Tbilisi Friends and Christmas Lights.

Out with the guys: Shonzo, me, Meskho, Irakli, Giorgi.

With the guys: Shonzo, me, Meskho, Irakli, Giorgi

I’m off to Europe for a few weeks, so here are some recent pictures of a few get-togethers with some friends, and the Christmas lights in Tbilisi.  Droebit!

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A few recent reviews

Been busy with work recently, so haven’t done much blog-worthy stuff; I’ve been mostly sitting at home working on various things, and haven’t left Tbilisi since my trip to the observatory last month.  So I thought I’d post a link or two to my most recent reviews for Georgia Today.

Here’s the one on a string quartet concert a few weeks ago:

In one of their infrequent appearances of late, the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater String Quartet last week presented three perennial chamber music favorites. The Mozart (mistakenly advertised as #4 in E minor; it was actually #17 “Hunt” in B flat major, the confusion arising probably because it is the fourth in a set of six pieces) is the most popular of his Haydn quartets, collectively generally considered the pinnacle of string quartet writing; while Beethoven’s youthful #6 retains the lightness and poise of the earlier classical tradition. Shostakovich’s 8th, too, is his most popular quartet, performed more than his other fourteen put together – and one of the few chamber pieces composed after the Second World War that can be said to be popular at all.

Here’s the rest.

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The National Observatory

The observatory.

The building housing the 1956 70cm meniscus telescope.

We arrived at the observatory as the sun was starting to set behind the mountains, so we dropped off our stuff and walked around the premises.  There were a few clouds floating by, but it promised to be a lovely clear night.  We had arranged to meet our host around 9:30, after nightfall, so we spent an hour or so walking around, taking a few pictures, and checking the place out.

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Abastumani

Abastumani, the spa town just below the observatory.

Abastumani, the spa town just below the observatory.

Last weekend Khatuna and I went back to Samtskhe-Javakheti to visit the national observatory near the spa town of Abastumani.  I’d intended to go the weekend before, but a large conference meant that it would be closed to visitors.  When I called I was told it’d be closed, but the following week they’d be open once again, and we could visit whenever we wanted.  However, I wasn’t sure we’d understood one another fully—he spoke no English, and my Georgian is still rudimentary—so I wrote an email to the address indicated on the English page of their website, and had Khatuna call too.   Continue reading

Uplistsikhe

The market in Gori, on the way to Uplistsikhe.

The market in Gori, on the way to Uplistsikhe.

Last Wednesday was Mtskhetoba, a national holiday, so Khatuna had the day free and we decided to visit Uplistsikhe just outside Gori.  We took a public taxi with two other people and arrived at the bus station/bazaar in Gori around 12:30, where we did a bit of quick shopping for our planned mtsvadi dinner.   Continue reading

Borjomi Mineral Water Park

Khatuna at the gates of the park.

Khatuna at the gates of the park.

Across the river from the center of town is the Borjomi Mineral Water Park, a lovely stretch of forrest following the valley along the Borjomula river. Continue reading

Borjomi & Akhaldaba

The Borjomi train station.

The Borjomi train station.

Friday morning we took a marshrutka to Borjomi, and decided to spend the day here.  Quite a lovely town; an old spa resort that was fashionable in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s after the mineral water springs were discovered by some Russian officers.  Now it’s popular in the summer with tourists and in the winter due to its proximity to Bakuriani, one of two ski resorts in Georgia.  The main road stretches between the river and the mountains, with shops on one side and a pleasant strip of park overlooking the river on the other.  On the other side of the river is the Borjomi Mineral Water Park. Continue reading