A Day at the City of Love: Sighnaghi, Georgia

For the last day of my incredible short trip to Georgia, I had planned for a quick trip to Sighnaghi, the town of love, in the Kakheti region. The driver from the previous day helped find a car to take me and so we started at 9am from the hotel. A bit hung-over from the previous night’s chacha, I wasn’t sure what to expect. About 30 into the drive, the car came to a halt and the driver got out of the car to do something that made my day. Somebody was selling two adorable puppies for $20 each and my driver couldn’t resist stopping to cuddle them.

The road wasn’t as curvy compared to the Kazbegi road. In fact the land was much plainer and very soon I could see the vineyards and I thought to myself that Tuscany in Italy must look something like that. Kakheti region is the wine country and some of the best wines are produced in this easternmost part of Georgia. It seems this area is a good place to buy churchkhela, a local candy made with grape juice and nuts in the shape of candle or sausage, and you can find them in plenty by the side of the road. Villagers also sell their own home-made wines all over.

Just before reaching Sighnaghi, the driver stopped to show us the Bodbe Monastery of St.Nino, an important pilgrimage destination for the devoted and then again for a preview of the picturesque little town.

Probably because it was a Sunday, the town was almost deserted and I couldn’t be happier to explore without having to queue up or wait to take photographs. I left the car at the center of the town and walked to wherever. I didn’t have any idea where I was going but it so happened I was on track. Sighnaghi is surrounded by its defensive city walls built around 1770 that has 28 watch towers and 8 gates. I noticed a tower at the top of the city and so continued walking towards it. I climbed up the fort and was amazed by the view.

I wandered around as I made my way down to the center. It was so quiet and perfect, as if the town was a movie setting in a studio. Truly romantic.

I visited a restaurant cum winery for wine tasting and walked out with a bottle of wine which I brought home and saved till weeks back.

I wanted to get back to Tbilisi before dark so that I could relish the city for a last time before catching my flight so, we headed back without visiting other nearby towns. We stopped for lunch on the way at a huge restaurant that looked more like a park, the perfect Sunday picnic.
The evening was spent walking around in Rustaveli Avenue, sipping tea on one of the terraces at Meidan, taking the cable car to the top of Narikala Hill and then walking across the Peace Bridge and finally a fulfilling dinner at one of the restaurants in Erekle street. I left Tbilisi promising to return again and I did go back this year in February and Georgia looked a lot different under the snow.


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