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Brutalist Architecture & Otherworldly Yugoslav Monuments (Russia/Bulgaria/ex-Yugo)

Brutalist Architecture & Otherworldly Yugoslav Monuments (Russia/Bulgaria/ex-Yugo)

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Old Aug 21, 17, 2:38 pm
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Brutalist Architecture & Otherworldly Yugoslav Monuments (Russia/Bulgaria/ex-Yugo)

Hi fellow Flyertalkers,

It has been a while since I (Yugo_Girl) have posted but I am back into it, back into the rhythm of reporting with the one and only (Yugo_boy). Last time it was a 3 month trip around Europe and the Balkans please see link for report: If not now, when? (Thailand, Western Europe, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia).

This time is a little different, the trip is entirely uplanned, whereas we were previously meticulous and there was no room for changing any flights, this time we a booking as we go and the end date of the trip is unknown. Below are the places we have been or place to visit so far!




[COLOR=&quot]Itinerary[/COLOR]

Part 1a: Vine Heaven, Wine Sausage, Buildings with Character and the Allure of Beautiful Tbilisi
Part 1b: Amazing Cable Car Ride in Tbilisi, Sensational Barbarestan Restaurant
Part 1c: Travelling to Mysterious Mtskheta – The 5th century BC city
Part 1d: Day Trip to visit Stalin in Gori and Uplistsikhe, the 3000 year old cave town!
Part 1e: A Hidden Waterfall, Wine Ice cream, stunning Mosque and the Leaning Clock Tower
Part 2a: Saint Petersburg, extravagance beyond belief: Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Part 2b: The Hermitage: The People’s Palace in Saint Petersburg
Part 2c: Peterhof Palace in Saint Petersburg: the Russian Versailles
Part 3: Rossiya Airlines Airbus A319: Domestic, Saint Petersburg – Moscow
Part 3a: Russia: The Moscow Effect: Those Sanctions are Hitting Hard
Part 3b: From Communism with Love: Moscow’s Crazy Communist Theme Park & Café Pushkin


We are starting this trip from Dubai, if you would like to view our trip up to Dubai we have started a vlog on YouTube for our travels up to Dubai please have a look at our videos and subscribe. We have put together a combination of Flight Reports and Travel Vlogs.

[COLOR=&quot]Our Flight reports are as follows[/COLOR]:



[COLOR=&quot]Our Travel Vlogs are found below[/COLOR] :



Flight: FlyDubai FZ -711
Origin: Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Arrival: Tbilisi International Airport (TBS)
Class: Economy
Aircraft: B-738


Even though you could see our Vlogs on YouTube, there is something fabulous about writing about a travelling to a place like Georgia. It is something I can best convey through writing, writing has a special way of allowing me to be the storyteller. So now, onto Georgia. Georgia was somewhere which was nearly impossible for us to travel to, we really had to think hard on this choice because it apart from being quite expensive, it was very difficult to connect all the flights, especially to Russia, however were desperate to see it. Georgia with its picturesque streets, ones that we could not imagine. Streets reminiscent of Paris, cobble streets of Rome, and the distinct charm that only Georgia can bring. So distant and unique, so typically Georgian. Only when we arrived and explored would we really know what that means. The kindness of the people, the beauty and rich history – such old history and the intricacies of incredible Georgia. So travel with us from Dubai to Georgia..


Our hotel – the Holiday Inn Express Dubai Airport $70 Aud per night, we had a very pleasant stay.


The room, basic however comfortable.


Breakfast at the Holiday Inn which was actually very nice. As you look at this plate, you should picture this scene. Here I was looking at this plate of food and I sat eating the Holiday Inn out of house and home, and this was only plate 1. Meanwhile, the lovely German woman at the table nearby from us had one grapefruit, that was it. Just one.


Dubai International Airport, the flight board


Yes, today we are flying FlyDubai. Yes we have all read the reviews – stories of lost luggage, after lost luggage and here we were ready to risk our luggage, with one advantage – we stayed the night in Dubai so they could not possibly lose the luggage (even though the plane to Dubai almost did not take off because it had a faulty auto-throttle – That’s a story for another day).


Our plane – as we were ushered onto the plane, I quickly snapped this “not-so-great” snap of half the plane missing.


Yugo_boy’s leg room, not so great.. I had quite a bit more.


The interior of the plane.. the couple in front of us had the misadventure of having me behind them because I was the exact perfect height to ruin every single selfie photo they attempted to take of themselves. I tried to manoeuvre out of their photo but however I moved they kept getting me in the background and I could see it.. and I just could not get out of their snaps!! I could see the lady in front getting very irritated at me, but I could not do anything about it. Eventually I scooted down and Yugo_boy advised me she snapped one good one.


Views from above


Landscapes and changing climates ..








Arrived in Tbilisi!!

Disembarking the aircraft


Tbilisi Airport






Inside the Airport


Waiting for the luggage, it came quite quickly, we were easily able to leave quickly.




The Exterior of the Airport, Georgian very difficult to read if you do not speak Georgian, in the actual cities off out of the touristy parts there is not much in English, so communication is difficult. Most tourists here are Russian, and given its Former Soviet Republic status, the older generation do speak Russian.


The bus we took for 0.50 cents Aud per person. Yugo_boy forgot his backpack just prior to this came back and when he returned he asked me where I had left it only to realise that he had left it in customs whilst he was exchanging money. We got off the bus and stopped at a metro that took us to Marjanishvili Street. The lady checking tickets was so officious and luckily willing to help us. She told us in Russian that we could actually get off at any bus stop with a metro station and that would take us to where we needed to get to.


The back of our AirBnB for $40 Aud a night a street away from Marjanishvili Street, a picturesque Parisian looking street.


Our snacks at a cost of $20 Aud.


The view from our balcony.

We were very excited to visit Georgia and Tbilisi did not disappoint, stay tuned for more photos to come Yugo_girl out!

Last edited by YU_GO_GONE; Nov 20, 17 at 6:23 pm
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Old Aug 21, 17, 4:07 pm
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I stay tuned
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Old Aug 22, 17, 1:46 am
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Georgia looks fantastic and is next on my list, so please keep posting.
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Old Aug 22, 17, 6:28 am
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Oh wow!! Welcome back - and you started off by visiting Tbilisi - been there a few times and really enjoyed every visit. The Khachapuri bread remains my favourite.
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Old Aug 22, 17, 11:53 pm
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Tbilisi is a lovely place for sure. Hope you've enjoyed your visit.

Regards from Sofia
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Old Aug 23, 17, 2:31 pm
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Vine Heaven, Wine Sausage, Buildings with Character and the Allure of Beautiful Tbili

Tbilisi, how can I possibly describe a place with the most peculiar and beautiful places, churches and people I have seen, both Georgian and Armenian. A country that strikes you completely at the first visit, Tbilisi was founded in the 5th century AD when it became the capital, prior to this Mtskheta was the capital (20km away from Tbilisi) and I can give endless reasons why it is still a fantastic idea to visit this strange and exotic place. Georgia to us was very strange, in the sense that it had the feel of Europe with its history dating back to 4th century BC! King Vakhtang Gorgasali of Kartli is said to be the founder of Tbilisi with his fascination becoming forming a legend revolving around the hot springs, giving Tbilisi its current name. Georgia to this day remains a hybrid city with Asian and European aspects, its history is some of the oldest in the world yet it remains quite unknown to the western world. Notwithstanding this fact, we are certain this will be the next big thing, this will be the destination every traveller in the world will be visiting very soon, if they have not already. It has definitely found its way into our hearts. So go with us to Tbilisi, a city that Alexandre Dumas described as the “city of legend and romance”.


The YouTube Vlogs that accompany this report are:






On our balcony we had our breakfast, with this view


Our days in hidden Georgia started with Georgian products, namely Tonis puri (the canoe shaped bread we bought from the local baker) for 40 lari for one. Cheese, croissants, tomatoes and salami, nectarine and peach. Our favourite.


Let’s start on the architecture..




The Radisson building was formerly a luxury hotel turned into a refugee camp, and now the Radisson.






Georgian National Academy of Sciences






Such street art was everywhere..


Georgian National Opera Theatre


The Opera.. incredible!


Buildings such as these were everywhere! With flowers like these as decoration.


The National Gallery


The Kashveti Church of St. George is a Georgian Orthodox on Rustaveli Avenue


The Parliament building




Freedom Square






How incredible is this!






I fell in love with this old staircase, it really is so romantic.




Most of the markets are like this, mini markets run by the local people who produce it themselves which means a lot of it is organic.





An old man on the street saw us looking at the courtyard he came out of (where he lived) and opened the gate for us to film. I got so emotional because he was so kind, old and cute and allowed us to film his private courtyard for no reason at all. The people are so kind, most of the older people speak Russian and Georgian which means you can communicate in Russian which was easier than Georgian for us.


Note: the spiral staircases, so Georgian!


I love the vines!!
















How can anyone not love this! We walked 20km plus to take in as much as we could, needless to say we had a lot of ground to cover. We walked from Marjanishvili Street to old town Tbilisi which was about 4-5km. Marjanishvili does have a metro however, we do believe the best way to acquaint yourself with a city is to walk the city, and although we were quite a bit out of the Old Town, we stayed in the most picturesque area and loved every moment.











The statue behind was built in 1958 is named Kartvlis Deda, meaning "Mother of a Georgian" and she stands in traditional Georgian dress on top of Sololaki Hill.


Jvaris Mama Church


Jvaris Mama Church, how SPECTACULARLY beautiful is this!!!


















A synagogue






Saint George Armenian Cathedral of Tbilisi
















Typical Georgian Babushki (grandmothers), they were so cute – they bought tea and sat in the park.


Yugo_boy holds a Churchkhela, which we thought was a sausage, this candle-shaped sweet is traditional Georgian and is made from a combination of wine, nuts, grapes and flour.




One of our favourite places in Tbilisi!!!!




As some know, I am a HUGE vine fan (fan of vines), and Tbilisi is VINE CAPITAL, vine heaven with beautiful red roses!!



Just look at THIS!




David Agmashenebeli Avenue – so picturesque! Very close to where we were staying!


David Agmashenebeli Avenue


David Agmashenebeli Avenue – how can anyone not love this. Plus the ambiance! With live Georgian music playing at times..















And to end.. one of my favourite buildings! We absolutely loveee Tbilisi! If anyone has any suggestions on the size of the photos please let me know, or any better photo streaming websites, I’m hoping this size is good so you can all enjoy it as much as we have! More of Georgia to come!!

Last edited by YU_GO_GONE; Aug 23, 17 at 2:38 pm
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Old Aug 24, 17, 1:03 am
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
I stay tuned
I'm so glad you're back Offerendum! We hope you like the content!!!! Lots of photos to come
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Old Aug 24, 17, 1:05 am
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Originally Posted by camsean View Post
Georgia looks fantastic and is next on my list, so please keep posting.
We hope you get to visit!!! It's so nice lots of natural beauty, architecture, quaint vines and lovely people! Hopefully it convinces you that you need to visit soon!! -YugoGirl ⭐️
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Old Aug 24, 17, 1:09 am
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Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post
Oh wow!! Welcome back - and you started off by visiting Tbilisi - been there a few times and really enjoyed every visit. The Khachapuri bread remains my favourite.
Thank you roadwarrior! You're so lucky!!! We are thinking of going back again!!! We had khachapuri overdose, ordered way to much and didn't realise the place we went to served MASSIVE portions, however it has not deterred me, I could go for some right now!!! 😅⭐️
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Old Aug 24, 17, 1:12 am
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Originally Posted by MA330 View Post
Tbilisi is a lovely place for sure. Hope you've enjoyed your visit.

