Welcome to Love von Beauty von Love!

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In the beginning there was … Love & Beauty & Life & Light & Spark  & Prosperity & Style & Soul & Bliss & Happiness & Wonder & Joy & Courage & Vision & Solidarity & Childhood & Freedom & Dream & Faith.

And at some point hatred, lust, death, darkness, poverty, plague, immorality, scandal, despair, expectation, sorrow, envy, blindness, ego, greed,  cynicism, grievance, hunger, terror, fear, bullies –  made room and started messing things up …

I started this blog from a purely egocentric need: a need to remind myself of beauty and love, which makes life worth treasuring, every single day, every single moment.

In the beginning there was … Love & Beauty & …whatever we wish for!

The entrance halls of Tbilisi

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Whenever I was in Tbilisi before, I had an urge to push doors open. «There must be magic to discover behind its enchanting doors », my inner nudge was saying. And so it is. .

The magic of stained glass by Italian masters, on doors crafted by Georgian carpenters, framed by unique patterns of metal shaped in laces by Armenian blacksmiths, leading to halls adorned by Renaissance or Moorish style paintings on walls and ceilings … all this beauty as a celebration of our diversity giving birth to something amazing.

There are so many wonderful buildings in Sololaki through which German, Italian, Georgian, Armenian and Russian architects expressed their love for the beauty of this city.

“The eighth life” by Nino Haratischvili

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Haratischvili takes the reader through historical events on Georgian soil with the ease of a seasoned local. She introduces us to events as if she was there at that time: “It’s ten thirty on a beautiful sunny morning scented with cardamom, coffee, dust, and cloves, the kind of morning you will only find in Tbilissi.” That was the day Stalin robbed the Tsar’s carriage in plain day in the center of the town.

« The eighth life » could be the story of any family on Georgian soil, who had members living in Russia, as the events of those times joined and separated people of these two countries at most unexpected crossroads. And Haratischvili gives us the story with the intimate knowledge of someone who might have lived more than one life on earth. It is beautiful, touching and utterly brave.

Haratischvili does not take us on a simple straight journey. It is rather a carpet weaving as she adds characters and events to the story. And she does so because « I often used to wonder what would happen if the world’s collective memory had retained different things and lost others. If we had forgotten all the wars and all those countless kings, rulers, leaders, and mercenaries, and the only people to be read about in books were those who had built a house with their own hands, planted a garden, discovered a giraffe, described a cloud, praised the nape of a woman’s neck. I wondered how we know that the people whose names have endured were better, cleverer, or more interesting just because they’ve stood the test of time. What of those who are forgotten? » Yes, what about those?

Anyone wishing to understand more about recent history of Georgia and the reasons behind many of its current institutions should read “The eighth life ». And do that with an open mind, as our guide David said: «Nino was very considerate to the reader in presenting many facts of our recent history. She probably thought that it would be to complicated to grasp for those who have not lived through those times”.

The magic of Kalantarov’s house: in the heart of Sololaki

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One of the local legends say that the house was built by the oil magnate Kalantarov as a pledge of love to an Opera signer, who agreed to nothing more than a dwelling as splendid as the Opera House in Tbilisi. The young architect Sargsyan seemed to like all things Moorish in architecture and design. The love birds soon moved in and lived there happily until 1921. It then became home to many families placed here by virtue of soviet expropriation. It was slowly losing its magic, until it was refurbished by the Academy of Arts in 2014.

When we got in, Alla Borisovna – one of the house residents – was standing in the inner hall and was immediately attracted by the art book my guide was holding. From a page to another we got into stories around the house, its inhabitants’ habits and the love she and my guide – Elene – shared about Tbilisi’s architecture and the men and women who left us so many architectural jewels to admire today.

Queens and balconies

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Once upon a time here lived queen Darejan, a mother of 23 girls and boys. Her king built a palace for her on the incline to Sachino. She was also a builder and she furthered it to its glory of the XVIII century.

She fought for whom she loved. She lived the best she could in those troublesome times, and saw her end on Earth in exile on foreign cold land.

Today we can take the same walking paths she took thanks to the reconstruction funded by tax payers of Georgia. And we can admire the city from the beautiful blue framed balcony, perhaps from the exact same spot the queen used to.

“The presentation secrets of Steve Jobs” by Carmine Gallo

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I like books which make me think, books that help me move on the path I choose. Books that bring out the best of my inquisitive instincts. “The presentation secrets of Steve Jobs” is such a book. It is loaded with unpacked and ready to use techniques of the best CEO of the times we are living in.

Gallo takes the reader through 18 scenes divided between 3 acts on Create the story, Deliver the experience, Refine and rehearse. In each act, there are doors and passages to simple, yet amazing techniques to apply in presenting to any audience. He highlights the basics of preparations and unveils what I see as the essence of it all: talk about things you are passionate about; rehearse, rehearse, rehearse; and be authentic.

Cafe Littera by Chef Tekuna Gachechiladze

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Café Littera introduces itself as “Exquisite European cuisine with a touch of Modern Georgian dishes.” Nested in the idyllic inner court of the Writers House in Sololaki district of Tbilisi, it welcomes guests for lunch and dinner. Reservations are highly recommended, as the dozen or so of tables are in high demand.

The Chef Tekuna Gacheladze is known in Georgia and beyond. I felt that her travels abroad inspired her to bring a lightness to the Georgian cuisine otherwise widely known for its generosity in taste and quantities.

We were warmly greeted and seated at our table in a matter of minutes. The tables are reasonably far from each other, current rules obliging. This gave us a sense of an almost private dinner.

The English menu is sufficiently clear, though if this is your first experience with this cuisine, the waiter will kindly explain what is a dolma or Pkhali. For entrée, the menu is generous with 6-7 dishes of dips, appetizers and salads. We went for a smoked eggplant Pkhali with pomegranate and Lavash, spinach dip, dolma with wild greens and yogurt foam and a strawberry and guda cheese salad. The portions are of reasonable size to our taste. I enjoyed the way flavours surprised me in the strawberry and guda salad with a splash of a lightly acid dressing on the roquettes it comes with.

From the main dishes, we tried the mixed mushrooms with artichokes and baked Seabass with lemon Safran sauce on wild greens. The mushrooms gave us a sense of travelling back to our grandmother’s kitchen and filled us with the warmth of a dish made with love. The seabass was good, though less exciting to our taste, perhaps because of the slight bitterness of the wild greens it comes with. We paired the food with a bottle of Tvishi Marani, upon the waiter’s recommendation, which proved a great choice for our mood that evening. We left the otherwise very appealing desserts for next time.

I warmly recommend the place for a moment of indulgence with your loved ones.

This is my first restaurant review based exclusively on our experience and perceptions.

You can see more pictures on Cafe Littera instagram account – these two will give you a flavour of the atmosphere: