Tag Archives: Georgia

Happy Holidays!

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Eat, dance and fold some khinkali!

Starring: Christmas tree in the front of the Parliament, decorations on Rustaveli avenue, chechelaki (Georgian traditional tree), Sukhishvili ballet dancers, and khinkali.

“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.

Thank you Tbilisi for

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a rejuvenating late night rain with proper thunder and lighting. I missed that Southern weather attitude,

something i did not miss, but i accept it: the earth tremor and the ‘ah-ha’ moment it brought,

the smile of the most beautiful lady baker as her gorgeous hands work the dough. She reminded me of my grandmother,

my perfect morning espresso at Entree served by the lovliest barista,

my first cigar. No need to worry. It was the traditional bakery with nuts,

my first peach this year,

eternal wisdom by modern days Gia, served with the traditional candy: “embrace the spoils of civilisation but do not forget your roots and why you are here, on earth”, 

the “meeting” with founding fathers, watchful over today’s parlamentarians presided over by a chairwomen. I can hear the founding mothers, who remained in the shadow back then, cheering up in the sky now (do not ask me how i know),

most devoted and hard-working projects partners, 

seeing my good colleague Nino back to work and recovering well,

stellar team members, who work hard and also know the value of fun at work,

the guard who kept my ipad, which i forgot by the window on the hall of the Parliament, 

teaching me what “არა” means. There were quite a number of “no” heard that day in the parliament,

the colors street flowers vendors bring,

an introduction to Georgian Zaza Svanidze shoes – amazing design combined with the quality feet deserve. Check his website or fbook page, 

lovely lunch at Amo Rame,

a history lecture by the most talkative taxi driver who used to work with Red Cross all over the world. The lecture was a “bonus” for having made him wait for me under a no-parking sign 🙂

kindest MGK hotel owners who made me feel at home, with traditional breakfast to my taste and a room with a view i’ll be looking for upon my return

and many more blessings, to be continued.

 

Thank you, Tbilisi and my wonderful Georgian hosts, for

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your youth elixir. I am 18 years younger. The secret? An inspired choice of the venue: the Tbilisi University,the most succesful international event i co-managed and co-organised so far

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an amazing professional pride projected by people I met and listened to,

the value of managing change by personal example,

getting tears in my eyes when listening to lawyers who still unfortunately indure basic rights violations,

an all inclusive hospitality, which created a wealth of experiences shared and renewed friendships,

taking me to your heart, the birthplace of Christianity in Georgia, Mtskheta,

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a warm summer breeze. Finally,

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calling your wifi “Tbilisi Loves You”,

your terrific Georgian dances. By the way, worth including in a stress release first aid kit,

Organicharmonious (i may want to copyright the word) food&wine, which make opposition melt and builds friendship to last,

a river-view dinner by a host who spoiled our senses with food and toasts,reminding me of the the value of knowing how to work smart and party well, mutually complementary,


giving me a hint that i should perhaps start acting my age. But then, why bother?!