NANA G SMITH

Georgia

Georgia Ranked #4 Among 48 European Countries Based on Food and Drink.

Georgia sits in the middle of the ancient spice route between Europe and the Middle East and Asia, so the country’s dishes are imbued with an incredibly rich and unique use of herbs & spices, like cilantro and dried marigold, that are used in combinations not seen in the other individual regions and are layered for bold, but balanced dishes. And the pinch-hitter of those dishes is khachapuri, a boat-shaped pastry filled with a glorious amount of melted cheese and a raw egg. It’s so popular that the country’s trying to trademark it so places like Panera don’t steal it when they realize HOW MUCH BETTER THE BREAD BOWL CAN BE.

Also in the lineup: khinkali, the twisted dumpling knots that’re filled with pork, beef, or lamb and laden with all those spices, plus onions; kuchmachi, which is one of those dishes where you should not ask what’s in it (hearts, gizzards, and the like) and just savor the deep flavor of pork, fried garlic and onions, coriander, and bright pomegranate seeds; or chahohbili, a peppery, sweet chicken stew. Cheese is abundant (obviously, they put it in bread boats), and tkemali, a plum sauce, accompanies a slew of meat dishes and is, of course, laden with coriander and cumin and peppery bites.

Original list of 48 European countries ranked by food/drink in descending order Georgia came as #4, preceding just with Spain, France and Italy.

If you are interested with trying authentic Georgian cooking, see the book Sunpra. “Sunpra’ stands for family and friends and neighbors coming together to celebrate life, share stories, loughs and long toasts, often accompanies with guitar and songs which are called “supruli” from word “supra.” Literal translation of word “supra” is table cloth. Recipes are in grams and centigrade, but its not hard to convert. Or even just try, no precision is required. Cooking always comes from heart.

Here is another interesting book – The Georgian Feast. This book is written by American Autor who lived in Georgia. I like this book though I found some recipes to be somewhat altered for western taste.

Here is sample of Georgian “supruli” songs. Songs which make one drunk with love and longings. Sentimental, yet heart breaking tribute to love, love for mother-land, women, loss, fall, friendship, forgiveness – you name it!

 

 

And below is tutorial for “xachapuri”

If interested experiencing Georgia from view point of “local” eye, call or email me. It is said it will be a direct flight soon form JFK to Tbilisi starting this fall.

Namaste, Nana

 

 

Symmetry & Proportion in Designing Rooms

Proportion is the relation between elements and a whole.
Symmetry is a vague sense of harmonious and beautiful proportion and balance.

nanagsmith.blog.conbination-glog
Photos below illustrate how proportion and symmetry can  be used in in interior design.
These below are French antique gold platted cherubs:

blog.cherub-sconces

And this one below is French antique garden iron bench:

blog.23-b_bench-made-of-iron-bed

 
From glancing at these two images, one may think that there is no connection between them ; usage, color, application all are different. But the trained eye will notice a balance and symmetry, and see a rhythm like music reflected in these two elements. The photos below of the similar elements lets us see their relationships.

nanagsmith.blog.spiral-decor-combo1b

nanagsmith.blog.green-spiral-combo1

In design it is all about balancing the visual volume of objects. Balance is created not just through shape and size, but also with consideration of color, pattern and texture. The shape and proportions of each piece of furniture and object must be in balance.  A room created with proportion and symmetry invites you to be in it, sit down and enjoy the well designed room.

Call or email me for expert advise: 203-858-6727

Hope to hear from you soon!

Nana

Answer

The boldest answer always comes from silence.

Find a minute to hear silence.

Amazing answers will appear!

 

“The greatest sound is silence”

Tao Te Ching Lao-tzu Chapter 41

A poetic take of “Sound of Silence” written by one poet, by another poet

“And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence”

Be

Be wild
Be free
Be loving
Be caring
Be funny

Do something what you have never done before
Go to the places you have not been
Flip the world around
Do not be afraid not to be as everybody else is
Stop trying to make sense out of everything

…and just be.

NANAGSMITH ABSTRACT FOR BLOG

Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;

Man got to sit and wonder ‘why, why, why?’

Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;

Man got to tell himself he understands.

~~ Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

When you get free from certain fixed concepts of the way the world is, you find it is far more subtle, and far more miraculous, than you thought it was.

~~ Alan Watts

Is Georgia on you travel bucket list?

Is Georgia on your travel bucket list? If not, you should put it on and get in there right away, before it becomes too commercial and too expensive.

If you love nature, sightseeing, historical places, food and wine, creative artists and cobble stone streets, wooden balconies hanging over narrow streets,  cable courts, place which looks a bit like Paris, with books for sale along Mtkvari River and a bit like Istanbul with rounded cupulas over some building, Georgia is where to go.

What the interview below does not mention: in ancient Georgia, being one of the oldest orthodox countries, ancient crosses were made out of vines. When baptizing priests would not use crosses made out of metal, gold or silver with precure stones, but rather crosses, simple crosses made out of vines. This has historical and arkeological support and shows the kind of respect Georgians had towards wines.

Ask me how to get there, because I CAN HELP! My family in Georgia has travel agencies, hotels and apartments to rent and we love guests!

Article and photos below are not mine. I found it on line and re-posting with permission of owner.

Original article can be found here.

Georgia is  an underrated country that one should visit now while still unexplored, uncommon and untraversed. There’s novelty in seeing it with less crowds because you can truly immersed yourself on the local scene and get to explore hidden gems from the Caucasus Mountains to the birthplace of wine. It is a charming place to wander off into unspoiled pristine mountains with deep breathtaking valleys; indulge on medieval history to the lasting effects of the Soviet era; and enjoy the richness of varied delightful cuisine. You should not miss a country that bridges two continents – Europe and Asia because it gives you an interesting fusion of east meets west.

