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Dispatches from Armenia - Weekend in Tbilisi.

It started out slightly rough. The supposedly five hour marshutka ride from Yerevan turned into a nine hour trip during which my (rather tall) husband’s knees were bruised from being continually slammed against the wooden seat in front of him. Then a small child vomited all over our fellow passenger’s backpack about 30 seconds before we disembarked for the border crossing. We arrived in Tbilisi in one piece, however, and spent the weekend wandering around a very pretty and dynamic city.

Strolling through narrow cobblestone streets, it was wonderful to admire the balconied houses of the old town, the buildings that creep up into the city’s sloping mountains and the random performances of live music. The rumors about delicious Georgian cuisine are true; we constantly dined on khatchapuri, walnut stuffed vegetables and wine. We meandered through several construction zones to climb the Narikala fortress for the view. I searched in vain to see the city’s only mosque – the construction there actually stopped us from entering. And then I think I managed to have the entire top layer of my skin scrubbed off in the “royal” sulfur baths. Never have I felt so clean and so … odorous.

Couldn’t miss the Cathedral of St. George, the last remaining Armenian church in Tbilisi, also Sayat-Nova’s burial place. We arrived to find a wedding going on inside — not unexpected after having witnessed so many baptisms and other ceremonies in progress at various monasteries during the YPT trip. We also walked along the Mtkvari River for about an hour and a half in the wrong direction one day, in search of a particular market that we never actually found. A chance to observe city life as it happens, nevertheless.

The ride home was definitely shorter and smoother and I found myself quite eager to return home to Yerevan.

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