An evening in Telavi

It was still light when we got to Telavi so I set off to explore the city fortress, an attempt Vasantha abandoned when the gate turned out to be all the way round the grand walls.

There was a vast empty space within the walls, with some modern sculpture displayed in one corner, but there was also a delightful little museum, with an art gallery to boot, and on the left a doorway to the school that had been founded by the last king of an independent Georgia before the Russians took the place over. And then behind the museum and another wall was his palace, Iranian style, very simple, a box with a long throne room with rooms on either side including a simple bedroom. That brought home to me the links of these Caucasian countries to the great civilizations to north and south of them, the Russian and the Iranian. And while Azerbaijan, the first I had seen in recent times, was Muslim, there were links to the Muslim world even in Armenia.

I walked on then to the other sight Telavi boasted, a massive plane tree. That was fun, but more importantly I was approached there by a man who offered a tour of the sights round about the city, which I accepted swiftly for his price was very reasonable. He drove me back the short distance to the hotel, so he could know where to come next morning, and then Vasantha and I had dinner on the upper terrace of the hotel which commanded a wonderful view of the hills north of the city, which extended up to the Caucasus mountains. And, if not quite as splendid, behind us there was a children’s party, lots of little girls, and a few boys, in their party best, with mothers who chattered as loudly as the girls did.

The food on offer was not Georgian, but we had excellent trout, and once again there was Georgian red wine for me. And early next morning, though there was no provision for coffee in the room, the receptionist brought me coffee as arranged when I went up to work at my computer. It was glorious up there in the early light, and he duly brought up a second cup fifteen minutes later as requested.

For some reason Georgian hotel breakfasts start at 9, but they gave us ours a bit earlier, easily the best breakfasts we had, cheese or ham omelettes, crusty bread – with butter which was not generally on offer – and delicious jams as well as honey in addition to different cheeses.

I had time to linger then on our balcony with a last cup of tea, and then the driver turned up promptly at ten for what seemed a long day, seven venues and also, he suggested, if we were not too tired, a winery since this Kakheti region is the country’s principal producer of wine.  

After pictures of the fortress and the sculpture exhibition in its grounds and some interesting pieces in the museum, I show the simple palace and a picture there, and then the plane tree, with the party of the terrace to end with.