A Travellerspoint blog

Day Four - in and around Tbilisi

Friday 30 August 2019

sunny 26 °C

The weather forecast wasn’t brilliant so we decided to stick around the city & do some of the things we had on our to do list. I got up quite early & went on a hunt for a bakery. I looked online & it showed a couple close to our apartment - but I just couldn’t find them. It was strange walking up and down the street with no smell of baking bread or customers hurrying away with their loaves - no sign of a bakery at all. Puzzling. I just had to give up.

We are tending to have quite late starts so by the time we had breakfast (minus bread) it was after 11am. We planned on visiting the covered market but our first stop was at our fave destination - the tourist information in Pushkin Square. We wanted to double-check where the Borjomi marshrutka buses went from as we were going to be travelling there the following day. We also found out about the best metro stop for the covered market. The TI staff have always been really helpful.

This was our first time on the metro - the nearest station being Liberty Square next to where they were filming Fast and Furious. The tickets are loaded onto a card similar to an Oyster card. The cost was 2 lari which is refundable and all journeys - no matter how far - cost 0.50 lari. That’s equivalent to 14p. The covered market is close to Central station which also gave us a chance to scope out where the left luggage is and train platforms as I will be taking the night train from there on the 13th. The trains and left luggage are both on level one - the rest of the building is a shopping mall and food court. To cross the road we had to use the underpass which was absolutely crammed with stalls. It reminded me of a Turkish bazaar - there was hardly room to move. Also, we got totally disorientated and couldn’t find the exit. Nightmare. Once we managed to escape the maze we headed to the market. The covered market is very up together but it has spilled out onto the streets so that virtually every available space is taken up with stalls from the tiny unofficial looking ones to stalls laden with fruit, cheese, bread or household items etc. Nick tried kbac - a drink sold on virtually every street corner from a barrel. We had no idea what it was. It tasted like prune juice but apparently it is made of stale rye bread. You learn something new every day. Raisins, fruit and herbs can be added so I guess it will be different depending on the producer. We also got a coffee which was instant unfortunately but the cake was delicious. No idea what was in it though.

We did a lot of browsing and came away with a coffee pot, eye shadow and a kilo of plums sold by the most miserable person on the planet. We then got the metro again to head to the flea market. The station stop of Marjanishvili brought us into an area that felt very different from the old town & other bits we had been in. Felt more French with wide boulevards. Finally, we also found a decent coffee place where they served Arabic coffee. The owner was from Egypt and very friendly. We completely misjudged the walk to the flea market - our next destination. We tried to walk along the river - big mistake. The roads on either side of the river do not make any concessions for pedestrians - there is nowhere to cross, pavements run out and we found ourselves having to walk along the road. Luckily a good samaritan stopped for us and gave us a lift to the flea market - dropping us off at a crossing so that we could get across without dicing with death. That man was a saint!

The flea market is a mix of paintings, handmade goods, general tat and soviet memorabilia. The only things that tempted me were some beautiful handmade bags and amphora and other terracotta pottery. We stopped for a drink by the river at a waterside cafe called Book corner, on the other side of the bridge from ?. I didn’t eat there but Nick and Lindsay seemed to enjoy the food and ii has a lovely setting with nice toilets - always a bonus.

Our next stop was the cable car which meant a trudge back towards Rike Park via the peace bridge, trying to retrace the route that we took to Fabrika, but in reverse. The cable car is very new and cost 2.50 lari one way. We just needed to load a bit more money on our travel card. Great views from the top. Nick had a go on the zip wire to the bottom of the botanical gardens We decided to follow him into the gardens - 4 lari per person. We were expecting something a little more beautiful as we have visited some great botanical gardens around the world. The worst bit was the walk back up the hill which was steep and longer than Thunderbolt steps in Bristol.

A Stroll back to the apartment, quick freshen up and we were out again. The craft beer sign we saw in a side street led us nowhere so we went straight to Cafe Leila on Ioane Shavteli street. It’s got lovely decor inside - a Persian feel to it. Although the food was Georgian, it had a slightly eastern twist and quite spicy. We sat outside and on hearing bagpipes, realised that the Scots were in town. Apparently Scotland were playing a warm up rugby match against Georgia the next day. There was a lot of raucousness going on! Finally, we made our way back to the Aqua bar near our apartment for Chacha and baklava before finally turning in as we were leaving the next day and our bags still needed to be packed.

Posted by Cath_Greig 11:31 Archived in Georgia Tagged traffic markets car cable tbilisi chacha

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