March 2016

Postcards from Mtskheta

Published: 31 March, 2016 seen 86

Mtskheta is small and lovely town located some 20 km from nation' s capital Tbilisi. Some will find a lot of similarities in Mtskheta with town of Sighanghi, while others will enjoy architectural and religious pearls of Mtskheta. Svetitskhoveli church, Jvari monastery or Samtavro are just a few to name.  In today' s Piece of Life series - Mtskheta as we saw it on International Women' s day (March 8) Cobbled street in Mtskheta With the famous Svetitskhoveli cathedral at the end of the street Svetitskhoveli cathedral Mtskheta and surrounding mountains Mtskheta definitely is a photographers…

Samtavro Monastery

Published: 31 March, 2016 seen 558 Churches and Monasteries

Samtavro Monastery together with Svetitskhoveli cathedral and Jvari monastery are one of the main sights of historical town of Mtskheta, located some 20 km from nation's capital Tbilisi.  Official nam of this place is Samtavro Transfiguration Orthodox Church and Nunnery of St. Nino in Mtskheta, Georgia. It is believed that church were built in the 4th century by King Mirian III of Iberia. Nowadays Samtvaro is very popular tourist destination in Mtskheta with much greater popularity among Georgian believers - it's always crowded here. The nuns living and praying here speaks very good English,…

Guest House / Restaurant 'Āķa Gals' in Pāvilosta

Published: 30 March, 2016 seen 95 Restaurant reviews

If there is a reason I would love to return to Latvian coastal town of Pāvilosta - cuisine served at restaurant Āķa Gals will be probably at top of my priorities.  Cozy tavern located in the dunes of Pāvilosta, only 100 meters from the sea, is a great place for celebrations, relaxation and recreation with family and friends. Guesthouse / Tavern Āķagals in Pāvilosta Visitors both of simple and refined tastes will enjoy traditional Latvian dishes and international cuisine served in pleasant atmosphere by kind staff. Salmon cream soup - a traditional Latvian dish Here you can taste dishes…

Pāvilosta piers and Lighthouse

Published: 30 March, 2016 seen 82 Tourism objects

If planing your trip to Latvian coastal town of Pāvilosta don't forget to plan a trip to Pāvilosta piers, grab your camera and make some stunning sunset photography here.  I first visited the piers of Pāvilosta and the town at the end of Summer 2015, and let me express my desire to acquire a small summer cottage here, thus I you plan to make some investments here - hurry up, a lot of foreigner have already bought real-estate at this Latvian coastal town and the prices might be up (haven't checked actually). It might sound a little bit overstated, but allow me to say - Latvians have their own…

Gujari Restaurant Museum in Mtskheta

Published: 29 March, 2016 seen 755 Restaurant reviews

Gujari restaurant - museum is another absolutely brilliant restaurant I have lately discovered. Located in the historical and picturesque town of Mtskheta, some 20 km from nation's capital Tbilisi. Discovered again - by accident - after just wandering around town of Mtksheta, After visiting Svetitskhoveli cathedral I decided it would be great to walk around Mtskheta and find some non-touristic places. And wuola - instead of tourist attractions - another great restaurant. Giraffe at Gujari restaurant in Mtskheta This restaurant features a very good landscaped territory, equipped with a lot of…

Georgian Yard (Kartuli Ezo) in Mtskheta

Published: 29 March, 2016 seen 438 Restaurant reviews

Restaurant "Georgian Yard" is located in the central part of Mtskheta - the ancient capital of Georgia, near the Cathedral Svetitskoveli in the territory of the central square of parking. This restaurant is famous among tourists and guests serving delicious traditional Georgian dishes, medium prices, interesting and pleasant environment. Georgian Yard in Mtskheta Restaurant "Georgian Yard" unites few companies - "Fast Food," where you can enjoy delicious meals as well as hot and cold drinks;  "Wine shop" where you can taste for free and purchase the desired type of alcoholic beverage - wine…

Saka Baptist Church

Published: 28 March, 2016 seen 86 Churches and Monasteries

An interesting church I discovered driving Aizpute - Pāvilosta road, back at the Summer 2015 - Meet Saka Baptist church in the middle of nowhere. Thus the church was closed, I was amazed of how well the territory around Saka Baptist church was landscaped.  Saka Baptist church There is an inscription plate above the main entrance doors at church saying this church was built in 1888, although there is written in strange (old?) Latvian - Bap.Basniza, which would translate as Baptist church, thus there is no such  word as Basniza in modern Latvian, instead there is Baznīca. Priest's house at…

Awakening garden in Aizpute

Published: 28 March, 2016 seen 54 Tourism objects

Almost in the city center of Aizpute, on Atmodas street is located Awakening garden (Atmodas dārzs, in Latvian). It's created by group of people from cross-art organization 'Serde' ('Core') The second life is given to empty water bottles in which tomatoes, cabbage, strawberries, mint and many other popular plants are grown.  Awakening garden in Aizpute I really love such sustainable development ideas, Less is more. Some time ago we planted veggies at our rural house in wooden boxes and got really good harvest. Veggies in plastic bottles Dirt cheap way to have a mini garden. Each plastic…

Svetiskhoveli cathedral in Mtskheta

Published: 27 March, 2016 seen 1,208 Churches and Monasteries

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is an another must have tourist attraction site not to miss when traveling to Georgia. Located in historical and picturesque town of Mtskheta some 20 km from nation's capital Tbilisi. It is the second largest church building in the country, after the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi (Sameba), and is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other historical monuments of Mtskheta. Rumor has it - Jesus robe (mantle) is buried exactly here - well, there are at least three official church versions of Jesus robe destiny, and among them Svetitskhoveli stands out…

