Tag Archives: Georgia

A very Georgian wedding

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It still seems amazing to me that this happened at all, but this is one of the best things about travelling – you just never know what’s going to happen. I suppose I should say that we knew about the wedding two days before leaving, so I did have a suitable dress with me, but somehow my dad didn’t remember to bring either a tie or a jacket, so my mum and I spent that morning looking all over Tbilisi for a tie – apparently they aren’t big in Georgia. Anyway, when we arrived at the reception, not a single man there was wearing a tie (almost none of them even bothered to tuck in their shirts), so we were feeling reassured that it was a casual affair. Then we walked into the reception hall and saw this.

Every table was decked out like this. It was amazing.

The place was set for 250+ people, and the tables were already covered with food. And I do mean covered. There was salad, fish, bread, cheese, vegetable appetizers, jugs of amber wine (there are four colours of wine in Georgia: white, amber, red, and black), bottles of juice and water, and probably a bunch of other things besides. It was a feast. And then Irakli told us that this was just the cold dishes. Sure enough, we’d barely even started eating when more dishes were added to the table.

This was my favourite. It’s red pepper and seared eggplant stuffed with this walnut paste and pomegranate seeds. Oh my goodness it was delicious.

The funny thing, though, is that nothing is ever taken away. Instead, they just pile dishes on top of other dishes, and if you want what’s underneath, you just lift up the plate on top and get it. Basically, every table becomes its own buffet, which is amazing. It may have been the copious amount of wine I drank (you have to drink for every toast, and people just continuously fill your glass back up), but I found this very amusing.

Plates on plates.

Cake on top of chicken.

A disheveled table.

Anyway, the reception itself is really interesting. There is a toast master in charge of delivering long formal toasts throughout the evening (he had a microphone, and it took us a while to figure out where in the hall he was), and in between his toasts, these four divos would come out on stage and sing (very loudly). Mostly I think they sang traditional songs, but every once in a while it would be something more lively and people would get up to dance. The bride and groom also danced a traditional Georgian wedding dance, which was quite something, and by the end of the night my mum and I were being pulled onto the dance floor and being shown the traditional moves. I’m not sure we were very good at it, but it was fun.

By the end of the night we had eaten, drunk, and danced just about to our limit, and the next day started very slowly, to say the least. We’re in Yerevan, Armenia, now, but more about that later.

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Georgia is amazing

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Maybe I should start with a clarification, since for most people the first Georgia they think of is the state, and actually I’m in Georgia the country, which is in the Caucuses. You may be most familiar with Georgia from its 2008 conflict with Russia, but that’s long over and it’s really entirely safe and also entirely lovely. I’m actually here with my parents, which is an added bonus since I don’t get to see them all that often. My dad was here already for work and my mum and I arrived Sunday night (local time, which is 8 hours ahead of Toronto), after 24 hours of travelling.

So, we’re at the end of our third day now and I swear we’ve only stopped walking long enough to eat since we got here, and we’re exhausted. Tomorrow, we have to get a 5 a.m. taxi to Yerevan, where we’ll spend another three days. The Internet is good, there, though, so even though I’m about to fall asleep, here’s a point-form tour of Tbilisi (with pictures).

1. They love statues here. Seriously, they are everywhere. Little, big, copper, gold, stone, whatever, they’ve got it all. My favourites, though, are the little ones that run along Rustavelli (one of the big main streets). These statues stand/sit every ten metres or so along both sides of the lovely wide sidewalks. They’re all different, but here are a couple of my favourites.

This statue has a little bottle of something. Beer or juice, you decide.

This little statue went hunting (his gun is just peaking out over his shoulder) and he got himself a duck.

2. Khachapuri is everywhere. Remember when I made it? Well, it turns out there are a ton of different ways to make it, and they have entire restaurants that serve it, and it’s considered a regular course in a traditional meal. Seriously, Georgians know how to do bread and cheese.

We watched them make it through the window.

Khachapuri with egg.

Khachapuri with cheese on top.

Khachapuri with cheese inside.

3. They also love walnuts here – I even had walnut ice cream the other day – and dried fruit. As a vegetarian, I was a little worried about what I might end up eating, but at least in Georgia, I have been eating as well as anyone (which is to say, very well indeed).

So that’s regular fruit in the middle, fruit leather on the shelves, and the things that look like dried sausages are actually a kind of fruit juice candy.

4. They’re also big on wool, and although I haven’t seen any knitting/crocheting or related shops, gauzy felted wool scarves and thick felted wool hats are everywhere, as are wool carpets.

Carpets for sale on a wall next to a (very narrow) street in the old city.

Repairing an old carpet.

Hats and scarves for sale.

5. Georgians are very religious (Georgian Orthodox, primarily) and churches are everywhere. Today was went to Mtskheta (pronounced Moo-stek-ah, more or less), which was the original capital of Georgia. The cathedral there was built in the 11th century and remains in use. Besides that, there are churches all over the place (you turn a corner and run into a church) and they are all built in more or less the same style. They’re quite beautiful, really.

Cathedral in Mtskheta.

6. They do weddings on a huge scale. We got to go to a Georgian wedding and we’re all still recovering. We were invited by my dad’s colleague Irakli (one of the nicest men ever) and it was a once in a lifetime experience. Needless to say, it was amazing, and merits its own post, as do many, many other things about Georgia, but maybe you should come visit to see for yourself? (I really will try to post on the wedding, though, it was amazing.)

7. Not about Georgia, really, but oh well. Colour Affection is zipping right along thanks to all of this travelling. I got a ton done on the plane and I’m one row shy of completing the two-colour striped section, which means I’ll be into the short rows during the drive tomorrow and I can’t wait. Here’s how it’s looking so far.

Stripes are so satisfying.