It seems we are trying to pack in as much traveling as possible this month, even if that means we are only gone for about 24 hours at a time. Makes sense, seeing as 1) this country is amazingly beautiful and fun, and 2) we are missing out on a month of travel opportunity since we will be home in August. Hence why we’ve done two back-to-back overnight trips, and this time around we visited the little resort town of Borjomi.
I’m going to ask you the same question Sean asked me as we drove to Borjomi: what do you think Georiga’s number one export is?
*insert Jeopardy music*
I’m guessing you said wine, as I did, and you’d be wrong. The correct answer is actually mineral water. Tiny little Borjomi’s claim to fame is their mineral water springs and production of bottled naturally carbonated water known as – you guessed it – Borjomi. It’s a popular drink sold everywhere in Georgia and is often a staple at supras and other celebrations. It’s has a very distinct taste which divides many. You either love it or hate it. I personally don’t mind the taste (as long as it’s cold), but I know it’s not for everyone.
Side note – Borjomi has probably the best website for water I’ve ever seen.
Built around this mineral spring there is a beautiful central park with amusement rides and games for children, but the focal point is the green glass dome above a tasting point where you can try the famous mineral water straight from the source. Tasting is free so Sean and I both tried it and, well, it’s not our favorite. Without filtration, the water was hot, carbonated, and tasted very strongly of sulfur. I think I’ll stick to the bottled version from now on.
Behind the park, there is a trail which leads to hot (they’re tepid, really) pools of spring water for swimming. It’s about a 20-30 minute walk, but you can hire a taxi if you’d prefer. Our tolerance for crowded public pools is very low, so we only stayed about 20 minutes, but the experience was relatively pleasant.
For anyone who is from Wisconsin, the best way to describe Borjomi is this: a Georgian attempt at the Wisconsin Dells. We had a lot of fun walking the streets at twilight past vendor upon vendor selling souvenirs or local products, recalling our childhood trips to the waterpark capital of the world. Sure Borjomi is a bit more run down that The Dells, but the comparison isn’t far off in my opinion. It’s also very inexpensive to visit. Our meals were tasty and under 40 lari for both of us – wine, dessert, and several main dishes included.
Our second day we took the cable car to the top of the hill to see the city from above. There is a restaurant up top, but what we were interested is was the Ferris Wheel. It wasn’t running as we approached, but the workers saw us and motioned us forward. For two lari we got a private ride for even more spectacular views of the city. Never mind the fact that I absolutely hate Ferris Wheels, and held on for dear life.
Overall our experience in Borjomi was charming and endearing. I definitely would like to return sometime before we leave Georgia to enjoy this tranquil little town on the river.