Winter in Caucasus Mountains, Georgia



As per the internet, Georgia is at the intersection of Europe and Asia or Eurasia. For more description, you may ask google lol. In my own words, Georgia has its own beauty and uniqueness. Though it's in Eurasia, majority of the people living here are Europeans. Not much Asians like me lol. Everywhere I look, I see history way way back 4th century. From Fortress to the old buildings, monasteries, churches, cobblestone roads, cuisine, traditions and the people. They may have adapted technology but still retain most of its old traditions and custom. 

I planned this trip 3 months ahead and made lots of research to come prepared. I never had a detailed itinerary, just a few list of things to do and possible places to see. My goal is to have a stress fee, chill and no pressure trip. I booked a round trip ticket with layover in Baku, Azerbaijan. You may be wondering, why not get a direct flight? Well, aside from connecting flights are cheap on my travel dates, I like discovering new places even if it's only for a couple of hours. Anyways, going back... I have prepared a list of questions with answers that most travelers ask google (including myself) while planning this trip. 
The Leaning Clock Tower

What makes Georgia Special?
  • Tbilisi houses that was built between 19th-20th centuries.
  • Monasteries, fortress and churches
  • The birthplace of wine
  • Caucasus Mountains
  • Ski Resorts
    • Gudauri - the best ski resort
    • Bakuriani - family & kids friendly
    • Mestia
    • Goderdzi
  • The Dry Market
    • Local artist paintings for sale
    • Soviet memorabilia, vintage custume jewelries, vinyl, tableware, wool felt, antiques, etc. 
Airport Transfer?
The hostel/hotel can arrange transfer (advisable if you arrive late). The cost will be around 50 GEL. There are taxis at the airport for a much cheaper price like 35-40 GEL. It's up to you beshy which is best for you. 


Planning to Ski? 
Gudauri is the place to be.

How to get to Gudauri?
Getting there is easy. Take the Metro to Didube Station for 50 Tetri. Turn left upon exit, go down and turn right at the underpass or just follow where most of the crowd go. 

Commute options:
  • Marshrutka/ Yellow Mini Bus. It will cost you around 8 GEL. 
  • Private Van. Max of 5 people. First offer is 30 GEL per head but you can bargain the price to 20 GEL. Pros: It will take you straight to your accommodation. 
  • Private cars. Starts at 100 GEL depending on your agreement. 
Travel time: approximately 2 hours. Waiting time is not included. 
Tip: Take the seat on the right side for the best view of Caucasus Mountains.. 

Amaglebis Eklesia
Where to stay in Gudauri?
Hotels, apartments and hostels are everywhere. You can stay at:
  • Lower Gudauri - close to the first lift.
  • New Gudauri - close to the Gondola that will take you straight to the snow park. Located near the top of first lift.
  • Upper Gudauri - has a separate lift going to snow park.



View from Happy Yeti Hostel
Recommendation: Happy Yeti Hostel & Bar
  • Price varies depending on season. Check their website here.
  • Each room has its own bathroom.
  • Towels are included.
  • Rooms are cleaned every day.
  • Breakfast (starts at 9 AM) & dinner (served at 5:30 PM) are included. Menu varies
  • Unlimited tea and coffee, just wash your own cups. 
  • Lounge area is located at the 2nd floor.
  • Staff are friendly and can speak English, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and Georgian. 
  • Have the best sunrise view. 
  • Few minutes away from the first lift (via shortcut route).
View from first lift
Tandem Paragliding
Things to do in Gudauri?
  • Stroll around the area. 
  • Visit the Amaglebis Eklesia. It has the best view of Caucasus Mountains. 
  • Visit Snow Park (2 rides up)
  • Skiing / Snowboarding
  • Learn how to ski/snowboard - Ski rental per day is 50 GEL (ID/ Passport is needed), Instructor is 70 GEL per hour. 
  • Tandem Paragliding - Regular price is 300 GEL, video is included. They're everywhere, so, early bookings are not necessary. 
  • Enjoy the amazing view while sipping hot choco or alcoholic beverage
  • Try Georgian Cuisine especially the Khachapuri. 
  • Pub/ Bar hopping, if you're into it. 
  • Check out New Gudauri
Old Tbilisi



How to go from Gudauri to Tbilisi?
Options are:
  • Wait for the Marshrutka near the smart store. 
  • Wait along the highway for tour cars. If there's one available, they will approach you directly to offer their service. Don't forget to negotiate for a reasonable price (must be in GEL not USD). 
  • Hitchhike. Yes, it's normal in Gudauri to hitchhike. Don't worry, Georgia is a safe country. 


Where to stay in Tbilisi?
Khachapuri at Cafe Funicular

Fabrika Hostel is my only recommendation. For travelers on a budget and transiting, this is the place to be. Not just for solo traveler as well as for groups and family. For those altas, you can stay at any 4-5 stars hotel in the city. 

