Travel Series: Georgia (The Country, Not The State) January 14 2022
Note that recommendations on the Busty Girl Travel Series are based on my opinion. I paid for the trips with my own money and I was not given any compensation nor sponsorships.
Georgia! Georgia! Georgia! Georgia is by far the most underrated destination that I've traveled to. It's amazing! There's so much to do and given the Persian, Ottoman and Soviet influences, Georgia is a unique place worth visiting. Especially if you are into Soviet history. I was in Georgia for 11 days and could've definitely stayed longer. I even met an American on a nomad visa. She worked remotely for a company in the USA and decided to live in Georgia. In terms of communicating with locals, there's definitely a generational divide. The 40+ year-old Georgians speak Georgian and Russian fluently while the younger Georgians are learning English. Most restaurants had menus in English and staff at tourist sites tended to know some English with the exception of the tour guide at Stalin's illegal printing house.
A little known fact is that Stalin was a Georgian. He gave few public speeches during his tenure as the leader of Russia because his Russian was poor. His childhood home and museum are located in Gori, which is 1.5 hours by car from Tbilisi. This museum may be triggering because it doesn't mention the atrocities committed by Stalin and instead features rosy photos of him holding children. Another site that I highly recommend is Stalin's illegal printing house, which is now the headquarters of the Georgian Communist Party. I visited this site twice (once on my own and once with a tour) and I do not recommend going on your own. You will have to give the guard 10 Lari ($3) for a guided tour, which is required for entry, but he doesn't speak English. It's best to go with a tour. Another great place to learn about Soviet history is the Georgian National Museum, which had a really interesting exhibit about Communist rule in Georgia from the 1920's to 1991. I didn't take any photos because it was mostly about the assassinations and the exhibits were sad and macabre.
Photo of young Stalin at the Stalin Museum
The sulphur baths are a must. There are several options with various aesthetics. Note that most are cash only and you should bring your own towels and soaps because they charge extra for those. Also, it's best to reserve in advance, especially if there's a particular room that you want. Bathhouse No. 5 is a Soviet-era bath that still has the hammer and sickle at the entrance. It is the least luxurious of the baths but I got the BEST scrub there. My tour guide recommended Gulo's Thermal Spa because it is the most authentically Georgian.
Bathhouse No. 5
In terms of getting around, I don't recommend driving. Traffic laws are difficult to understand and there are a lot of traffic cameras. However, if you do decide to rent a car make sure that you rent one from a reputable company. You will be approached by many people, especially near Old City, offering their cars for rent but the maintenance is spotty. Corruption has gone down considerably, but it's still there. A friend of mine was stopped by the police on his way to Batumi and the police made my friend take an officer's child, who also needed to go to Batumi, with him. You can't make this stuff up!
U.S. citizens do not require a visa.
Negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to arrival.
Public transportation is good
Magticom (More expensive at the airport kiosk. It's cheaper to buy in the city.)
Old City (touristy, but where the sulphur baths are located)
Uplistsikhe Cave Town
Mother of Georgia Statue (take cable car to statue)
Khaketi Wine Region
Chronicle of Georgia Monument
Russia–Georgia Friendship Monument
Gergeti Trinity Church
Me at the Chronicle of Georgia Monument
Me at Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument
Flea Market Dry Bridge
Sakhli N11 (amazing lemon tart)
Cafe Maria Magdalina
You must try khachapuri (traditional Georgian bread with cheese). Many restaurants serve this.