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What to do in Tbilisi (part I)

11:40 AM
Hi, guys! I finally collected and edited all of my pictures to write this blog post. I have promised you that will show you my new home. Well, living in a capital city can be a bit overwhelming, and yet super fun. For the previous 2 years, we got to experience a quiet life by living in some charming cities in the United States. I am finally happy to say that our life in the capital is extremely busy with lots going on! I love how busy I stay, how many people I meet, and being able to travel to other countries. 

In today's blog post, I want to share what you can do in Tbilisi. The city may look small, but there is still a ton of stuff to do. You can't even imagine! I pretty much did most of the important stuff that you would find on TripAdvisor, and then a whole lot more. Let's begin.

1. Visit the Museum of Georgia. I believe we paid about 7 lari ($2.9) per person. It was quite a nice museum. The Museum offers different exhibitions, from Georgian archeologic treasures, to exhibits on the Soviet Occupation. Think of it as their version of the American Smithsonian Museums, except much smaller and housed under one roof.

2. The Smirnoff Family Museum in the "Caucasian House." We entered this museum for free. I am not even sure if they have an admission charge. Since I grew up learning Russian History and literature in my childhood, this place was very interesting for me. The Smirnoff Family was quite connected to Russian history and culture.

3. Bridge of Peace. This bridge is quite popular for its modern design and serving as a connection to Rike Park over the Kura River. Many Tbilisians go there to relax or take a cable car. I have to admit that I still haven't taken this cable car over Old town. Since we arrived, the tourist season has been in full swing, and the cable car is just always busy. I am going to wait for the fall season.
4. Sulphur Baths.  I passed on the chance to enjoy these ancient public baths, but it is quite popular among tourist because of the natural thermal water. You can come to relax and sweat in a hot sauna. Afterwards, take a massage for extra lari. I heard that they are 5 different sulphur baths in town. Beware that it might smell weird to you, as thermals water usually have a specific scent. 

5. Love Lock Bridge. To find this bridge is quite easy. You just have to pass the Sulphur baths. I didn't leave our lock, but I'm planning to do it for our anniversary. Well, my husband is probably reading this now, so I guess it won't be a surprise. 

6. Waterfall in Old Town. You would be amazed to find this amazing waterfall in the heart of the city. The Leghvtakhevi Waterfall is really cool. I heard that you can make a wish there, which my sister did, and she said it came true. I guess I need to visit again and make my wish ;)

7. Tbilisi Sea. Yes, there is no actual sea in the city, but locals call it the "sea." It is really an artificial lake that was opened in 1953. I brought my family there during hot days in Tbilisi. The reservoir is quite big and we were able to enjoy it from two different sides. Aside from beaches, the lake features a waterpark, boat rentals, and other activities. 

8. History of Georgia Monument or The Chronicle of Georgia. This monument is quite impressive, and when you visit Tbilisi Sea, you will be able to see it dominating the landscape from atop a hill. When we hiked up, we didn't initially realize how tall this monument would be. 30 meter columns feature queens, kings, heroes of Georgia. On the top, you can also find a beautiful church and two restaurants. I would advise you to bring your own bottle of wine and walk towards the forest, because it has a beautiful view of the city.

9. Old Town. I love wondering in Old Town, because of its breathtaking architecture. It is the undisputed best place for Instagrammers or Photographers. I can spend hours here and still not be able to see everything that the city offers.

10. Former Hotel London. Luckily, I got a chance to visit this former hotel twice. Why luckily? Because the residents of the house are not happy to see any tourists inside. They use locks on the door, and even if you wait and ask a resident to come inside, you will not be welcomed there. This place is quite incredible, because of the history, architecture and angry residents. I wish that the residents were just charging admission, so the money that they got from tourists could be used t renovate the building and improve their lives a bit.

11. Historical Houses. Tbilisi has a lot of historical house. Some of them have especially beautiful entrances. I found several houses in Tbilisi that are noteworthy. They were not very easy for me to find, because many doors are closed or name of streets have changed. But luckily, a few residents were super sweet and even shared the stories of their houses.

