean, and was nice for strolling. If you have children, this is a great place for the kids to burn off some energy.

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Bridge of Peace in the back.

There’s also some good places for photos with the city in the background.

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Gotta love the enthusiasm from our daughter!

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On our second day in Tbilisi, we walked over to the puppet theater because I had seen it on Pinterest and I just had to see it in real life. We didn’t see a show and the tower isn’t an old tower, just built to look this way. But it does make for an interesting picture.Tbilisiabroadwife

From there we went to Dry Bridge Market. This was one of our favorite things about the trip, you have to go there if you get the chance! It’s a giant flea market and art market. There was so much to see, we ended spending much longer there than we originally planned. If you are into antiques or want to find a cool souvenir, go here! I’m sad to say I didn’t take any pictures! I felt awkward taking pictures of the goods people were selling so I kept my camera away. But I’m sure you can Google it and see some pictures of what I’m talking about! It wasn’t the easiest to get around with our double stroller so if you are bringing little kids, a carrier or single umbrella stroller would be best. We ended up bringing home two pieces of art from the market, and if I’d only had more room in the suitcase, I would’ve bought more!

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Something else we would’ve loved to do if we had more time would’ve been a day trip out to Kazbegi. There’s tour companies all over that will have a van bring you out to a number of different destinations. The trip to Kazbegi would’ve been an extremely long day and we had already had a couple long days of driving so we decided not to do it. But the next time we go to Georgia, that will be at the top of our list!

We really enjoyed our few days in Tbilisi. I loved visiting here because it has a totally different feel than the other European countries we’ve visited. We loved the warm culture, delicious food, interesting wine, and charming architecture. I have no doubt we will go back someday!