For two consecutive weekends I was able to explore one of Tbilisi’s most fantastic places – Vake Park.
During the first visit, I took advantage of the great weather and hiked to Turtle Lake. Upon entering the park, one sees how large it is. Much of the park is forested and when looking into the park you can follow the trees all the way up the hill. The park was opened in 1946 and there are a couple predominate statues down the center walk-way including one of an Unknown Soldier, who sacrificed his life in the Second World War.
I walked up the stairs to the statue at the top then took a winding road up to Turtle Lake. Turtle Lake, or Kus Tba in Georgian, is about 687 meters above sea level. It was quite a hike up here! Instead of taking the road the entire way we decided to scale the hill itself. The higher we climbed the more snow we encountered. Because of the warm weather, some was starting to melt and it became rather muddy in parts, but it was worth it once we arrived at the top.
The Lake was beautiful with the sun shining and the snow still on the hills in the background. Because it was the first sunny day in a while, there were many Tbilisians out enjoying the day. We were able to enjoy lunch with a great view of the water and people.
There were some amazing views of Tbilisi on the way to the bottom. We took the road the entire way down and by the time we got there I was really glad to be walking on level ground.
During the next weekend I was able to see a different side of Vake Park: I went to a rugby game at Lokomotivi Stadium. The Georgian national rugby union team, The Lelos, played against Romania. It was my first time to a live rugby match and it was very interesting. I was with a large group of people, some of whom were Georgian and they taught us some of the cheers. My favorite was “Lelo, Lelo, Sakartvelo!!”, which means “Go! Georgia! Go!”
The thing that amazed me most was the sheer size of the players! They are huge! Although I did not understand everything they were doing during the game it was a great way to spend an afternoon. The fans in the stadium and around were enthusiastic and full of energy. Hopefully I can attend another game and spend more time in Vake Park.