For our time in Tbilisi we had rented an Airbnb apartment, in a residential street, near the centre of the city. We took the option of paying the owner to send a driver to meet us at the airport – which was her father who made nice conversation. Meanwhile he drove like a mad-man or in other terms, like a typical Georgian driver! See a gap, take it, veer in and out of lanes and make sure you use horn.
From the outside the building looked interesting but inside was modern, spacious and quiet. Our apartment was the one at the top, with the small balcony.
It was immediately obvious that there wasn’t the same economic prosperity here as had been very evident in the centre of Baju, Azerbaijan. Here things were a look more run-down and there were plenty of investment opportunities if you wanted to renovate buildings. One obvious sign of the need for maintenance was the high number of apartment buildings that were being propped up by steel beams. And wasn’t just a single building, very often it was the entire street. Everything appeared very stable, but you wouldn’t want to be here in an earthquake.
The weather for the entire trip was generally pleasant, being early autumn. But we struggled to get entirely clear days, so when we did go up the cable car or the funicular to the hills surrounding the city, the views were not ideal, but you just have to take what you get.
The hills accessed by the cable car provided views back down over the Peace bridge, a pedestrian only zone, and the music hall. Very modern architectural installations, in a very traditional city.
One of the other recent builds is the golden domed cathedral visible from all the hills around the city. While is is impressive in size and style, the interior was lacking in individual character, but there were plenty of devout worshipers. Entering Orthodox Christian churches I almost always needed to cover my head: that was made easy because I was wearing a hooded winter jacket, so just needed to put my hood up. But at the cathedral I was required to wear a skirt as well – large scarves and wrap around skirts at the door were the solution provided.