10 First Impressions of Georgia

  • Streets of Anarchy - There is no regulation regarding vehicle uniformity. Georgians drive on the left and right side of the car, depending on where they bought it. In fact, there seems to be very little regulation when it comes to rules on the road and if there are rules there is an utter disregard for them. Whether inside or outside of a vehicle here, beware. 

 

  • A City of Smells - Good, bad and mysterious, Tbilisi reeks of all of this. Whether it's sulfur, spices, sewage or the sweet smells of Georgian food wafting out of the kitchens, the Georgian assault on your nose is never ending. 

 

  • Architectural Clash - i've been told that Tbilisi has been rebuilt dozens of times and I'd be lying if I said you couldn't tell. You most definitely can. However, this architectural clash gives the city a distinct and unquestionable charm. Destroyed around 40 times due invasions or natural disasters, the architecture in Tbilisi is as varied within a city as I've ever seen. 

 

  • Open for Business - Fruit and vegetable pop up markets surround the city at every turn. Tbilisi is full of underground walkways that double as markets for anything you could imagine. Barbers, tailors, bakeries, jewelers, religious paraphernalia. You name it, I'm sure there's a store for it in one of these tunnels.

 

  • Aggressive Hospitality - One person told me that due historical aggression near their location, Georgians developed a form of aggressive hospitality and survived in this region by being incredibly friendly, inviting and warm. I can't argue with any of that thus far. 

 

  • Cat Country - This is an artistic omen. Anecdotally speaking, whenever cats and people peacefully coexist in a city it signals the presence of a strong appreciation for arts and culture. 

 

  • Take Me to Church - Religion, specifically Christianity, is unmistakably present and seems to be anything but nominal. Georgians young and old unabashedly profess their faith in a refreshingly honest fashion. One person told me that over 90% of Georgians claim to be religious, making it the 2nd most religious country in the world.

 

  • Counter-Commercial Country - Now, this observation comes from someone who's country is consumingly capitalistic and creates commercial space in any and every place imaginable, but Georgia is by and large refreshingly absent of advertisements. There is a spattering of posters here and there, but far less than I have ever seen in any other part of the world. 

 

  • Carb Counters Beware - Georgians love bread. A lot. If the dish doesn't already consist of some sort of dough related substance, rest assured, it will be served with it. 

 

  • Love Letters - The Georgian language looks like the linguistic love Child of Arabic and Cyrillic lettering. It is as pleasing to the eyes as it is confusing to my mind.