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Month: March 2017

A day in Tbilisi-Georgia

A day in Tbilisi-Georgia

We boarded our flight from Dubai International airport, Terminal 2 at 12:10 am. As it was a direct flight, we reached Tbilisi at 4:40 am. Tbilisi international airport is a small airport and we quickly cleared our immigration and the security check and were out of the airport by 5:00 AM and geez! it was very cold outside (6 degrees C).

Air route DXB-TBS
First View of the city-Tbilisi

The driver was already waiting for us and we quickly left from the airport. We had a hard time finding our hotel and finally checked in at around 6:30 AM. After a quick nap till 9:30 AM we woke up for a sumptuous English breakfast.

At 11 AM we started our Tbilisi city tour with our local guide, Sandro. Our first stop was Mtatsminda Amusement park on the top of Mount Mtatsminda. The entry to the park is free, but for rides, we have to recharge a card available at Kiosk. Hubby and I went for the giant wheel ride (1 Lari per person-Minimum 8 Lari is to be recharged) The view was just breathtaking. We took several snaps at the amusement park and headed towards the main city.

Mtatsminda Amusement park -the entrance
City View from Mount Mtatsminda

Our next stop was Holy Trinity cathedral.  This place is also called as Sameba. It is the main Georgian Orthodox Cathedral and is the third-tallest Eastern Orthodox Cathedral in the world. Sameba was constructed between 1995 and 2004.We lighted candles that are sold within the church complex.Here we encountered an elderly gypsie woman asking us for Lari, unfortunately, we did not have change, and the woman started yelling at us in Georgian 😛  Sandro had to interfere and send her away.

Holy Trinity Cathedral -Sameba

This was followed by lunch in one of the local restaurants. We tried Khachapuri, veggie pizza, Georgian lemonades, khinkali.The local cuisines include meat and chicken. Since we don’t eat beef, we ordered the chicken counterparts of Khachapuri and Khinkali. We tried the local beer but did not like it much.

Veggie pizza, khinkali, Georgian lemonades and Khachapuri

After the yummy lunch, we went on to visit the sulfur baths and a hidden waterfall in Abanotubani. The water was really cold .There was also a bridge full of love locks 🙂 We too added a love lock on the bridge. Then we proceeded to Metekhi Cathedral which is on top of a hill overlooking the Mtkvari River.

Sulfur baths of Tbilisi- On the top is the church of the Narikala fortress
A waterfall at Abanotubani

 

Lovelock Bridge
Metekhi Cathedral
Inside the Matekhi church

Later we took an aerial cable car which connects the Rike Park on the left bank of the Mtkvari river with Narikala Fortress. This ride just cost us 1 Lari. We could have the 360-degree view of Tbilisi. The ride is for 2-3 minutes and then we reached the Narikala fortress. The fortress was said to be established in 4th century BC. We walked around 1.5 KM to see the Mother of Georgia Statue. It was an incredibly beautiful statue. She had a sword in one hand and a chalice of wine in other. The sword was to defend the country from the enemies and the wine is a peace offering to all the friends of the nation. Also, there is a church within the fortress complex. One needs to wear a headscarf and a skirt( available outside the church) to visit inside.

City view from the fortress
Narikala Fortress
Mother of Georgia

We came back to the Rike park by the aerial cable and then went to see the bridge of Peace, situated over the Kura River in downtown Tbilisi. It is a pedestrian bridge of around 150m and very near to the aerial cable station. The modern architecture of the bridge was quite a contrast to locations we visited, which were truly ancient.

Bridge of Peace

[caption id="attachment_181" align="aligncenter" width="580"]

[caption id="attachment_200" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Freedom Square

Our Health chart for the day.  Phew!!

We were already exhausted beyond words. It was almost 6 PM and we decided to end our city tour. We stopped by at the freedom square for a couple of photos and then reached our hotel. We were too tired to even walk or talk. Hubby ordered some local wine and some Biriyani for dinner. It was a great day in Tbilisi and I loved it. 

Cheers!!

Georgia-Some facts and tips

Georgia-Some facts and tips

Before leaving for Georgia, I had done a fair amount of research about the country. I would like to write about it along with some of my personal experiences in this post.

To begin with, Georgia the country is situated in the Caucasus Region — the boundary between Asia and Europe made up of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Eastern Turkey, Southern Russia and Northern Iran.

Quick facts:

Capital city: Tblisi

Currency:  Georgian Lari (GEL)( 1 Lari = 1.5 AED= 0.4 USD)

Language: Georgian

Georgians call their country Sakartvelo.

Temperature: An average temperature in summer ranges from 32 °C to 35 °C, and in winter – from 1.5 °C to 3 °C.

Tbilisi was founded in the 5th Century.

Georgia got independence from the Soviet Union in the year 1991.

Majority of the population practice orthodox Christianity

Since our tour was only for two days, we only carried the essentials. Even though it was the third week of March, the AccuWeather predicted the temperature to be as low as 6 degrees C in Tbilisi and -5 degrees C in Gadauri.  Make sure you check the weather conditions beforehand.

The winter jacket, thermals, gloves, beanies, muffler scarfs and the leather boots are a must to survive the snow :)Passport, Air tickets and hotel reservation printouts are also required and it may be asked at immigration both in Dubai and Tbilisi airports.Since Dubai residents have visa on arrival facility to Georgia, E-Visas are not required.

5 Laris and few Tetris

It is better to carry some USD and convert it to Lari (GEL) in Georgia. The exchanges outside the airports give better conversion rates. USD to GEL has higher equivalent than AED to GEL.

But immigration officials may ask if you have enough currency (Did not happen with us) In case they do, it will be ok to show them the USD, around 500 GELs, and credit cards.