12. Gabriadze Theatre. This theatre is not only famous for its unique clock, but also for puppet performances. The theatre was designed by Gabriadze himself (artist, writer, director). Near the theatre, you can find a lot of cute cafes where you can enjoy delicious Georgian wine and food. 

P.S. Read part II here.

Part II: How to travel America in 7 days by car

1:12 AM
Hello, guys! Oh man, it took me forever to write this blog post, just because our last road trip was super crazyyy... If you didn't read my first part of how to travel America in 7 days, make sure to check it out here and not miss out all cities that I shared there. After Santa Fe, we drove to Acoma Pueblo Sky City in New Mexico.

5. Acoma Pueblo Sky City, New Mexico

After seeing beautiful Santa Fe, we decided that we have to see a Native American pueblo village and the best choice for us was Acoma Sky City, because it was on our way to our next stop at Flagstaff. We woke up quite early to beat the crowd and heat. Believe me, it was a great decision, because around 11am it got hotter.  Native Americans still reside there without electricity, sewer systems or water. To get to the village, you have to stop at their visitor center, where you can watch a video about the tribe and also walk around their museum to learn more. A tour costs $25 per person. You can take pictures of the village, but not of the people unless you ask permission before you shoot them. Also, you can take picture of the church, but as soon you enter the church, no photography is allowed. I truly enjoyed our tour around the village, getting to talk with locals, trying some of their delicious bread and buying wonderful souvenirs.

6. Flagstaff, Arizona

We decided to take a small walk around the city and see what you can do in Flagstaff. The town offers a lot of cute restaurants and we definitely advise you to stop at the Mountain Oasis. They have a ton of delicious and healthy food, along with happy hour. Since we planned to drive the next morning to the Grand Canyon, we went to sleep very early so we could get up very early.

7. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The next morning, we got up while it was still dark outside. We planned to watch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon. We drove from Flagstaff, taking Hwy 89. We were able to see only the South Rim of the Grand Canyon as the sun came up, before proceeding along the rim toward Grand Canyon Village. I will give your more information about the Grand Canyon in my next blog post. We ended up crashing in Williams that night.

Hope you enjoyed reading my travel blog post. More is coming!

Part I: How to travel America in 7 days by car

8:30 PM
Hello, my sweet readers! You know I have been traveling like crazy and for the first time, I decided to write about my road trip adventure and give you tips on how you can travel across America in 7 days by car. This trip was our 7th road trip. Some people think that we must love each other a lot if we can travel so much in the car for many hours. I truly believe that you need to do a road trip with a man you are in love with. It will help you out to understand if you are really a great match. Our first road trip was actually in Europe and we were using printed maps. No Google Maps or any GPS devices. We had so much fun! Haha. Maybe it is why my husband proposed to me after a few months.

Okay, enough of that. Let's take a look at what cities/ states we have visited. We started our trip from Richmond, Virginia, and our final destination was Monterey, California. There are a few ways to get from the East Coast to the West Coast. You can generally take routes that go north, south, or through the middle of the USA. I actually liked our trip that wandered along a more southerly route. We got to see some beautiful cities like:

1. Bristol, Tennessee / Bristol, Virginia 

Our first stop was Bristol. Bristol is located between two states: Virginia and Tennessee, which can be super confusing if you are not from there. My husband told me that we have to stop there because of the cute advertising by Geico. After we arrived to Bristol, we walked to the historic downtown and ended up having a dinner at Whiskey Rebellion. It was quite a delightful break. After a dinner, we listened to some street music and drove to the Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee slogan sign, which originally was donated by the Gas & Electric company to advertise the city. And you know, it still worked on us! I hope that if you go there, you will find it cool too. Btw, you can get free wifi downtown!

