No one step back

Gori is not far from Tbilisi and only famous for being the birthplace of Stalin. Long time no see Joseph!. There is a Stalin Museum, located in the Stalin Park, on the main city avenue named… can you guess it? Leon Trotsky? Milton Friedman? Nope, it is the Stalin Avenue.

As the museum doesn’t make any attempt to judge, neither I am going to do here. There you can find random stuff about the State Capitalist leader: statues, carpets, his train, lots of pictures, his pyjamas… As well, many Stalin souvenirs in the surroundings shops.

Another thing nearby you can see (or avoid) is Upshtilike cave city, just saying.

It has been already one week of traveling so let’s see how I am doing with my travel goals list:

Find the cheapest beer in town (€0.56 a pint) ✔
Hitchhike ✔
Lost/damege electronic devices (casio & powerbank) ✔
Learn local language basics:hello, thank you and I didn’t know she was 16 in local ✖
Drinking the local moonlight ✔
Going in a bus with chicken ✔
Crash into a wedding ✖
Small scam from a local tout ✔

Tbilisi loves you

The free wifi network “Tbilisi loves you” will greet you as you arrive at the airport (great for sleeping btw). The same lovable network will follow you around the city center, to make sure you don’t miss on the latest news in Venezuela, your friends’ meals on FB, or your Tinder matches, if that is your thing.

Soon I could see some of the familiar features of former Soviet countries cities: krushyovkas, marshutkas, ladas, leafy big avenues, deep underground with a lady in a cabin by the escalator, supermarkets with a larger variety of vodka and beer than food… That makes easier figuring out how things work. Sure there are some nice differentials particular to the Georgian landscape: khachapuri in all shapes and sizes, good food, and smiley people that even seem kind of happy.

Stalin Chacha, more about Joseph in the next episode…

Overall, Tbilisi is a pretty pleasant city. It has an interesting nightlife, you may just go out for a beer in the evening and be back at sunrise. There are many chances that friendly Georgians will assault you armed with chacha. I was expecting chacha to be like vodka or tequila, but it plays in a different league, closer to absinthe I would say. Chacha loves you as much as Tbilisi, just in a different way. Tbilisi is like the sweet lover you hold hands with in the park, while Chacha is more like the priest that approaches a kid with sweet talk and then… all of a sudden… becomes another isolated case.

One day I visited Sighnagi, in the wine region. There I had a guesthouse for myself to chill out and take a break from the chacha life. I was told the place is good for a couple of hours, but that is too optimistic, I would say more like half an hour. Going for a stroll to the nearby monastery may keep you busy a bit longer. It’s a pretty village and locals are certainly an endearing, laid back bunch. Sighnagi is good if you go, life goes on if you don’t.