Before hitting the road to Signaghi, we went back to the city centre in Tbilisi. We gallivanted across the iconic Peace Bridge then took a cable car ride to Narikala Fortress. At the summit, we reached Kartlis Deda or the Mother of Georgia, holding a sword on the ight hand and a cup of wine on the left. The figure is erected on top of the hill, overlooking the city to which it signifies as a mother protecting and looking over her people.
We drove for about a couple of hours until we reached another town called Sighnaghi.
SIGHNAGHI, THE CITY OF LOVE
Sighnaghi is a quaint village in Kakheti known for its wineries, picturesque landscapes, romantic cobbled streets and most significantly being the city of love. According to our tour guide, it is known as such due to its marriage registry office opened by 24/7. He also said that a lot of foreigners are getting married here as it is hassle free, all you have to do is to present your passport.
We stayed at Mate Guesthouse for a night and we were warmly welcomed by the owner’s cheerful smile. She’s friendly and accommodating. She prepared for us a great Georgian breakfast meal and offered us a strong Georgian vodkha called cha-cha.
After getting fueled up from a sumptuous breakfast, we strolled down the town square and stopped at the mini park. The kids were so thrilled to play while we were just simply relaxing and enjoying the cool atmosphere. While driving off to Bodbe Monastery, we passed by the ancient fortress of Sighnaghi, a mini version of the Great Wall of China. They have greatly preserved the structures to this date in which it was originally built by their king as a defense to their enemies.
Bodbe Monastery is not far off from the town centre. We had a charming autumn background of the golden yellow leaves falling from the trees. It was also our first time to witness autumn and we were mesmerized of how splendid this season is.
KAKHETI WINE TOUR
We had an interesting wine tasting tour in JSC Corporation Kindzmarauli in Kvareli, one of the most popular wine producing region in Kakheti. We started the tour by tasting different kinds of wine – rose, semi-sweet, red wine and a real sweet wine. After this, the tour guide brought us to the wine factory and showed how wines are produced using traditional and modern methods. The place was exquisite. I was impressed on how wines were made during the ancient times using the traditional wine cellars. At the end of the tour, we purchased some sweet wines and cha-cha and brought these in to Dubai to share to our friends.
After sipping some few wines from the wine tours, we starved heavily so we drove off to a nearby café. We were so pleased that the restaurant we went to was serving rice. I must say that only few restaurants are serving rice in Georgia and we find that hard for us especially the kids as we are accustomed to eating rice in our place. We had a fascinating view of Ilia Lake while dining. Ilia’s Lake is named after the Georgian writer Ilia Chavchavdze.
We ended the tour in Kakheti by visiting the giant old tree located in Telavi. The tree is said to be amazingly more than 900 years old, having a width of 12 metres and 46 metres tall.
LAST DAY IN TBILISI
After that pleasurable trip in Kakheti, we spent our last day in Tbilisi. At night, we wandered around the city centre and enjoyed the cool breeze of autumn air. We strolled back to the Peace bridge and saw how lovely it is at night time. We grabbed some light snacks in an intriguing café called Face Food and bought some souvenirs on the nearby shops.
Before heading off to the airport, we visited the Trinity Church then to the Turtle Lake, situated on the outskirts of Tbilisi. It is a quiet place to go to and it said that many turtles are thriving in this lake. However, the kids were disappointed not to see some turtles. Actually, there’s nothing special about the place, except the nice view that we captured from the falling leaves of the tree.
All in all, we had a remarkable and delightful memories in Georgia. We had a lot of first times in this place – first snow adventure, first autumn experience, first time to travel with Dampil Family. The moments that we had will forever be treasured and kept.