2. Memphis, Tennessee

Our second day we spent in Memphis. Memphis is famous for blues and rock'n roll music. I would never have thought that this city would be so vibrant and fun! The first thing that we planned to see was the Beale Street historic district. You may ask, why there? Well as soon you will see my photos, you will understand. After walking around, it actually reminded me of our trip to New Orleans. For dinner, we decided to stop at B.B. King's Blues Club. Luckily, we got our seats there and while enjoying southern food, we watched some local blues group create the perfect atmosphere for Memphis. After dinner, we decided to walk to the Peabody Hotel. I heard that they have good music and a rooftop bar. Before we got to go inside the hotel, we decided to take a horse carriage tour ($55 for 30 minute ride) around town and even watched the sunset. Later, we got inside the Peabody Hotel, and it is surprisingly beautiful inside. To get to the roof, you have to pay for ticket. I believe it was $10 per person. It's good all night when the place turns into a dance club. I got quite exhausted at this point, but I truly wanted to see Beale Street at night. And you know what, you really have to see it at night, because it looks so different. The next morning we actually drove to Sun Studio, and the Pyramid. To get to the observatory, you have to pay $10 per person or you can have a lunch/dinner reservation at Big Cypress lodge. It was also one of my favorite things to do in Memphis.

Beale Street 

Dinner at B.B. King Blue's Club

Take a horse ride like Cinderella 

The Peabody Hotel

Beale Street at Night

Sun Studio

The Lookout at The Pyramid

3. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

After we left Memphis in the morning, we got to driving and stopped in Oklahoma City for a night. That day was miserably cold and windy. Due to the horrible weather, we barely could walk around and see anything. But we did visit the National Memorial that was dedicated in honor of victims, survivors and rescuers from the horrible tragedy of the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing that happened in 1995. I felt very sad to be even inside the memorial. After paying our respects, we drove to downtown and got dinner at Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill. This place was the big reason why we came there, because a lady that worked at the parking lot told us that we eat there and save the receipt, we don't need to pay for parking. Also, if you are a soldier and coming for the first time, they give you a free burger. The restaurant is located in a part of the city known as Brick Town. It's an area packed with clubs, bars, restaurants, and a walking district along a beautiful urban canal. Too bad it was so chilly!

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Toby Keith

4. Santa Fe, New Mexico

On our fourth day, we drove to Santa Fe. Since I planned what we were going to see there, we decided to get there as early as possible. It took us about 9 hours to reach Sante Fe. Yeah, it was quite a boring drive, at least until we pulled into a random gas station somewhere in New Mexico. We stopped to take a break and I saw a sign for a free car museum at Russel's Travel Center. It made me wonder. As it turns out, the museum was totally FREE and completely amazing. It featured a big collection of retro cars and a bunch of American games.  It had funky relics like vintage Coca Cola vending machines, comics, journals, signs, statues, posters, etc. It had fun exhibits of everything that was quite popular from the 40-90s. The cars were truly impressive. If you plan to drive through historic Route 66, make sure to stop there too. Later on, we got finally to Santa Fe. We were amazed by the beauty of Santa Fe. All of the stunning pueblo architecture just mesmerized us. You have to see the Downtown Plaza, because of its wonderful buildings, stores, cafes, art galleries, museums and chapels. After walking downtown, we decided to get a dinner at Tomasita's near the old train station. This place is quite popular. You should get a reservation or come early. We waited about 30 minutes to get our table. After a big dinner, we went to Meow Wolf art exhibition. OMG, this art project is just mind blowing! We visited the house of eternal return. It basically feels like you are in someone house, but as soon as you open closet, fridge or washing machine, you physically pass get into a magical new world. I have seen so many art projects in my last three years in the United States, but Meow Wolf is something extraordinary! I didn't take enough of photos because my camera & phone died. I think you have to see it yourself! 

Russel's Travel Center

On the way to Santa Fe

 Dinner at Tomasita's

Meow Wolf

Guys, I didn't realize how long did this post turned out, so I decided that I should split this post into two parts. Read second part here.
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