It was winter in Dubai (yes, they call it winter here at 14-23 degrees Celsius) when my friends and I decided to try scouting on chilly places. Being raised in a tropical country, the Philippines, makes us always wonder how it feels like to be in the snow. Then one day we spontaneously decided to book tickets, accommodations and requested for 3 days off.
We arrived at Tbilisi International Airport at 5 in the morning and it was our first time to see, feel and taste the snow! Call us innocent, but there is always a first time and it felt so wonderful!
Gudauri, the ski resort in Georgia, is a 2-hour drive from the capital, Tbilisi. We were picked up from the airport by our guide and headed directly to Gudauri bracing the -12 degrees Celsius weather.
It was already morning yet it was still dark and gloomy. Sunrise in Georgia starts at 8 or 9 by the way.
I never thought that snow is quite complicated. Aside from the thick and bulky clothing you are required to wear, you cannot stay outside the car for too long or else you will freeze. The roads get so slippery that walking requires an extreme effort! We hurriedly went to our accommodation since we desperately needed a warmer. Talk about frozen toes while singing Justin Timberlake’s “I Can’t Stop The Feeling”!
Hotel Alpina was where we stayed in Gudauri and I highly recommend them! The location is at the peak of the mountain, yes alpine it is! They don’t have lifts though so you can ask assistance for your luggage towards your room in case you need them. At last the snow has stopped after breakfast and some snooze so we went directly to Gudauri Ski Resort. Again, they don’t have meters for the taxi/cab here so you need to deal for a fixed rate.
Skiing in Georgia is best during December to April. Speed riding and paragliding were also the highlights yet we lack time. The cost of the cable car is a cut-price at 5 GEL or 2 USD and the ski rental is only 25 GEL or 10 USD! The slopes of Gudauri Ski Resort is considered to be best for free riders and is avalanche-safe! Well at least we have some peace of mind on that part.
It is not easy to be out playing in the snow for hours, good thing the locals are kind enough to help us warm ourselves with their electric warmers inside their shops whenever our hands and toes start to get numb. It’s not easy actually, I don’t know how the locals could handle the freezing cold.
After several hours of indulging ourselves in the thick ice, we went back to Alpina Hotel wherein our dinner was ready. I never appreciated the fireplace not until this time when we desperately needed warmth. Human blanket, perhaps? Lol.
This was how lovely our dinner was set. It was quiet, warm, and fulfilling. We had lamb, chicken and oh the grape sauce was new to the palate. Yum!
It was time for breakfast. Jessa was calling me and Lorraine to head downstairs for some food. What struck us the most was the sunrise! Sunrise over the alps is magical. These, these type of experiences are meant to be savored; it makes you think how wonderful the world is and that there are countless experiences we need to indulge ourselves into, just waiting to be explored. (As of writing, I am shamelessly uploading our video on instagram regarding this sunup. A just woke up face and no decent wardrobe: shameless.)
Road Trip to Tbilisi
We were picked up from our hotel from a driver in Tbilisi, and we were told that he will be dropping us off on places where we can have photo ops! Cool!
These images below are snippets of our road trip to Tbilisi.
Ananuri is a castle in Georgia about 45 miles from Tbilisi. The fortress consists of two fortifications joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari, is well-preserved. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins.
This Kantsi (horn) where I am holding is a traditional Georgian drinking horn in drinking culture, typically made from ram or goat horns sometimes also from bull horns. We were also able to don the traditional Georgian fur hats called Papakha and coats made of sheep wool. In the ancient times, people would shred the wool of the sheep and make use of it especially in terms of apparel. Boy, their coat was really warm! In a mountain where the temperature is below zero, you really need to be heated or else you’ll not survive.
Here are some of our snapshots in the Ananuri castle.
Tbilisi is the capital of the country of Georgia. Its cobblestoned old town is a sight to behold. Its diverse architecture encompasses Eastern Orthodox churches, ornate art buildings and Soviet Modernist structures.
Dolls in Georgia are all unique with intricate beadwork and stitching. Many of the dolls wear traditional Georgian clothing of the various regions of Georgia. Likewise, their wines are all dolled up too!
Wines and Chocolates
Speaking of wines, oh my they are very cheap! Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world and they have been producing wine for over 8,000 years ago. How cheap? well let’s say AED 10 per bottle or USD 2.70! Chocolates, on the other hand are remarkably low-priced too! Quality wise, they are superb! I may have been using a lot of exclamation points here but I am telling the truth, their chocolates are to die for!!!
Who says hoarding is illegal? 😉
The Bridge of Peace
The Bridge of Peace is a bow-shaped pedestrian bridge, a glass construction illuminated with numerous LEDs, over the Kura River in downtown Tbilisi. At night, it displays the flag of Georgia with red and white lights. Why was it called that way? I have never fully known.
Georgia at Night
I never thought I would fall in love with Georgia at night. We had a sumptuous dinner (I forgot to mention their restaurants are not pricey too), a stroll along the busy street, and a sweet wine to cap off the day.
What a spectacular sunrise view we had on the last day of our trip! You be the judge.
These are the flashbacks we had in Georgia. It was short but sweet. I never got the chance to learn a single word of the Georgian language since most of them can understand English. It was a lovely 3-day holiday with my girls/family and we enjoyed it a lot.
Muscle pain from the skiing will fade away, but the memories will always be there to stay. 🙂
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