Regards from Sofia
Blagodarya! We have LOVED every minute! We regret not staying longer! We will be visiting Sofia soon as we are in Bulgaria right now 🇧🇬⭐️
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Old Aug 31, 17, 1:01 pm
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Amazing Cable Car Ride in Tbilisi, Sensational Barbarestan Restaurant

Starting our day we walked around to David Agmashenebeli Avenue, but the real sensation was Barbarestan Restaurant! Our host was an older man, very friendly. I asked him whether he was the owner, he stated that the young man walking around working as a waiter was the son of the owner and that his family owned the restaurant. Interestingly, he showed me the photo of the family downstairs, and said that the young man’s mother had just given birth to the 10th child in the family. The photograph was very regal and beautiful, showing various generations of siblings. The most magical thing about Barbarestan apart from the incredible food! And it was incredible, was the service we received and the concept of the restaurant itself. Named after a Georgian feminist, the host showed us the old book was shown to us, beautiful and archaic, all the recipes used in the restaurant were from the cookbook written by Barbare Jorjadze, a feminist of XIX-XX century. The quality of the service and food is just as rich as the atmosphere downstairs where live Georgian music plays, but the fancy, and classical type (you should really listen to the music on the vlog, it is like nothing else, so you can truly feel the atmosphere). Next you experience the cable car of funicular where you can see the entire city of Tbilisi, literally at your feet. So come and live vicariously through our photos and the video vlogs below:



Amazing Cable Car Ride in Tbilisi Georgia | Travel Vlog #12




Our friendly neighbourhood cat!

Marjanishvili street

Marjanishvili street, which was absolutely stunning with a Parisian feel to it, however the one thing the thing that really affected me in Tbilisi is the amount of beggars there is, and yes there are beggars in many places but in Tbilisi they were all elderly people, people without any means to sustain themselves. As a young person from a western country, I know that nowadays even the younger generation struggle to obtain employment with multiple qualifications, it is a struggle for everyone especially in countries such as this where there is such a stark disparity between the poverty of elderly populace and incredibly beautiful scenery. So having seen the same woman on the street every day, we gave to her, she was our go-to-girl per se and we would stop and drop in her tin any change we had, her and every other old person in Tbilisi..



The Amber Bar on David Agmashenebeli Avenue

This is delicious!



David Agmashenebeli Avenue is absolutely picturesque, it is so hip and happening. Everyone visits here and how could they not, look at this architecture!



Barbarestan Restaurant! An assortment of Georgian dips, these were so tasty! I would love to be back here! It is very fancy, but the vibe is classical and unmitigated beauty. For a high end restaurant the prices are reasonable, the entire meal cost $55 Aud and the food and service was incredible.




The waiter came over and I really wanted to try the duck, however Yugoboy was very hesitant and so we initially decided on chicken and when the waiter asked what we wanted I said chicken and he said: “really the chicken? Try the duck, it’s exciting”. At that moment he had read my mind, I really wanted to try the duck, having never tried is previously. So I ordered the duck for us and hoped for the best and it was one of the best food choices I have made! Apparently it can taste meaty, but this was smooth just like the best beef you could try. I highly recommend the duck!


The downstairs area, during my private tour of the restaurant, yes the host gave us a private tour and told us about Georgian history (I filmed some of it on the YouTube video). I am so glad we filmed it I cannot adequately convey the beauty of this place. It is definitely one of my top restaurants in the world.

Outside Barbarestan, as though stepping out of Cinderella, one last glimpse of perfection before your glass slippers disappear..



A common cheese dish..


The Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi known as Sameba, interestingly this church was constructed between 1995 and 2004. I had actually thought it was much older, much much older and was disappointed to find it was quite new. Sameba is incredible, so beautiful, however the grandeur and affluence of the cathedral, is juxtaposed with the countless elderly beggars on the path to the church just before entering, some which sat on the ground crying and howling..

The grounds are picturesque


The design is very intricate and interesting



YugoBoy back in form!

I love vines so much! One of the highlights of Tbilisi for me, this type of design is very Georgian!





