Choosing traveling destinations that general Chinese public would not pick have grown in me in recent years. As I have already set my footprints in the mysterious Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, I decided to blaze my trail to a whole new area – the Democratic Republic of Georgia.
One would have to go through Georgia in the ancient Silk Road and the modern Eurasian Corridor. Georgia has a fascinating culture and history of three thousand years. It sits at the Midwest of the North Caucasus Region, at the borders of Europe and Asia. It has Russia at its north, and is next to Azerbaijan and Armenia at the southeast and south respectively; connecting with Turkey at the southwest. The country’s area is 69,700 km2, with 80% being mountains, and 50% of the land located at above 1000m of sea level.
When I first arrived at the capital of Tbilisi, I was struck by how fine the little town visually is. Unlike cosmopolitans like Hong Kong and Shanghai where skyscrapers are everywhere, the city’s architecture of Tbilisi blends into its natural environment in harmony. Here you would see mottled ancient walls, curvy narrow pave ways covered with cobblestones; and a quaint little coffee shop sitting at a street corner, filled with aroma and showing its unique charm to every visitor walking by.
After the Former Soviet Union’s collapse and the conflicts between Russia and Georgia in 2008, you could undoubtedly sense the country’s attempt to get rid of any Russian influence. Young people no longer take the ability to speak Russian as a pride; and in the contrary, English and other European languages, together with Chinese and Japanese are increasingly gaining attention from local students.
Something you must mention about being in Georgia would be its wine industry. Georgians have a profound history of planting grapes and making wine, such that historians had discovered evidence of locals drinking wine from eight thousand years ago. In Georgia almost every family has their own home-made wine, and almost everyone loves drinking wine. Consumption of wine is far greater than any other alcoholic beverages including beer. Georgian’s wine-derived culinary culture and their customs to take good care of travelers make the country a very special one.