One of the reasons that prompted me to visit my new friend Georgia in my solo trip in early 2020 was because I was addicted to wine and I was eager to see how the country that invented the wine recipe with 8,000 years of winemaking tradition would be like. With the great Caucasus Mountains separating Europe and Asia, Georgia’s strategic location has always attracted conquerors and it is also an important point on the Silk Road.

The e-visa application process was quite simple, only costing $20 for a 30-day Multiple Entry. The application process includes a Visa/Master card, passport photo, and passport scan. After 3-5 working days, you will have your visa.

My first impression of the capital Tbilisi was the customs officer. He asked me a lot of questions because at that time Vietnam already had Covid-19 cases. After checking my documents, his face relaxed and he gave me a bottle of red wine, a gift from the government for tourists! I fell in love with this country right from the first beautiful gesture. I accepted it right away, without hesitation, while people from Islamic countries refused, what a pity.

It was January, winter time, and Georgia was freezing for a tropical person like me, but the cold weather actually helped me to be less tired so I could immerse myself in this new land. The first thing I did was to learn a few Georgian phrases to greet people. The taxi driver Amyo in the picture helped me with this. You should remember this if you plan to go to Georgia.

To be honest, with the cultural difference, at first I thought the people here were hard. But gradually I realized that their communication style is straightforward and sincere, getting straight to the point instead of beating around the bush like the English way. Yes/No are clear, no need to beat around the bush. The coldness and unfriendliness of the faces will change immediately if you greet them with: Ga Mar Jo Ba, so the communication gaps are all shortened to understand the Georgian soul.

Georgia is a destination for tourists from Russia, Eastern Europe and surrounding Islamic countries with many harsh laws. They come to visit the land of free souls, flowing wine, the birthplace of Stalin. If you are looking for a luxurious shopping trip or famous check-in points, I sincerely advise you to choose another destination.

One Georgian dish that I still often remember is Khinlali, a typical Dumpling with thick dough to hold the meat and mushroom sauce inside, instead of steaming, you will boil it. Khinkali is shaped like breasts and when you eat it, you will bite into it to suck the meat, mushroom, and cheese juice inside first and then enjoy the rest, then leave the bottom to count who will eat the most after the party. Sometimes I crave it so much, I still have to cook this dish.

Each family and clan has their own ‘Homemade Wine’ recipe according to their own taste. They grow their own grapes and distill them in their cellars, with the surplus to drink within the family and give to friends.

In winter, there will not be too many sunny days for a photographer to fully immerse himself, the time to play, enjoy food, and be curious about life is the main thing. And I told myself, this trip I will follow my heart, the plan is to have no plan for the nature of having fun, stay in any city that I like, to see what will happen to the tropical girl in the winter in a strange country this.