Cost of living in Georgia is way too lesser thaDubai. A lunch for 4(Us, our local guide and the driver) cost us just 57 Laris (. We spent 200 USD in two days (including lunch, dinner, wine for friends, a tattoo, mementos, rides etc)

It is absolutely necessary to bring Universal Adapters as all places in Georgia have two pin plug points

(type C or F), while in Dubai, we have 3 pins. Also, strange thing I noticed is their switches. It works the other way round. (Your ‘ON’ is their ‘OFF”).

We did not find it necessary to buy a local SIM card.Airport, hotel and restaurants have free wifi and it wasn’t a problem to use Skype, Instagram and Whatsapp.

My first impression of Georgian people was they were very laid back and cool. The elders looked a bit unfriendly. That is maybe because most of them do not speak English. The younger generation was friendly and spoke English perfectly fine.I was amazed to find a number of Indian Resturants in Tbilisi.

Sandro (our guide) told us that many Indians have bought land in Georgia and are into agriculture and farming.

One must be careful of the gypsies in Tbilisi. Right from the airport, we were badgered by them. They send their kids to beg the tourists for few Laris. If you refuse to give them any money, they start pulling your jackets and pant! On our way back, the police had to interfere to save us from them.

Georgian wine

Georgia is also called the cradle of wine. Their wine making techniques are centuries old. We purchased one bottle of Red Wine for 12 Laris. It was totally tasty. They have a famous spirit called ChaCha, which has 40%-65% alcohol.

Tourists who are getting wine to Dubai have to check how many liters are permissible. Since we had 7kg luggage limit in FlyDubai, we purchased 4 liters of wine from Duty-free. It came a bit costly but totally worth it 🙂

Last but not the least, carry a decent camera to capture the amazing views Georgia offers. Unfortunately for us, we had left our SLR back in Bangalore and had to capture all pictures in our iPhones.

Well! That’s  about it. Il be writing about our day in Tbilisi and Gadauri in my next blog 🙂

Cheers!

Georgia -The plan

Georgia -The plan

We were thinking of visiting Georgia for a long time. I had seen several beautiful pictures of the place in friends’ FB pages.Also, I have never seen snow before (except for in snow city, Malaysia). So this was one of the must visit places in my mind.I had enquired about the trip with various travel agencies, but the plan was never really executed.
This weekend, hubby and I were a bit free (read he did not have any calls scheduled for Friday and Saturday!) and we decided to spend the weekend outside our home (for a change :|). Initially, the plan was a day trip to Musandam, but after several rounds of discussion, we finally decided to visit Georgia.Yayy!!

Fingers crossed we contacted the tour agency in Dubai on Wednesday and asked if they could book tickets for next day.(they were really surprised by our request).And finally we did manage to book our tickets for Thursday night and also the hotel reservation was also done for three days. The charges were bit overpriced, but it was solely because of our mistake of last minute booking.
I couldn’t help but jump with joy.

Visa was not an issue because UAE residents with valid passport and residence permit are allowed Visa on arrival in Georgia. By 5 PM on Wednesday we got our air tickets, hotel reservation vouchers and travel insurance by mail. We were all set to leave on Thursday night (12 o’clock in the night) from Dubai.
Since it was fly Dubai (cheapest flight available at such a short notice!) we had the luggage limit of only 7kg per person.

We are yet to shop for the necessities. Gadauri is a very cold place, so we are off to buy new jackets and shoes for me (he already has his winter wear)

Watch out for our upcoming blogs for our Georgia experience.

Mangalore-My City

Mangalore-My City

Mangalore is my birth place. The city where I completed my schooling, college, and my Engineering. In short, it is more of an emotion. Each and every aspect of my life is linked to this wonderful place.

So I dedicate my first blog to this wonderful city 🙂

Mangalore some facts:

Geographically Mangalore is situated between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. It is about 350 KMs from the state capital, Bangalore. It is district headquarters for the Dakshina Kannada district. The total area of the city is 132.4 SQ. KM

Mangalore got its name from the deity Mangaladevi.This city is also known as Mangaluru in Kannada, Kudla in Tulu, Kodial in Konkani, Maikala in Beary and Mangalapuram in Malayalam. It is probably only one city with so many different names.

The city has all 4 ways of transport. It has an International airport, a major sea port and well-connected roadways and railway.

Mangalore is also the Education Hub of Karnataka, with over 15 Engineering (NITK, Surathkal being the rank 1 engineering college and MIT (Manipal) being second), 8 Medical, 3 Dental, 12 MBA, and 58 Graduation colleges in and around the city.

It is one of the fastest developing cities in recent times and has been included in the Smart city mission of the Government of India.

Specialties of Mangalore

Mangaloreans are famous for the friendly nature. We are very helpful and hospitable when it comes to our guests. Mangaloreans are foodie people. We love our cuisines and would choose them over any other food in the world. Cuisines like Fish Rava fry, Kori Rotti and Chicken Sukka, Chicken Gassi, Pathrode, Pundi are all worth dying for. 🙂 (Aah! My mouth is watering already).

The traditional art form of Yakshagana has originated from our city. A typical Yakshagana performance consists of background music played by a group of musicians (known as the himmela); and a dance and dialog group (known as the mummela), who together enact poetic epics on stage. Also, the Buffalo race in dirt track known as Kambala is our traditional sport.

Temples, Beaches, Cathedrals and Chapels, Lighthouses are key points of interest in Mangalore.One can easily travel to the main tourist attractions in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Kodagu and Chikmagalur districts from Mangaluru. I will be covering these places in my upcoming blogs.

Hope you enjoyed your read!! Cheers!

Globegypsies