Bear with me as The Wandering Twins takes a trip down memory lane recounting our first adventure. It was over 3 years ago but we still get warm and fuzzy talking about it. This is going to sound drippy – but here goes – the trip was magical. For starters, Georgia is an amazing country and we had the benefit of locals to show us around. But it was also the trip that showed us how manageable it is to travel with children and how well our kiddos responded made us want to keep going and going, trip after trip.
A brief summary of our itinerary to Georgia with more detail below:
- Day 1 – Arrived in Tbilisi
- Day 2 – Tbilisi
- Day 3 – Sighnaghi
- Day 4 – Sighnaghi
- Day 4 – back to Tbilisi
- Day 5 – Tbilisi
- Day 6-Travel to Stepantsminda
- Day 7 – Stepantsminda
- Day 8 – Travel back to Tbilisi
- Day 9 – Tbilisi
- Day 10 – Travel to Borjomi
- Day 11 – Travel to Akhaltsikhe
- Day 12 – Travel back to Tbilisi
- Day 13 – Tbilisi
- Day 14 – Travel home
This was before Airbnb options were plentiful and my friend was able to make local arrangements for an apartment for us for our 2 week stay. Essentially, a little old lady volunteered to vacate her apartment in exchange for our money. It was right down the street from their home so it couldn’t have been better situated. Even better, it was right across from a great coffee and gelato shop – Luca Polare – and it was delightful. Our apartment was inexpensive which alleviated our guilt for going on overnight excursions and having hotel expenses on top of the apartment.
Our hotel in Sighnaghi was the Hotel Kabadoni and it was delightful. This is my view while having a cup of tea on the hotel restaurant’s terrace. The hotel restaurant also had a lovely breakfast. One word of caution – if you order the breakfast sausage, be prepared for a hot dog-style sausage. The kiddos thought it was hilarious to be eating hot dogs for breakfast.
We had dinner both nights at Pheasant’s Tears – the first night we ate inside but the second night we outside and it was delightful.
Exploring Sighnaghi by horseback proved to be quite the adventure – for the whole family. None of us could be described as accomplished horseback riders. But we managed and had a lovely tour of the area.
The kids enjoyed exploring the wall that surrounds Sighnaghi and walking the city streets just taking it all in.
Our visit to Mt. Kazbegi and Stepantsminda was one of my favorites. Our friends joined us and we all piled into their SUV for the 2ish hour drive. We had to stop a few times for car sickness issues – for the kids and adults. The roads are winding and more than a little dizzying. We packed a simple lunch stopping at Entree to pick up sandwiches before leaving Tbilisi. A solid decision since there weren’t many/any options along the way for food.
One of our stops was at a lookout point built by the Soviets. The views were amazing and completely worth the stress of worrying about my kids falling over the side of the mountains. Which was completely irrational. Sort of.
We stayed in the most amazing hotel in Stepansmidna. J and I frequently go the hotel site just to pretend we have another trip to plan. I’m generally not a fan of staying in hotels when traveling with the kids but this was different. And perfect. Rooms Hotel is one of the most delightful places I’ve stayed. Ever. The kids had plenty of freedom to roam and play which gave the adults plenty of freedom to curl up on the cushy sofas on the expansive deck with a bottle of wine and chat away. A few pictures below don’t do our stay justice. The pictures of Mt. Kazbegi were taken from the deck – likely with a glass of wine in hand – so there was no need for rugged hiking to take in such impressive views.
Our next stop was Borjomi and we stayed at Nick and Goerge’s Guesthouse which my friend arranged for us. It was delightful. The owners were so welcoming and doted on the kids. There was one other couple staying there and it was peaceful and quiet. Dinner and breakfast were provided and besides being delicious, the amount of food set out was positively gluttonous – in a good way. I’ve never seen so many options laid out on a table for just one meal.
It was through the guest house owners that we had a tour of Borjomi National Forest on horseback. It was slightly terrifying at times but the kids had guides walking their horses and while there was a language barrier, the guides were mindful of how the kids were holding up during our 3-hour tour. Because of the language barrier, we had no idea how long the ride was or where we were going, which made me a little uncomfortable. Admittedly, I had visions of these two strange men leading my family into the wilderness only to abandon, torture, or kill us. But, as is so often the case, my worst fears went unrealized. Go figure.
Our final stop as we explored beyond Tbilisi was Akhaltsikhe where we stayed at the newly opened Hotel Rabath Gino Wellness and it was another delightful excursion. We were on our own without our friends on our Borjomi and Akhaltsikhe jaunt and it felt good to do things independently and navigate on our own. Well, kind of on our own as we did have a driver but since he didn’t speak English, I think we still get credit for being on our own.
The hotel was great as was the attached restaurant. As I mentioned, this was our first time really being on our own. Our ordering choices reflected our status as novices. We were wondering why the waitress seemed so amused as she took our order but once the parade of food started coming we realized just how much we over ordered. But it was all delish so no harm, no foul.
From Akhaltsikhe we headed back to Tbilisi to enjoy our last full day before flying home. It was tough to go home and I remember having serious re-entry issues when we got home.