When you live in a place, you do not usually do the touristy stuff. I have lived in Tbilisi, Georgia for 11 years now and I seldom go to the parts where tourists usually go. Last Sunday, I had an errand to run in the old part of Tbilisi. As it was Sunday, my husband and our four children joined me.
A Lovely Spring Day For A Boat Tour In Tbsilsi, Georgia
On the way back we were thinking what to do because we did not really feel like going straight back home. It was a lovely sunny spring day of some +25 C (77 F). We decided to take a stroll in the nearby Rike park, which, with the tourists largely absent now, is usually quite empty. While looking for a place to park, my husband turned off the riverbank where he saw some cars parked. Going even closer towards the park, we stopped to ask some guy if it was okay to park there. He nodded and asked if we would like to take a boat ride. We had parked exactly at the boat stop.
An Unexpected Offer
I had been wishing to take the tour boat on the river Mtkvari, also known as Kura, for a long time. We had done it on the Daugava in Riga, Latvia, and it was really fun and kids enjoyed it a lot. So, I thought – why not, it is the perfect moment! I asked my husband and kids and everyone was enthusiastic about the idea. There was no queue, and we asked the guy to show us the boats. They looked nice with soft seats and a small table in the middle. They price was also affordable and the kids were going for free.
The Boat Ride
They guy told us to wait right by another boat that served as a kind of dock while he fetched his boat. We embarked the boat through the parked boat and off we went. He first turned towards the Justice House or the Public Service House, as it is called now, but most expats call it the Mushroom building. It’s a very useful building because you can get all your documents done there. On the way there we could see the Rike park, the unfinished concert hall and the Presidential Palace on our right side and the TV tower on Mtatsminda, which means the Holy Mountain, on our left. We passed under the Baratashvili bridge and turned around at the Public Service House.
When we turned around, we had a great view of the Bridge of Peace, and passed the Sioni Cathedral on our right. It was busy with people as it was Palm Sunday. Then we went under the Metekhi bridge and saw the monument of the founder of Tbilisi Vakhtang Gorgasali on our left and the Narikala fortress on our right.
Staycations can lead to new discoveries
My biggest discovery during this trip were the bird colonies in the trees near the rocks. They appeared to be herons. There were also a lot of gulls flying and hunting on the river, but it seemed that they lived elsewhere. Unfortunately, our guide was not a bird expert, but he went closer to the colony and slowed down so we could observe them better and take some pictures. The birds appeared to be used to visitors and were even showing off some tricks.
On the way back, we had the most unpleasant part because it appeared that our guide had cut the queue. He asked us to tell the other guys that we had specially booked him, which we did. When we left the boat, the guys kept arguing. Apparently, there is cut-throat competition in the boat business. When we went up the Bridge of Peace and walked a bit in the Rike park, we were offered the boat ride every two minutes.
Taking a boat ride in your city is a great idea for staycation. I generally love to take boat tours while I am traveling abroad because it is a fun way of transportation and you get to see the city from another perspective. Why not to see your own city from another perspective?