Why Fabrika?
  • Price per bed in a dormitory starts at 10 USD a night. For bookings, click here.
  • Rooms are cleaned every day, linens are hotel level (all white ang peg). Towels are excluded but has an option to rent for 6 Georgian Lari/GEL. 
  • For female solo traveler, choose the female dormitory. if you booked the mixed room, you may request to be transferred to an all female dorm (subject to availability). 
  • Lockers are provided, just bring your own padlock. Fabrika sells padlock for 6 GEL in case you don't have any. 
  • The Hostel is clean, well ventilated and safe. 
  • Common showers and toilets are clean and well maintained. No bidet but has enough supply of tissue. 
  • The recreational area near the lobby is very lively especially at night. It's a go to place for locals and travelers. Has hangout place at the courtyard. 
  • Staff are nice and helpful. 
  • Has restaurant and bar at the main building. Has co-working spcae and shops inside the courtyard.
  • 5 minutes walk to Metro Station - Marjanishvili. 
  • 10-15 minutes walk to Old Tbilisi, and City Center
View from Saarbruken Bridge

Paintings for sale at the Dry Market
Things to do in Tbilisi
Tbilisi is a safe city. The best way to explore it is by foot. Get lost and discover new places. 
  • Visit Mtatsiminda Mountain via Funicular. 2-way trip cost 14 GEL. 
  • Try Khachapuri at Cafe Funicular. 
  • Explore Antoneli Street, Old Tbilisi and Shota Rustaveli Ave. 
  • Pass by Saarbrucken Bridge at Night. 
  • Visit Dry Market near Saarbrucken Bridge for bargain deals. Local artist sell their artworks in this area. 
  • Visit the Bridge of Peace.
  • Wine and dine 
    • Fabrika Complex along Egnate Ninoshvili St.
    • Erekle II St. (Old Tbilisi)
    • Davit Aghmashenebeli Ave. (near Saarbrucken Bridge)
Power Socket

Tips:

  • Need to go to the loo? look for "WC" or Toilet. Avoid using the word "restroom" or "CR". 
  • Download google offline map. 
  • Lip balm & lotion to protect your skin from the cold weather. 
  • Power adapter. Type C. 2 pins.  220-240 V.
  • Wines and alcohol are available almost everywhere. 
  • Georgian version of Uber is "Wolt"
  • Tbilisi International airport check-in counter opens 2 hours before departure.
*Prices as of Dec 2019
k thanks bye!

Give the Gift of Learning


Once again, we are humbly knocking on your kind hearts to help us donate educational books & materials to the children of Brgy. Cristo Elementary School in Donsol Sorgogon Philippines. 

Brgy. Cristo is situated 2 miles from Donsol Town. The main livelihood in this area is farming. Though Donsol is famous for Butanding/ Whale shark attraction, not all families benefited from the tourism sector. Majority are still in farming, agriculture and livestock production.

Children in this area belong to the marginalized communities or so called lower class. They do not have enough access to education and technology therefore denied the opportunity to lift them out of poverty. Due to non-fixed income, families have limited access to children’s book and other education materials. They use their hard earned money to buy food and basic necessities for survival.

With your help, we can make a difference to the lives of these children. By donating books, you can make a big impact!

Donations can be given to the ff ig:
Donsol/Legaspi: @yanleola
Manila: @iamrantabalno @itsejsantos
Cavite: @lei_sison @blithelytravelandtours
Dubai: @emjaymirasol
Paylpal.me/happylittlehands

The donations will be distributed on May 16, 2020 to the beneficiary. There will be activities for everyone to enjoy. Volunteers are also welcome to join (at your own expense) and @blithelytravelandtours will be happy to arrange your travel. For more details, you may send us private message.




Celsius Restaurant


Celsius Restaurant
Location: Nassima Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Center District Dubai 


On my first week in Dubai I was lucky enough to get an invite in one of the 5 star hotels to experience their international buffet. Ramadan is fast approaching and in preparation for the one month long observance, Nassima Royal Hotel hosted an Iftar Special. Who am I to say "No" to a buffet?

Dry Market
Upon arriving at the hotel, we were greeted with smile by one of the hotel staff at the lobby and accompanied us straight to Celsius Restaurant. My eyes were already feasting as bags full of dried fruit & nuts waiting outside the elevator. Cheat night it is!

Will you be my Dates? 
As we enter Celsius the aroma of herbs & spices filled the air, the meat section caught my eyes and I was dancing like no one is watching. I was mesmerized by the selection of food, this gem offered a variety of tasty dish that will surely satisfy one's palate. All the food are a must try from appetizer to dessert.

Bread section
 Some of my favorites are lamb Ouzi that melts in your mouth, delicious lamb kebab, and shrimp marinara. And the best part is dessert t! My very first experience of Arabian sweet was sinful as I kept on coming back at the dessert bar, and saying goodbye slowly to ketosis. Worth the cheat as my sweet cravings were satisfied. 

Arabian Dessert 
 Our dinner would not be great without the assistance of the awesome staff. They're warm, accommodating, attentive, hospitable, and provided all our needs with big smile.

K Thanks Bye. 

Table Rock, Boise


Overlooking Boise
This experience marks another chapter of my life and the start of my soshal climbing journey. Back in the day the idea of hiking, climbing, or camping never excite me until my BFF and I climbed Table Rock during my last visit in Boise. It's not that I don't like outdoor activities, I just haven't connected with the right people to hike with. So when I saw my BFF's photos on top of Table Rock, I begged her to take me there. She said that this mountain offers a great view of the entire city. I couldn't agree more it's 895 feet above sea level.

the Soshal Climber
 The trail is 3.7 mile that features dead wild grass and flowers. Summer is over so what do you expect? lol. This trail is a very busy one, aside from hikers you might see bikers too. If you're lucky enough you might spot some hottie trail runners to get you motivated (wink wink). Kidding!

Reaching the summit in less than an hour was an achievement for a first time climber. Sitting on the edge of the cliff while admiring the spectacular view is the most rewarding part. Being on top of the mountain brought me piece, joy, and serenity. Breathing the fresh air healed my tired body and even my crazy and wandering mind. Felt like I meditated for more than an hour.

FYI: if you're planning to hike this beauty, don't forget to bring water to keep you hydrated. Wear hat to protect your face from the harsh sun. And toilets are available at the parking area. 

K Thanks Bye.

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