Plaza Hotel in Batumi

Published: 27 March, 2016 seen 434 Hotel reviews

Are you looking for a budget friendly hotel in Batumi? I can highly recommend one -  Plaza hotel, located next to the Batumi bay. Plaza Hotel is located close to Batumi Port and in very short distance from city center. We booked Plaza hotel using local Georgian coupon site - hotsale.ge and got a lovely room with balcony and access to the Olympic swimming pool for just 50 GEL per night (with breakfast included).  We stayed here for two nights at the start of March 2016. It was already late night when we arrived to Batumi (with rail from Tbilisi) - and just shortly we checked in to our room I…

Day Trip to Kakheti in Georgia

Published: 26 March, 2016 seen 4,177 Tours in Georgia

Day trips to the region of Kakheti in Georgia are quite possible and I would actually recommend taking one if you have a chance. I have explored the region of Kakheti in different ways (mostly by marshrutka and car). I prefer a personal car with a driver. If you feel you are indie or rough traveler you might try marshrukta leaving from Tbilisi. Today I'll show you one of my favorite Kakheti day trip routes which is accessible by car. This route will take you from Tbilisi to Telavi, then to nearby Kvareli and in the evening back to Tbilisi. (You should plan this day trip as early as possible)…

Meet the New Roof (Pictures Before and After)

Published: 26 March, 2016 seen 491 Home Remodeling

Yesterday we told Goodbye's to our old roof by setting up a large bonfire. Today we are saying hi to the new roof. Although officially major roof works were done a few days before - today is the day when final images of new roofing appear. We still have some unfinished roof related works to do, but the final roof construction is here. To make a better understanding what's going out - see before and after. What we got (before) Moss covering the roof Not only moss is covering roof, the construction is skew and what's major the right side of roofing is leaky. For a complete photo story of what…

Google Makes The NIK Collection Plugins Free

Published: 25 March, 2016 seen 97 Digital Photography School

Great news Johann shared on Georgia Ex-pat Photographer club wall today - Starting March 24, 2016, the latest Nik Collection will be freely available to download: Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine. Get Nik Collection for free now If you purchased the Nik Collection in 2016, you will receive a full refund, which we’ll automatically issue back to you in the coming days. Photo enthusiasts all over the world use the Nik Collection to get the best out of their images every day. As we continue to focus our long-term investments in…

How to Make Traditional Italian Pizza

Published: 25 March, 2016 seen 1,175 Food blogger

An Italian pizza was the reason for our latest travels to Italy, it was at the start of November 2015, I was kneading dough for pizza, when my beloved told me - hey, we should visit Italy and try real Italian Pizza. So we did - we spent about a week in Italy, traveling a lot and trying real Italian cuisine.  Speaking of Italian pizza in Italy, here is the craziest pizza topped with a lot of prosciutto I ever have tried - Restaurant Antica Drogheria in Lucca, Italy, those guys just rock, if you are in vicinity of Lucca (the most famous landmark of that area probably is the leaning tower of…

Vake Park in Tbilisi

Published: 25 March, 2016 seen 1,032 Tourism objects

Vake park is popular recreational area in Tbilisi. Opened for public since 1946, it was built in the former wastelands. Designed by architect K. Dgebuadze and dendrologist N. Tsitsishvili a lot of work on the drainage and landscaping with the use of blasting was carried out, created soil, planted hundreds of thousands of conifers, deciduous fruit trees (successful experience of mass transplanting adult specimens) and shrubs . Creation of the park was the largest tree planting project of Tbilisi back of the time. Vake park in Tbilisi If you had traveled to Yereven, Armenia, you will find some…

Fire, Water, Burn - Goodbye Old Roof!

Published: 24 March, 2016 seen 67 Home Remodeling

It was time to make a bonfire and burn wood shingle (what use to be a roof cover). At the end of Summer (2015) our bonfire place ready to be set on fire, also it was very large. I still decided to wait for a rainy day, to minimize fire risks. I negotiated with our construction worker, who turned out to be a semiprofessional industrial burner (10 years in forestry), called to the local fire station and asked for permission, informing about precise location. They have local watch towers, and just to make sure there is no misunderstanding it's good to inform local authorities (it might be even…

Building a Dog house

Published: 24 March, 2016 seen 44 DIY

Recently we inherited not only a bad managed rural house, but also got a German shepherd dog Bob. I have posted a lot about our home remodeling works, and in one article you can see Bob. Bob is very scared dog, he doesn't trust people, as his owner passed away, he haven't approached any people, even me. After a summer spent in our rural house, the best we could achieve - Bob laying in front of house and observing us. We feed Bob well and during our absence we have negotiated good people to help us out to take care of Bob, thus Bob doesn't approves any help, just a daily dose of dog food.  The…

Shooting Hanheld HDR Photography

Published: 23 March, 2016 seen 101 Digital Photography School

As some of you already know lately I'm a lot into HDR photography. For most of the times I'm shooting from a tripod, but sometimes (just sometimes) I'm lazy enough to take tripod with me. In most cases I end up damning myself for not taking tripod this time and most often avoid HDR shooting. Also in a lot of popular tourist spots (churches,cathedrals) it's forbidden to use a tripod - so you are left with handheld and no flashlight photography. Thus, that doesn't mean you cannot shoot HDR without a tripod, you can actually make really striking HDR photography handheld. You don't need flash…

