Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Nino and a fine Georgian breakfast

On the 25th July 2008 we set out for our return visit to Georgia. On this occasion we had good Georgian friends who were keen to see us return and of course offer the renowned Georgian hospitality. In 2008 Georgia was an expensive five hour flight from the UK and as a result English visitors were a rare commodity and as such cherished. Before we could immerse ourselves in all things Georgian, we had to get there. Moments before our plane was due to take off from Heathrow our BA flight crew ‘discovered’ in the seat behind us two Spanish Terrorists. After a 1.5 hour delay and airport police bristling with machine guns the two sheepish Spaniards were escorted off the plane.  My wife Melissa swore she saw knives but all I could see was the exceptional scar on one of the chaps face. Now we were ready for our Georgian adventure.

On arrival in Tbilisi our wonderful friend Nino Simona pitched up the moment we arrived through customs, brilliant timing. Georgians never waste time in they can be doing something else. So waiting diligently and suffering every moment waiting in a queue is simply an anathema to Georgians, especially Nino who swept us off our feet with the style and grace you would expect from a Parisian. The difference was her car wouldn’t start. In 2008 cars were often old in Georgia and invariably held together with string and tape. The memories of their sleek trouble free past were held by previous owners, most likely in the west. Never down cast, Nino made a call. Georgians love their mobiles and I swear they would part with the family silver before parting with their mobile (cell phone). The message from the mobile was the battery in the boot may be the trouble and of course this advice was correct. With a waggle of the terminals the Mercedes burst into life and we were off.

Melissa started to count the red lights we jumped as Nino hurtled through Tbilisi. In those days traffic lights were for wimps and Nino, like so many Georgians, was not about to become one. In 2015 the story would be very different. Seat belts are now commonplace and traffic has quietened down which makes life a great deal safer but removes a level of uncertainty which I miss.

We had only driven through Tbilisi from the airport and already the world was changing before our eyes. The fun part was yet to come.  

After a magnificent breakfast, a feast fit for Kings we set off to experience the delights of Tbilisi which has some truly amazing museums, one of which is the second largest collection of Icons in the world. The new gold artefacts collection is world class but the place for us has to be the Turkish baths.

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