These photos speak for themselves.. the cable car! It was very cheap, to ride the funicular it was 2 GEL plastic card (sold at the ticket office) and it takes you to the Mt Mtatsminda.








This monument is called Kartlis Deda it was erected on the top Sololaki hill in 1958, it commemorated Tbilisi’s 1500th anniversary. The name means Mother of a Kartli or Mother of a Georgian.

Kartlis Deda overlooks the entirety of Tbilisi, a woman protecting.


The Old town.



Dinner at Culinarium Khasheria, very modern Georgian cuisine. A fusion of the traditional and new!




We came to eat. We do not muck around.. 😉

Freedom Square, located on the eastern end of Rustaveli Avenue, the monument on top is a St. George Statue.

We hope you’re loving Georgia as much as we are, more of Georgia to come!
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Old Aug 31, 17, 9:49 pm
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Thank you for this. I loved Tbilisi and this is bringing back very fond memories. Nice to see you back for a second report as well - your last report was fantastic, in particular the sections on Makarska which I don't mind admitting that I mined for our recent trip there!
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Old Sep 2, 17, 5:21 am
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Originally Posted by Top of climb View Post
Thank you for this. I loved Tbilisi and this is bringing back very fond memories. Nice to see you back for a second report as well - your last report was fantastic, in particular the sections on Makarska which I don't mind admitting that I mined for our recent trip there!
Oh wow!! Thank you so much for your comment! I love that you were inspired to go to there and that you used our sections of our report to enhance your trip!! That makes me so happy to hear! I am so glad people actually like the report and that our Tbilisi report reminds you of the good memories you have while there! I hope you will continue to be reminded of your time there!
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Old Sep 2, 17, 1:26 pm
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Great report so far! I've had Georgia on my list for awhile. Looks as if I should make an effort to pursue it!
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Old Sep 3, 17, 12:07 pm
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Travelling to Mysterious Mtskheta – The 5th century BC city

Mtskheta is very close to Tbilisi (about 20km away) we took the local bus (Marshrutka) which cost next to nothing but was difficult to locate, as everything was in Georgian but we found it. I remember receiving as a gift from Yugo_Boy this lonely planet book and it had Georgia in it with this beautiful church on top of a mountain top and the view was sensational and I always wanted to see it, the it, was Mtskheta.. It dates back to the 5th century BC and is known as the birthplace and epicentres of the Georgian Orthodox Church, it was declared as the "Holy City" of Georgia. Mtskheta was the capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia (Kartli) from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. Later the capital was moved to Tbilisi. It is truly worth a visit. Please see below for more vibrance in our YouTube video:




We were dropped off at the Samtavro Transfiguration Orthodox Church and Nunnery of St. Nino in Mtskheta. These were built in the 4th century by King Mirian III of Iberia.






I cannot get enough of these vines!


Tonis puri, typical Georgian bread








Fortress walls around Svetitskhoveli Cathedral


Jvari Monastery is a sixth century Georgian Orthodox monastery, it is on top of a mountain overlooking Mtskheta.


The view is sensational! We reached the monastery by taxi, a local drove us who called himself Grandfather Koba, and INSISTED we call him grandfather. He was super nice and friendly, and we communicated by Russian, it’s a struggle without Russian, as Georgian is completely different to any Slavic language and because we plan all our own trips and we do not travel with tour guides it was easier for us to compare the prices each taxi driver would charge us to drive us up this mountain, as it is quite far from the Old Town of Mtskheta. It was less than $15 Aud.














Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.


Inside Svetitskhoveli, it is quite old too.


Present cathedral was completed in 1029 by Georgian architect Arsukisdze, however the site dates back to the 4th century.




















Café Tatin for lunch


Chocolate pancakes!








Cute cats!


Antioch Church, in the background you can see Jvari.. quite high up!






Sakhachapure N1, Tbilisi for the best Khachapuri - a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread!!


The best Khachapuri we had absolutely delicious!!!


We love Georgia and there are more sites to come soon 😊
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