Otium Restaurant in Tbilisi

Published: 23 March, 2016 seen 420 Restaurant reviews

Otium restaurant is a very stylish, but what's interesting not at all expensive venue, located in neighborhood of Vake in Tbilisi (uphill on the Turtle lake road). I have dozen of times passed by this restaurant during some of mine hiking trips around here (See: Hiking in Tbilisi - Turtle lake (Kus Tba) - Vake Park) but I always refused to visit it, because I thought it should be out of my league (all those SUV cars parked in front of the entrance, with CD number plates). I usually avoid too much extravagant places, but I was wrong - I really enjoyed Otium restaurant, and as said - I was…

Invest in Georgia - Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending - Mintos.com

Published: 22 March, 2016 seen 2,305 Living in Georgia

After almost five years spent as an ex-pat and passive investor (savings accounts only) in Republic of Georgia, time after time I'm looking for some other liquid investment opportunities in Georgia. Mostly I end up with stock exchange, but for now Georgian Stock Exchange market doesn't seems transparent enough and easy accessible. By saying - not enough transparent I mean - I haven't find yet a broker offering real-time stats.  Time after time I end up in official Invest in Georgia website www.investingeorgia.org, there are good information provided for investment opportunities in this…

The Roof Works are Done (Almost)

Published: 22 March, 2016 seen 87 Home Remodeling

That August, 2015 day was a huge day - we finished roof covering works in our rural country house. It took us about a month as we launched roofing works, and it will take us few more days to complete roofing completely. I didn't photographed today much, or day before (when most covering were done), in fact I didn't photographed at all, my better part did. Here is what we got: Almost done here Just three more roof plates (int total for both sides its 26 plates) and the large roof works are officially done Couple of hours latter Its done! Few more bolts Now, its time to add roof ridge,  wind…

Aerial photos from rooftop

Published: 22 March, 2016 seen 52 Home Remodeling

Today we continued covering roof with metal plates, in a short break I took my DSRL camera a top on the roof and made some aerial photos. You won't get here views as nice as you could get from Tbilisi or Batumi aerial trams, but taking into consideration that we are speaking of an old rural house - these views are as much great. Roof masters a top on the roof (Edgars and Guntars) Aerial view to our veggie garden Few months ago we planted some goodies in the wooden boxes - and look what a harvest we have. Yes the new roof cover looks great as well. Skewed barn One day I will fix this too…

Intelligentsia Coffee Bar Tbilisi

Published: 21 March, 2016 seen 396 Restaurant reviews

I have spent countless hours at Intelligentsia Coffee Bar near Turtle lake in Tbilisi - this place has been my offsite office in hot Summer days (see: Turtle lake - my working place for today) or starting point before taking a hike (see: Hiking in Tbilisi - Turtle lake (Kus Tba) - Vake Park)  As the name of this place stats - it's a coffee bar, but you can order delicious meal here as well, starting Panini ending French fries. Intelligentsia Coffee Bar near Turtle lake Stylish interior Coffee bar Intelligentsia is a super place whether just to chill out or take your laptop with you and work…

Azerbaijani Restaurant Agha in Tbilisi

Published: 21 March, 2016 seen 1,381 Restaurant reviews

Azerbaijani cuisine restaurant Agha is located near Heroes square (access is from the Circus side) in Tbilisi. After a meal here - I'm already planing my next trip to the land of fire - Azerbaijan. At this restaurant I tried something new for me - Dushbara soup, piti soup and veal saji on Fire. Lately I have tried a lot new non-Georgian cuisine places in Tbilisi, see Turkish restaurant Karabak, Chinese restaurant Dzin Chao or French Tartine Brasserie are just a few to name, now it was time for Azerbaijani cuisine. Thus this is not the first time I'm visiting Azerbaijani restaurant, I have…

How To Change a Flat Car Tire

Published: 20 March, 2016 seen 36 DIY

Last summer I learnt not only how to change a roof for old rural house, also I excelled as a tire guy. During last summer I changed tires for our old junk car at least six times.  To this day I still don't know why we got so many flat tires (most probably, because I bought cheap used tires at local tire workshop). Anyhow, it was the next morning after we added first metal roof plates a top of our house, when I noticed a flat tire has happened again (without any reason).  I was already equipped with leg pump (and luckily I had bought a spare tire just some few days ago) N.B. By living in rural…

Roof Works, Part 6 - Finishing lathing and adding first plates of metal roof

Published: 20 March, 2016 seen 157 Home Remodeling

Today was a big day, we managed not only to finish lathing works, covered roof with cross wind sheet but actually installed two plates of metal roof. Today was a very long working day also, by now I feel excelled a lot if roof works and home renovation. We started early in the morning (around 7:30 AM) as I knew this will be a very long day, and I really wanted to start cover roof with metal plates. Construction workers stretching cross wind sheet I hired two local craftsmen to help me out in roofing works - the most awesome guys I have met so far.  Improvised outdoor workshop While guys…

Dzin Chao Chinese Restaurant in Tbilisi

Published: 19 March, 2016 seen 598 Restaurant reviews

Dzin Chao is among my latest discoveries from Tbilisi restaurants. I discovered it after paid a visit to Tbilisi zoo, its actually located just at the front of entrance into Zoo. Now I know at least three Chinese restaurants in Tbilisi, see: Oriental Pearl and New Asia Dzin Chao restaurant interior  Spacious premises, I believe you can throw your next meeting with pals here with ease. As a pleasant surprise we got a gift - a large teapot with green tea for free.It's great, because it's rare to get green tea in Tbilisi, and if, then such pot will cost some 7-12 GEL. Here you get it for free…

Tbilisi Zoo

Published: 19 March, 2016 seen 593 Tourism objects

Tbilisi has many cool tourist attraction sites, but there is one, which is rarely mentioned in official guides or Tbilisi reviews - meet the hidden pearl of nations capital - Tbilisi Zoo. On the other hand worldwide coverage Tbilisi Zoo got after Tbilisi floods on 14 June 2015, leaving many animals dead or on the loose. See: Zoo animals on the loose and deaths feared after Georgia floods Tbilisi Zoo is located in the Vere valley just next to the Heroes square. There is a symbolic 2 GEL entrance fee in Zoo's territory. In park there some additional attractions for kids, like Ferris wheel and…

My Italy Travel Guide

Published: 18 March, 2016 seen 145 Travel guides

This is a roundup post listing places from our latest trip to Italy at the end of 2015 / start 2016. The idea to visit Italy born in our Tbilisi apartment's kitchen when I was preparing another homemade pizza, I was flattening pizza dough with a rolling pin, when the better part of me told - hey, let's go to Italy. And so we did. After about a month we were sitting on a plane Tbilisi - Milan. We hadn't special plans or ideas what to visit. We just drove around. I did a lot of photography, as I was eager to apply my newly developed photographer skills. Italy definitely is a photographer's…

About FireFly Car Rental in Italy

Published: 18 March, 2016 seen 614 Professional services

Searching for a budget friendly car rental in Italy? Look no more - I can highly suggest FireFly car rental. We used Firefly during our recent week long trip in Italy, prior to that I have used FireFly Spain (see: My Spain and Andorra Travel guide). We booked our economy Volkswagen Polo car online and picked it up at Milan-Malpensa airport (you must call to FireFly office upon arrival, after then they will send a shuttle bus to pick you up and will take you to the office, our case it was located in town of Case Nuovo). Unfortunately we hadn't roaming enabled, so our phones were useless at…

Kiwi Vegan Cafe Tbilisi

Published: 17 March, 2016 seen 244 Restaurant reviews

Kiwi is a vegan non-profit community cafe located on Vertskli street 41, in Tbilisi Old Town. It is stated that all of their proceedings are donated to good causes related to animal rights. Kiwi provides a free social meeting space for organizations who are working for important change in the society, events can be arranged. Kiwi vegan cafe is the second socially responsible cafe I have found so far in Tbilisi (I don't search for them specially, they just pops in front of me). See Art Cafe Kamara - a social enterprise art cafe which employs rehabilitated persons from different addicts That…

Tbilisi - Pearl of Caucasus

Published: 17 March, 2016 seen 118

I have spent about five years as an expat living in Georgia, most of the time I have lived in Tbilisi (about six months I spent in Batumi). In today's Piece of Life post series I just wanted to share some piece of Tbilisi. Allow me to call this vibrant city - The Pearl of Caucasus (Thus Yerevan rocks, and most probably Baku too - I still haven't visited Azerbaijan, thus once I fished on the border with Azerbaijan, see Fishing on Jandari lake). It has always been a pleasure for me to photo document Tbilisi, here are just a few interesting photo stories: Postcards from Tbilisi, Tbilisi -…

Ahhhhhhhhhhh! This page doesn't exist!

Published: 16 March, 2016 seen 3,461

Not to worry. Head back to homepage, or if you think this page should be here contact me, and I will fix this! Alternatively check out some more cool pictures at Piece of Life.

Beautiful morning mist

Published: 16 March, 2016 seen 73

It was an early morning of August, back in 2015, I was still sleeping, tired of yesterday's hard work of unloading few tones of sand from our rural house's loft, probably still dreaming to finish anytime soon roofing works, when my better part took DSLR camera and went out shooting - look - what a beautiful mist she captured today: Morning mist  Mist in our backyard territory Mist in apple orchard mist over pine coppice

Unloading Few Tonnes of Sand from Loft

Published: 16 March, 2016 seen 113 Home Remodeling

For a minute it seemed that all major removal, junk unloading and demolishing works are over, but then I realized we still have that soil coving floor in loft. And I'm speaking of some 25 cm thick layer of soil, for some reason covered there. Few weeks ago I was still naive I hoped to remove that soil/sand from the loft without any help but myself. Yup, that was quite a naive. Now, when finally last shingles were removed it was time for another pushup - get rid of that soil. I had a two workers helping me around, and it took us about twelve hours to unload and transport soil to the…

Minimum Wages in European Union 2016

Published: 15 March, 2016 seen 9,324 Investments

In 2016 there were 22 out of 28 European Union member states with official minimum wage set by the government. Update: Minimum Wages in European Union 2018 The most are receiving residents of Luxembourg (EUR 1,923.00) while the least in Bulgaria (EUR 215).  By simple calculations, I averaged the average minimum wage in 22 EU member states - EUR 810.82. In most of the member countries there is an increase in minimum wage in 2016, still, there is one country with sharp decrease. N.B. Countries that don't have a minimum wage set by the government in European Union - Austria, Denmark, Finland,…

Karabak Turkish Restaurant in Tbilisi

Published: 15 March, 2016 seen 1,706 Restaurant reviews

Karabak is very cool Turkish restaurant located on the busy Queen Tamar Aveneu (Tamar Mephe) in Tbilisi not very far from Tbilisi Railway station. When I first noticed a huge restaurant opening here on Tamar Mepe avenue, I got confused about its name - Karabak. My first thought was they are naming restaurant after Nagorno-Karabakh unrecognized Republic. Turns out (as I was told) it's not related to disputed land between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but it is actually the restaurant's owner surname) It was on Valentine's day after two interesting photo journalism wanderings in Tbilisi (see: How…

Art Cafe Kamara

Published: 15 March, 2016 seen 206 Restaurant reviews

Art Cafe Kamara is a social enterprise art cafe which employs rehabilitated persons from different addicts, at least I was told so when first visited this place. Funded by the Swiss Government, this social enterprise art cafe is located at the foothills of Tbilisi Botanical garden in the Old Town. Art cafe Kamara Being uninformed about this places social activities, we at start thought - just another art cafe, which wont survive long. But since we were off for a cup of Turkish coffee,  it was a great chance to get in, get some coffee and take a look on new artists trying to do business (or…

Hotel Best Western Modena District, Italy

Published: 14 March, 2016 seen 227 Hotel reviews

Best Western Modena District hotel was our last hotel in Italy during our week long travels across the country.  This Best Western hotel is a 5-minute drive from the Campogalliano exit of the A22 Motorway, 10 km from Modena. The property offers a gym, and free outdoor parking. At check in I asked can they give us a smokers room, the receptionist lady told they have a lovely, large smokers room, which is designed for disabled persons, we didn't mind, after seeing our room - we concluded, they just love disabled persons here in Italy - super spacious room, double soft king-size bed and a very…

Modena Town Hall

Published: 14 March, 2016 seen 215 Tourism objects

Looking for free toursit attraction sites in Italian town of Modena? You might visit Modena Town Hall.  Facing the Piazza Grande (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Town Hall of Modena was put together in the 17th and 18th centuries from several pre-existing edifices built from 1046 as municipal offices. Modena Town Hall, Italy It is characterized by a Clock Tower (Torre dell'Orologio, late 15th century), once paired with another tower (Torre Civica) demolished after an earthquake in 1671. In the interior, noteworthy is the Sala del Fuoco ("Fire Hall"), with a painted frieze by Niccolò dell'…

Tartine Brasserie - French Restaurant in Tbilisi

Published: 13 March, 2016 seen 569 Restaurant reviews

Tartine Brasserie is one of the rare places in Tbilisi where brunch is served in weekends. I have been in research for perfect breakfast restaurant in Tbilisi for past couple of weeks already, last week I tried so called breakfast menu at Barbarestan - Wine Shop and Restaurant in Tbilisi it didn't worked well. So another Saturday morning - another Tbilisi restaurant. Located in the heart of Tbilisi Old Town, this place have been on my radar for a very long time already (some few years ago I actually tried some time here, but back then I didn't had ultimate list of Tbilisi restaurant reviews…

How to Get around in Tbilisi by Taxify (Taxi Mobile Application)

Published: 13 March, 2016 seen 9,206 Living in Georgia

There is a very convenient way of getting around in Tbilisi by taxi using mobile application Taxify. I probably first heard of this company at the end of 2014 by visiting Georgian Startup challenge organized by GITA.  For my travels around Tbilisi I mostly use taxi either by calling to the central or just by catching taxi on the street (I prefer second over first still). Taxis are cheap in Tbilisi, but you never know about cars technical condition, the cabin cleanliness and so on. There have been cases I would rather call my taxi a tank instead of a car - broken handles, battered windshields…

6 Tips For taking awesome night photography

Published: 12 March, 2016 seen 518 Digital Photography School

I don't call myself a photography guru, actually I believe photography is a know how instead of I'm a guru photographer - beware of me. Today I'll share some findings I have learnt during past 170 days in frames of my 365 days photo project (take one picture every day). Here is the fun fact - actually for the first time this year I was doing some cycling trip in Tbilisi at night (less vehicles) and I wanted to make just some Tbilisi night photos (see: Practicing Photography: Doing Night Shots - Tbilisi By Night) , so I could later write an updated article about night cycling in this gorgeous…

How to add Custom Markers for Gmap Module Drupal

Published: 12 March, 2016 seen 3,743 Drupal Development

Gmap custom markers are cool way to enhance your Drupal site. My blog heavily really on Drupal Views + Gmap + Location module. Most of the articles listed in Restaurant reviews, tourist attractions or hotel reviews are nicely displayed on map and pinned with custom created markers. Recently, when updating Gmap module to the latest stable version all my markers disappeared so I had to re-upload markers. That' s how I decided to write a simple tutorial on how to add custom markers in Drupal using Gmap module. Custom markers using Gmap module All markers in Gmap module are stored in markers…

Pruning trees and shrubs

Published: 12 March, 2016 seen 129 Home Remodeling

One of my biggest challenges last summer was unstoppable fight with grass (see: Lawn Mowing), not to mention larger scale works on roof replacement. But there was another major issue we faced - overgrown bushes and totally deprived landscape.  When dealing with trees and shrubs it's not only about landscape, but also about their health. You want healthy landscape right? Now, we had a really deprival and unhealthy landscape in our backyard territory. Overgrown bushes In the middle somewhere there are cherry trees, plum trees and apple trees. Barely can notice anyone yet. I was tired from…

Roof Works, Part 5 - And once more let's remove old roofing

Published: 12 March, 2016 seen 145 Home Remodeling

Think roof works are cool? In fact - roofing is one of the hardest works in construction and if you have decided by your own to replace your old roofing - think again!  Anyway - let me show - how once again (See: Replacing Roof - Part 1: Removing old roofing) we removed old wooden shingles from our rural house back in Summer of 2015. This time I hired two workers to help me out with demolishing works and ...things moved quickly. We were able to completely remove old roofing from the second roof plane and collect the construction waste and transport to nearby meadow (to later burn it). Since…

.ge domain name registration for Georgia

Published: 11 March, 2016 seen 392

If you are planing to operate your business in Georgia, Georgian .ge domain name for your website is a good tone to address local audience. There are following domain name extensions available for registration in Georgia: .ge, com.ge, edu.ge, net.ge, org.ge, org.ge, pvt.ge. Acquiring .ge domain name can be time consuming, tricky and even very expensive task. You might try your luck with some of the international domain registries, in most cases their pricing starts at EUR 200.00 for .ge domain name registration and about EUR 150 for domain renewal. On the other hand individuals and companies…

Actual Price Index at Tbilisi Market - March 2016

Published: 11 March, 2016 seen 891 Living in Georgia

Yup, another hipster style article about actual prices for consumer goods at local Tbilisi market (Bazroba). It has been a while since I decided to measure how lari/dolar exchange rates influence actual prices, if you, just like me are an expat living in Georgia - you most probably have faced the consequences of weak lari against US dollar. Thus - I don't believe that foreign currency should affect local economy. National currency of Georgia is lari and lari we are spending in markets, metro or marshurtkas - even for rent we are paying in lari (well, adjusted to current exchange rates to US…

New Life for Agmashenebeli avenue, Tbilisi

Published: 11 March, 2016 seen 701

A major and very much needed reconstruction works recently (February 2016) have begun on one of the major Tbilisi streets - David Agmanashebeli avenue. Funded by Tbilisi Development Fund (which is pretty much financed from city budget + private investor capital) promises a completely renovated street by the Autumn 2016. It was mid February and we decided to explore how construction  works were held on this street. Another reason I find these construction works very exciting - a few years ago we lived in this neighborhood on Rome street, back then we could only fantasy that one day city will…

Chops by the River - Restaurant & Grill

Published: 11 March, 2016 seen 608 Restaurant reviews

Chops by the River restaurant and grill is now among my favorite Tskenti restaurants, and allow me to say among Tbilisi restaurants as well. Located in village of Tskneti this restaurant offers single priced grill menus and very pleasant atmosphere. I have heard of this place by some friend before, but the circumstances that made us actually to visit this restaurant was a little bit strange. As an active outdoor lovers we were off to hiking trip from Tskenti to Turtle lake, unfortunately this route is not anymore accessible, because of landslides near Tskenti. Read more: Failed attempt to…

Drupal IMCE very slow on uploading images - here is how to fix

Published: 10 March, 2016 seen 737 Drupal Development

It has been about a year, since I noticed IMCE upload is damn slow when uploading images for my photo stories or just any other articles. For a very long time I was convinced that it's some cdn or JavaScript incompatibility (because sometimes, just sometimes IMCE upload worked just fine) It was until today, when it started to take more than one minute to properly load that modal window of IMCE upload. IMCE upload window I quickly realized, IMCE folder was using about 1GB of memory (default upload folder -/sites/default/files) which stored more than 7,000 images - each time IMCE had to do a…

Postcards from Modena, Italy

Published: 10 March, 2016 seen 131

Modena is a little charming town in the middle of Italy. Known as the birthplace of Worlds famous Ferrari car. We spent a few days in vicinity of Modena (during our recent trip to Italy), enjoyed a colorful facades of houses, narrow streets, a lot of prosciutto and of course great Italian coffee. Back at the time - I was tired of photography and made just a few random shots here: Colored residential buildings and window shutters in Modena An ancient town, and seat of an archbishop, it is now known as "the capital of engines", since the factories of the famous Italian sports car makers …

Juliet's House in Verona, Italy

Published: 10 March, 2016 seen 325 Tourism objects

As testified by the coat of arms on the internal arch-way of the court-yard, this house belonged to the “Dal Cappello” or “Cappelletti”. The building, dating back to the 13th and renovated in the last century, features the balcony where Romeo promised his beloved Juliet eternal love in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. I had a chance to visit World famous Juliet's balcony on January 2nd, 2016 - it was a very rainy and cold day In Verona Juliet's Balcony in Verona Well - balcony as balcony right? But: Young couples are still very moved by the right of this house and unmarried people touch Juliet’…

Let's Encrypt to fix HTTPS Certificate incompatibility with Windows XP and Google Chrome

Published: 9 March, 2016 seen 2,545 Servers

It was about a month ago - when I successfully installed secure https pages for my blog, I opted for using free certificate provided by Let's Encrypt certificate authority. I first heard Let's Encrypt certificate authority from KeyCDN. It was super easy and fast to create SSL certificates for my Linode powered Nginx box. Unfortunately - just a few days later I noticed a deadly screen - Your connection is not private Your connection is not private Google Chrome screen I was using Windows XP machine with Google Chrome. I panicked, stressed - then I opened my blog on my default laptop (Windows…

Amazon Associates launches redesigned version

Published: 9 March, 2016 seen 188 Blogging

Today by logging into my Amazon Associates account to check my daily earnings from this partner program - I noticed a new, redesigned version. I was using my older laptop with smaller screen size (1024 pixels) - and for the first time the website fitted in my browser window without any right scrolling (now, this means Amazon have thought about smaller screens - on the other hand - by trying to minimize windows, to check does the new design is responsive, it was not - responsive design would be a nice feature - as I believe I'm not the only one partner logging to Amazon Associates using mobile…

Number of Passengers served in Georgian Airports (2010-2015)

Published: 9 March, 2016 seen 328 Airports

Civil aviation is slowly but for certain growing in Republic of Georgia. There were in total four airports in Georgia in 2016. Tbilisi International Airport, Kutaisi David the Builder International Airport, Batumi International Airport and Mestia Queen Tamara Airport. As a frequent air traveler I have used two of Georgian airports very often,  Tbilisi airport and Kutaisi airport, I have been at Batumi airport but never have flied from there and I haven't yet ever been to Mestia airport, thus I once almost booked a flight from Tbilisi to Mestia. Read more: Flights to Mestia from Tbilisi will…

New Design and Upgraded Security for Lari (GEL) Banknotes

Published: 9 March, 2016 seen 258 Living in Georgia

On February 1st, 2016 the National Bank of Georgia issued upgraded Lari banknotes. It was mid February when first upgraded banknote ended up im my hands, I got it at local Procredit ATM.  My first thought was that I have probably by accident pressed EUR account instead of GEL and have taken my money from EUR account, but then I realized it's a new upgraded currency. After I took the following photo I shortly spent it on groceries at local Dezerteer Bazaar. New 50 GEL banknote According to National Bank of Georgia -  Firstly, upgraded banknotes in denominations of 20 and 50 Lari will be…

Guest House Hapi in Jūrmala

Published: 8 March, 2016 seen 181 Hotel reviews

If there is a reason I will remember Hapi guest house in Jūrmala, then probably its green walls and super unprofessional staff attitude will be among top of them.  Hapi guesthouse in Jūrmala We stayed here for one night back in August 2015 and ... I can not even express my disappointment in words how unprofessional and meanwhile expensive this so called guest house was. We paid about EUR 40 for stay in this place... EUR 40 is not much, I agree - but you can stay for the same price in much more reputable Jūrmala hotels, yes that's right - hotels are not expensive in Jūrmala. Take for example…

Lawn Mowing - The Never Ending Story Continues

Published: 8 March, 2016 seen 140 Home Remodeling

Our roof works were still in the middle, and I noticed that grass have grown again. It was just recently when I trimmed backyard territory, but this time I decided it's time to completely trim all our land (about 0.57 hectares). I asked to our worker, could he handle this task in one day. He agreed, so in the next day - I took a day off from any home remodeling works, instead did some work for customers and photographed how grass is falling.  Our veggie garden Some time ago we planted some plants in wooden boxes (to save water) - and now our cabbages ripens. See: Our First Veggie Garden:…

Photo of the month - February 2016

Published: 7 March, 2016 seen 214 Digital Photography School

This year was a leap year and in February we got 29 days - my photo project got 29 photography as well (one image each day).  In February I experimented with street photography, landscape photography, HDR photography, macro / close up photography and even black and white photography. I did use panoramic technique a lot and each photo post - proceeded in Adobe Lightroom. Other tools involved last month: Photomatix and Adobe Photoshop. Now it' s time to announce the winner: A quick note: for determining my best photo of the month I'm using the most simple tactic to count on - fave count on…

Failed attempt to complete Tskneti - Turtle lake hiking route

Published: 7 March, 2016 seen 391 Outdoor Activities

About a year ago I discovered very cool hiking route in Tbilisi, heading from Turtle lake to Tskneti town. The total distance for this route was about 7 km and it offered very spectacular landscape views. I have completed this route several times - last time together with my dad in May, 2015. At the start of February I decided to offer this route as a possible photo / hike route for Georgia Expat Photographer club members, but before that I decided to check is it safe there (because of Tbilisi Floods 2015, I have heard that in Tskenti area there are landfalls. And just another reason - since…

Cafe Laboratory Review in Tbilisi

Published: 7 March, 2016 seen 413 Restaurant reviews

Cafe Laboratory is located at the top floor at the high end shopping and business center Merani on Rustaveli avenue, Tbilisi.  I was doing some photography in Vere neighborhood, when I received a call and invitation from my beloved one, she insisted we should meet at this place, enjoy some cup of tea/coffee, also she knew I'm with camera so most probably something good for my Tbilisi restaurant review series might happen So I walked Rustaveli avenue to the Merani shopping center, got to the top floor - and there she was already. Story can be told now. Stylish interior  This cafeteria/…

Restaurant Greppia in Verona

Published: 6 March, 2016 seen 263 Restaurant reviews

It was a very cold, grey and rainy day in Verona, when on the way finding Juliet's Balcony I realized it would be great to find some local restaurant, order some meal and what's important to warm up. I noticed a few signboards with direction arrows located around streets of Verona, when I decided to take the bait and actually followed those arrows. (A smart marketing from Greppia restaurant) Greppia restaurant in Verona We were not the only tourists following arrows, there was a queue in front of the restaurant entrance when we finally arrived. Luckily we got our table served fast. Italian…

Rainy day in Verona

Published: 6 March, 2016 seen 193

It was a damn cold, rainy and very grey day when we arrived to Verona, Italy. I was looking to photograph some nice looking pictures but found it very difficult to make any decent exposure today at all.  Calendar told us it is January 2nd, 2016. We had made a long Italy trip and arrived here from Venice (where celebrated New Years eve). Our goal was to reach Juliet's balcony... We had not a single clue where actually in city it is located.  Temperature was around zero (Celsius) - to keep us warm a little bit, we made a shopping in Verona.  Square in Verona The weather was against us today. I…

Lurji (Blue) Monastery

Published: 5 March, 2016 seen 499 Churches and Monasteries

The Lurji Monastery also known as "Blue Monastery", is a 12th-century Georgian Orthodox church built in the name of Saint Andrew in the Vere neighborhood of Tbilisi, Georgia. The popular historical name lurji ("blue") is derived from its roof, adorned with glazed blue tile. I first discovered this church by accident after went photographing another church (Russian Orthodox Church of St. John the Theologian in Tbilisi) and just on site I noticed there is a smaller Georgian church just across the street in distance of few meters from Russian church. Blue monastery church in Tbilisi The church…

Russian Orthodox Church of St. John the Theologian in Tbilisi

Published: 5 March, 2016 seen 679 Churches and Monasteries

Church of St. John the Theologian (Russian: Церковь Иоанна Богослова) is located in Vere neighborhood, Tbilisi. Tis was already second Russian Orthodox church I have visited in Tbilisi. Read more about Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Church in Tbilisi, and I know for sure there is another Russian church (at least in Tbilisi). I didn't enter inside this church, just tried to make some panorama photos here. Located at the end of L. Kiacheli Street, a few meters away from the Blue Monastery (Lurji monastery). It was constructed with the order of the governor-general Golicin in 1898-1901.…

Roof Works, Part 4 - Metal Roofing Arrives

Published: 4 March, 2016 seen 198 Home Remodeling

I'm continuing one of the most epic my life experiences I agreed to do - Replacing roof for an old and very bad managed rural house.  It was about one week since previous roof works were done, roof replacement works resumed on August 12, 2015. Prior to that my 30th birthday happened and I decided to leave all the home remodeling works behind and visit Tallinn. See 14 Tallinn Trip Ideas your your next travel to Estonian Capital Make sure you check out previous parts on Roof Replacement works.  [view:referenced_items=block_1] Today the new metal roof I ordered some 3 weeks ago was meant to…

14 Tallinn Trip Ideas for your next travel to Estonian Capital

Published: 4 March, 2016 seen 274 Travel guides

Are you planing your first trip to Tallinn, trying to figure out what to see, where to go and where to stay overnight? In this guide I have added few cool Tallinn's attractions, shopping venue and really cool restaurants. I spent two days in Tallinn, during Summer of 2015 to celebrate my 30th birthday. In those two days I reviewed 14 places where we headed to, stayed in or had a lovely meal. Hope this guide might help you plan your next trip to Tallinn. [view:referenced_items=block_1] Map of Tallinn Alternatively you can check my Estonia's travel guide here [view:referenced_items=block] P.S.…

Cafe Cinema in Tbilisi

Published: 3 March, 2016 seen 281 Restaurant reviews

Cafe Cinema is sharing one building with Carrefour store on the Kolhoznaya square (I know there is a new name for this square, but I never can remember the name). I have been going shopping for groceries time by time to this Carrefour store (although I prefer either Tbilisi Mall or recently opened East Point - both located in suburbs of Tbilisi), and just recently I discovered that there is not only Carrefour located in this building, but that there are actually some more boutique shops in store's second and thirds floors. So I went to the second floor and discovered Cafe Cinema - I have no…

Giorgi Leonidze Park (Former Alexander Garden)

Published: 3 March, 2016 seen 658 Tourism objects

Ok, I just learnt this place is renamed after Georgian poet Giorgi Leonidze, although I most often call this park -  Alexander Garden.  Parks of April 9 and Giorgi Leonidze (former Alexander Park) were cultivated in 1859 by the project of the architect O. Simenson. In 1865 the garden got its final form. It covered about 36.000 m2 areas. The garden was named in honour of the Emperor Alexander I. In the 30-eth of the XX century, after uniting the market and Dzneladze (present Tabukashvili) streets, the Alexander Park was divided into upper and lower platforms. Monument to Giorgi Leonidze in…

Carpe Diem Café in San Bonifacio

Published: 2 March, 2016 seen 219 Restaurant reviews

I have never kept in secret my love for the local restaurants and cafes where tourists barely step their foot in. We did find a few great local Italian restaurants during a week long trip in Italy and when we arrived to San Bonifacio (checked in at our hotel, see Best Western Soave Hotel, San Bonifacio ) we decided to explore our options and find some great restaurant nearby. It was alright late night on January 1st - and after some 20 minute driving around San Bonifacio it seemed we wont find any place that will be opened today. Luckily we noticed this place - meet Carpe Diem Cafe in San…

Best Western Soave Hotel, San Bonifacio

Published: 2 March, 2016 seen 186 Hotel reviews

We booked this Best Western franchise hotel in San Bonifacio, Italy through secret deals on Hotwire, on January 1st, 2016, we chose this hotel because of it's close location to Verona and affordable price (about $60). I love using Hotwire, in most cases there are great value deals, but it was not like this time. We got a small, bad equipped room from Hotel Soave. No, I'm not complaining, our stay was pretty OK. But it was far from the expected. Hotel Soave is 200 m from San Bonifacio Railway Station and 800 m from the A4 motorway exit. It offers free parking, free internet, a fitness centre…

Barbarestan - Wine Shop and Restaurant in Tbilisi

Published: 1 March, 2016 seen 1,560 Restaurant reviews

Vintage lovers and hipsters - rejoice, I just discovered another "fashionable" not to miss place in Tbilisi - Barbarestan - wine shop and restaurant on Aghanashebeli avenue. Well this place actually didn't pop up on my radar by accident - I have heard of this place before, mostly positive reviews, but the real reasons I wanted to visit this place, on a lovely Saturday morning we couldn't decide where should we go today - so after this epic struggle - what to do next, I decided to try luck on Google - I decided to search for "breakfasts in Tbilisi" - let me assure how happy I was somebody (…

Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Church in Tbilisi

Published: 1 March, 2016 seen 904 Churches and Monasteries

Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Church is located in the neighborhood of Marjanishivli in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. Commonly referred to just as "Russian Church". Along with the church of St. Vladimir in the neighborhood of Vera it is one of two churches in Tbilisi, where the service is performed entirely in Church Slavonic language. Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Church in Tbilisi Originally built in 1864 by the donations of the faithful, additional the Holy Synod has allocated 5000 rubles. In 1886, the church bell tower was added. There are two refectory: Alexander Nevsky and St.…