Okay, so as a Brit I can’t say I know much about how it feels to become independent, but the 26th May taught me a little something about it…
I’ll try and take you through chronologically here. Bear with me.
Of course, that meant a trip to the less-desirable part of town, Iliava (don’t quote me on that spelling) where you can find anything you need if you want to build anything, ever. Otherwise known as masculine heaven, where they take their sweet ass time to look at some grubby old bumpers.
The heat was pressing and so was my desire for an icecream, so we moved on. After much difficulty parking near Rustaveli, we ventured into the 27 degree heat in what seemed to be the entire population of Georgia in one street.
So Independence Day is the anniversary where Georgia celebrates the 1918 Act of Independence where the Democratic Republic of Georgia was established after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Read more on the Wiki link if you like.
I was a little confused, since they spent a good 50+ years as part of the Soviet Union after that, and have another Independence Day on the 31st March (1991) but don’t celebrate it on such a scale. For me, logically the big celebration would be for that one, right? Since a lot of people alive in Georgia today lived in the Soviet Union. I don’t know, there’s a lot of tension about that at the moment as it is.
So, onto the celebrations!
Like any public holiday/ celebration there were plenty of performances, stalls and exhibitions set-up all the way down Rustaveli Avenue. Everywhere you looked there was someone singing or dancing (they’re not a shy bunch) but I have to admit there was a disappointing lack of food and drink stalls considering we were in wine country.
It was sort of like the Jubilee, but of course sans Royalty. The same sense of community and unity was in the air, although ironically I noticed more people wearing Union Jack’s on their clothes than I did the Georgian flag! However that’s just fashion, darling.
The ministries exhibited some things too, like what they’re doing, what equipment they have, their missions, etc etc. This meant there were a lot of policemen modelling guns, and huge tanks and artillery on show (note the drone helicopter below! Real James Bond stuff going on there!).
Some Georgian satire for you. They’re happy that they don’t need a visa anymore to go to Italy… But they do.
We finally took to one of the backstreets to find our way back to the car, leading to some discoveries of the cutest balconies and alleyways.