 

Travel tips: This is a paradise for budget travelers. Food, accommodation and transportations are relatively cheap. (T’bilisi metro cost is 0.5 GEL or 0.20USD!). We booked via airbnb and hired a tour guide (who is fun, funny and fantastic).

Here are the seven places worth visiting.
1) Gori City

Aside from visiting Joseph Stalin’s birth house at the heart of the city, Uplistsikhe is few minutes away. It is an ancient town with beautiful and mysterious caves that tells stories of its former greatness as the center of Kartli’s Kingdom. Uplistsikhe Caves or Gori’s Rock-cut City with 3,000 years of ancient history is in UNESCO’s list as oldest ancient settlement known in Georgia. The caves are man-made with complete amphitheater, bath house, royal court, slave holes, church, apothecary and many interesting spaces.

 I am drawn to the Hall of Queen Tamara, the first female king during Georgia’s golden age (Europe’s middle ages), because the rock columns and interior roofs are impressively carved with Roman architectural style. Before being used as the queen’s royal court, this was a pagan temple and additional carvings were only made during the “Christian” era.

Something interesting about the Queen, she divorced her husband, a Russian prince and married another prince from northern Caucasus. I am fascinated with women’s role in their history – they have a female king, their symbol is Mother of Georgia and their most revered saint is female evangelist Nino.

2) Gudauri

This is definitely our favorite. We did not ski but we climbed midway, took the lift and explored the fresh snow at the top of the mountains. We’re from the tropics (Bangkok/Manila) so any snow land is a magic land. It’s just amazing to experience it from time to time even if it’s freezing and our winter boots are soaking with thawed ice.
We stayed in Gudauri Ski Resort in the Caucasus mountains where I just found out that these mountains are technically considered part of the Himalayas. Before Georgia, we were in Ladakh, a city on the Indian Himalayas so it’s exciting to think we just continued our journey from Asia to Europe. This is also one of the reasons why Georgia claims to be part of the old Silk Road bridging the powerful trading nations of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Don’t miss taking snaps of the beautiful Devil’s Valley of Georgia with panoramic view of Jinvari’s artificial blue lake, a reminder from the Soviet occupation. It is an artificial lake used as hydroelectric power station built by the Soviets 30 years ago. It is possible to go down the lake and have a picnic during summer.
3) Kakheti
This region is where the best wines are produced so it’s not a surprise the famous City of Love, Signagi, is located atop a steep hill overlooking picturesque landscapes. It was unfortunate that the weather was extremely unpleasant that it was too cloudy, cold and drizzling. Still, it did not dampen our spirits as we walked along the cobblestones and witnessed married couples making their way to the church. Don’t miss entering into Bodbe monastery where the tomb of Saint Nino (their first female evangelist) is buried not just because of its religious significance but the interior is richly decorated with fading frescoes and old Georgian scripts.
The Shuamta convent is remarkable to me because the inside frescoes are semi-covered by white paint. The story was during the Soviet era, they wanted to erase Georgia’s history and culture to make it appear they were an inferior race. I remember this has been the long strategy of powerful nations conquering other races and has been continued on different platforms like proliferation of fake news.
4) Mtskheta
Mtskheta is the old capital of Georgia (5th century) and the “Holy City” for Georgian Orthodox Church. The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is believed to be where Jesus’ robe was buried and became a burial place for Georgian Kings so this place is one of the most venerated for worship. It has an old city appeal with narrow alleys paved with cobblestones apparent on European cities.
If you want to see the sweeping views of the whole City, go up to Jvari church sitting on the hill overlooking it. This used to be a sacred Pagan temple but converted into an Orthodox church during their conversion to Christianity. This site attracts pilgrims all over the Orthodox church because of the belief on the healing powers of the first cross erected on this hill.
5) Gergeti
The famous Gergeti Trinity Church in Mt. Kazbegi from the 14th century is listed as no. 6 in the world’s most beautiful churches. It was used not just a religious place but as a hiding place during the invasion of other countries and tribes. This is the perfect place to view the Caucasus mountains with its snow-capped mountains and fascinating appeal of adventure. The unspoiled landscapes are worth the hike either by taking a short ride via public van or a steep 3 hour climb to the top.
6) Ananuri
Ananuri is a medieval fortress used to be the ducal seat of the Aragvis with architectural design reminiscent of 16-17th century. The clan members massacred their duke family in 18th century and submitted to the Duke from T’bilisi consolidating the Georgian duchies. It has a Game of Thrones appeal story! Entrance is free and worth the visit.
7) T’bilisi
T’bilisi is all about food and architecture. The old historic quarter is where you can find inexpensive restaurants that serve local Georgian dishes and don’t forget to pair it with a Georgian beer! It is located at the foot of the imposing Narikala fortress  where you can walk on a narrow maze of cobblestone streets with old houses.
I am particularly drawn to the 19th century architectural structure of their open wood balconies because it is reminiscent of colonial Spanish architecture (usually on old haciendas) similar in the Philippines and Peru. Don’t miss the funicular just for experience and take a cable car to the top of Narikala fortress where you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the whole city. At night, take  a stroll in Freedom Square in Rustavelli Avenue.
———————————————————-

There are too many reasons why you should visit Georgia aside from its natural wonders, tasty cuisine, and a distinct culture at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgians are nice and very accommodating people with close-family values.

 

%d bloggers like this: