Signagi

June 2015

Another place definitely worth a visit is an ancient town about an hour and a half east of the capital Tbilisi, called SIgnagi. This was the first trip I did outside Tbilisi, and was suggested by a group of people from Finland staying at the hostel who I befriended, so I thought why not? The town was fairly close, just about an hour and a half southeast of Tbilisi in Georgia's wine country area. Unlike the mountains to the north and sea to the west, this area was much more dry and arid, but still picturesque green fields and valleys as far as he eye can see.

The town itself was, as expected, was a quaint little spot, almost resembling an 'old town' section of a European city' on a hill overlooking the vast open countryside. It was  significantly smaller than Tbilisi and a bit touristy, but still was something definitely worth seeing. The main draws here are an old church and monastery dating back to the third century, thus predating Georgia's official conversion to Christianity, which of course we checked out. But the biggest highlight of the town, to me at least, turned out to be something completely unexpected that we came across by accident.

After going all over the city center, we decided to venture to the outskirts of the town to get away from the tourists and street vendors, when something caught my eye. Tucked away on the left hand side of the road was a small property behind an open gate. There was a sign in front that read 'Wino i Chleb' (Wine and bread), embroidered with the Georgian and Polish flags. As I an often intrigued by signs, I entered and beckoned my Finnish friends to follow. We walked up the stone path, when the front door opened.

There, in the entrance way, stood a tall shirtless Polish man with short brown hair, looking a little groggy as if he'd just woken up from a nap. He quickly apologised for being in his underwear, but we said no worries and began introducing ourselves. As it turned out, this guy hitchhiked there from Poland a few years back and enjoyed the food, wine and lifestyle so much, he decided to stay and start his own mini business (Wino i Chleb). Naturally, we asked if he had any wine for sale, to which he replied, "Of course."

Happily I indulged and bought the two oddest kinds he had, a black wine and a grapeskin one. The black one was such a dark red that it seemed quite literally black, and the grapeskin, as the name suggests, was made exclusively out of the sink of the grapes. As expected, they were both delicious (and did not last long). We soon said our goodbyes and departed, but made sure to get the business info for Wino i Chleb in the almost definite chance we return, which as of this year will be easier because, according to his website, his house is now a guesthouse. So yes, it has gotten even more awesome.