Day 3- Gori & arrival to Birjomi!
How could I ever go to Geogia without visiting Stalin’s birthplace? Well this is what I did! At about 90 Km from Tbilisi we drove there and we visited first the Fortress, a massive monument on top of a hill with a beautiful panorama! It was built in the XIII century to control major strategic and economic routes and accommodated a large garrison. At the bottom, a modern sculpture of sitting armored knights with swords. A guide mentioned it was a symbol for war and peace with warriors ready to fight at any time. I’m not sure about that but it was quite unusual and well designed!
We walked further to Stalin’s museum, a few steps from the fortress and the first thing we saw was Stalin birth house in front of the museum, with the commemorative marble inscription: “Here was born and lived Joseph Stalin from …. Until … “. This wooden house was small and had a creepy look with a basement door. We could not go inside but I could see from the widow what it was more or less inside: nothing special just an old kitchen, old bedrooms, there was not even a dining-room and Stalin lived there until he reached 13 years old.
When we got inside the museum, I was quite disappointing: always the same soviet stuff: propaganda posters, medals, miniatures, commemorative paintings, sculptures etc… The kind of things everyone has seen millions of time! I also got inside Stalin bullet-proof wagon, there you can see that he traveled quite comfortably: large meeting rooms, bedrooms, appropriate kitchen, but again nothing surprising… I would recommend visiting the house, although you can’t get inside but spending 30 Laris (about 10 euros) for 2 to get in… No point!
Except these 2 attractions, there was not much to visit, so we moved further to Borjomi, this time! At about 1 hour 20 minutes from Gori! As we arrived, I was just mesmerized! I literally fell in love with this place! I was ages ago since I last saw the mountains, and vast forests and waterfalls and Borjomi was just a small village in a valley surrounded by all that! We didn’t take long before checking-in and discovering this magical place! We found the public park which leads to the forest and after walking 4 kilometers, we got the open-air sulfuric baths where we bathed! It was a strange feeling of fresh air and hot water but refreshing! We walked all the way back and after leaving the park, we found a nice little local restaurant that served Georgian cuisine! I must say, so far, all these Georgian restaurants are the same and there’s nothing too fascinating but we shall see further! Tomorrow it will all be about the Borjomi National Park and the Akhaltsikhé Fortress! Stay tuned)