TBILISI, Georgia — Wine-tasting would be first on the day’s tour of the capital of Georgia — not the U.S. state, but the former U.S.S.R. satellite nearly halfway around the world from Dallas. Then we would have lunch followed by a city tour.
“This pretty much summarizes Georgian life,” said guide Tamara Natenadze. “First the wine. Second the food. And then everything else.”
“Everything else,” however, is no second fiddle in this far Eastern European country.
True, wine, which originated here in the Caucasus 8,000 years ago, and the cornucopia of local cuisine do infuse Georgian culture, but Tbilisi’s fortress dates to the fourth century, Old Town goes back several centuries, and sulfur hot springs were turned into baths in the 1600s.
The cosmopolitan city also has quirky modern architecture, tony cafes, quaint hookah joints, trendy clubs, galleries featuring local artists’ work, glittering lights and plenty of souvenir stands.