Since my last post, we have changed our minds about getting residency in Georgia. We were caught up in the notion of having a place to call home. I had thought how nice it would be to have a place to furnish and decorate, with my own taste. In the States, we were always restoring older homes, but we never had the chance to put our own stamp on them. In all our travels, we have never come across a country that would allow us to get residency, without a huge investment, until we came to Georgia. We thought how great it would be to sign a long-term lease, on an apartment, and be able to have a base to travel from. After thinking about it, and talking it over, we realized we’d be putting limits on the travel lifestyle, that we’d been enjoying for a long time. We had accumulated substantial savings that would have to be forked over to a lawyer, and for what, to settle in one place, again? It felt like we’d be moving backward. We both decided that we weren’t ready to give up the continuously traveling lifestyle. Someday we might want a place to call our own, but for now, we’ll remain No-mads.
We’ve had other decisions to make since moving to our new location, downtown. When we rented this apartment, on Airbnb, we thought we were going to get residency, and we’d have room for our kids to stay, if they came to visit. The apartment is older but spacious, and it’s in a perfect location, off Rustaveli, and near the Opera House. When we first moved in on November 1st, we looked around the place, and instantly regretted our decision to stay here for a month. The parquet floors are scarred, the wallpaper is lifting in places, and the kitchen has a portable stove, but no oven. The place does have some lovely, old furniture, with patterned wood inlay, and graceful lines, which gives it warmth and charm. We thought about canceling the booking but decided to take the day and think on it, while we did some more exploring of the neighborhood.
The next day, after having searched Airbnb, and discovering that we couldn’t find a more perfect location than where we already were, we decided to make our host an offer of $550.00 a month, including utilities. She accepted the terms, and we agreed to make a cash payment to her, beginning, December 1st, and ending on February 28. That evening, we went to dinner, at a Hungarian restaurant, and then attended a magnificent doll show at the Modern Art Museum. I was quite taken with the dolls made by a Russian artist at the show, and though she only spoke a little English, she was able to describe to me the paper clay method that she used to make the dolls. Seeing her lovely dolls inspires me to try this method for sculpting my fairies, that I typically sculpt from Fimo clay.
On Saturday, we looked on the internet to find a gym that was closest to us. We found one that was just a few blocks away, and we stopped in to visit, that afternoon. The owner was nice, and the price was right, for a gym that looked like it was well kept up on. For the next two days, we worked out, but we were really disappointed in the condition of the equipment. I usually spend 20 minutes of my workout running, but in this gym, I had a really hard time running on the treadmill, since it didn’t feel stable, and rocked side to side. I had to keep it at a speed of 9km/h, both days, and I’m used to running at 11.5km/h, or 7.2mph. Tim had similar issues with the bikes and wasn’t able to increase the resistance. When we asked about adjusting the bikes, we were told that they had to be ridden standing up. When I went to use the leg press and discovered that the seat wasn’t attached to the machine, that was the final straw. We left there with the intention of looking for another gym the next day.
On Monday, we took a bus to the Snap Fitness center, which is in the Vake district of the city. The bus was very crowded, and it took us forever to get there. On Tuesday, when we actually started at the gym, we decided to walk the 2 miles, stopping at the Hard Rock Cafe, for lunch, before we got there. We hadn’t eaten at this restaurant since we were in Croatia, a few years ago, and it was a nice treat. We worked out for the next two days, at Snap Fitness, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We are paying about $50.00 a month, each, which is more than the last gym, but it’s well worth it. It’s opened 24/7, is climate controlled and has all new, Techno Gym brand equipment.
We have experienced a downside to living in the city. Many of the people here have the misconception that because we are foreigners who travel, that we must be rich, and because of this, in some of the restaurants, the staff has tried to shortchange us. We have, however, found an outstanding restaurant called Bread and Wine, where the typical Georgian food is delicious, and the staff is honest, generous, and attentive.
We’ve really enjoyed our first week in downtown Tbilisi. Not only did we get a chance to see a fabulous doll show, but we were also able to visit an array of art stores, attend a weekend market, and take a peek at some quaint, little shops, offering handmade, Georgian souvenirs. I’m really looking forward to seeing the inside of the Opera House, where we’ll have the opportunity, at the end of this month, to see a Georgian ballet, called, “Gorda”.
Join me next time, as I share more about my experiences in Tbilisi and about an upcoming trip to Sighnaghi.