I forgot to mention that last night we had such an awesome night wandering around Tbilisi!
We had gone out during the day, but with the crazy heat it wasn’t very busy, and it was hard to keep going for very long. We did manage to stop and eat some more Kinkhali for lunch – we’re both definitely getting the hang of how to eat them. Dad describes them as inside-out soup, which sort of makes sense. They’re like little pockets of delicious broth and meat or mushrooms. We assumed they added the broth, but we learned today that the broth comes out of the meat naturally, which probably explains why it’s so delicious.
We also made it up to the famous Sameba Cathedral what we can see from our hotel room. It’s seriously huge. It’s impossible to describe how massive this cathedral is. The inside is really empty, almost as though they don’t know what to do with all the space, but its size makes it spectacular. It was cool to wander around and see how people interacted with the space – anywhere like a church or a mosque it’s interesting to see how people act and how people are emotional about the spaces.
After cooling off for a bit in the evening, we hit the town after dark. Tbilisi is an entirely different place at night, and it’s a place I really love. I guess because it’s so hot, people come out at night, and the whole city comes alive. There are kids running around and people drinking and smoking outside and all sorts of socializing. We started our night with dinner at a little basement bar called Racha. It was described in our Lonely Planet book as a duqanii, which translates to a little, cheap, traditional basement eatery. It was a total hole-in-the-wall place, and even though the menu was on a board in the georgian alphabet only, we managed to order some kinkhali and potatoes, and I tried their beer on tap. It was all delicious, and we were totally stuffed after three kinkhali each.
Wandering around town at night had this really special feeling – everything is lit up, so it’s easy to see your way around and it feels incredibly safe. We haven’t come across many tourists this whole trip, but the locals were everywhere, and it was really cool to see how they spend a Saturday night. There was outdoor dancing in the square with loud music blasting, and kids playing in this beautiful playground all lit up right below the massive fortress, also lit up, and hundreds of restaurants and bars.
After wandering around, we sat down for some wine. First we got a glass at a little wine shop a little ways out of the way of the main drag where we’d gone earlier in the day and met George, a young edgy twenty-something with a cynical but interesting view on Georgia and wine. We chatted with him for a bit and sampled some wine, before settling up and heading back into the main restaurant/bar area for a drink in a livelier setting.
We settled into the perfect table for people watching at a place boasting a 17th Century wine cellar. The guy who runs it was super friendly, and offered us Lithuanian parmesan to eat alongside our dry rose. He paired them perfectly – it was absolustely delicious. From what I could tell, we were the only people who weren’t Georgian, so it was cool to be a part of that nightlife and see what people do here after dark.