Posted by: Gideon | November 27, 2010

Republic of Georgia with Kids: Overnight Train to Tbilisi

After our long day we relaxed in the hotel and then found a nearby Turkish restaurant for dinner. This was probably due to the fact that we understood Turkish menus and clearly had a long time to go to reach that point of comfort in Georgia. Back at the hotel, we checked out and took a cab to the railway station. We had bought first class sleeper tickets, but we had no idea what to expect. The train was already in the station when we arrived and so we quickly found our compartments. the very stern and unsmiling lady in charge of the compartment wasn’t much help at all. What other tourists there were (some backpackers) all headed for the 2nd class carriage, but we were happy to find that our carriage had pretty comfortable looking seats (which would turn into bunks) as well as a TV. It was very warm but while theer was supposed to be air conditioning we couldn’t feel anything. The guard assured us that it would come on later.

At about 10pm the train set off and for the next two hours periodically stopped and started at stations – the heat was intense and we were still waiting for the a/c. The kids didn’t seem to mind too much – this was their first ever overnight on a train, and while the restrooms were pretty awful, they enjoying the excitement of ita ll, as well as the Hollywood movie dubbed into Russian. At about midnight the a/c finally came on and I drifted off to sleep as well. The train had no services – no dining car or snack car, but all in all it was a positive experience – the compartment was reasonably clean and comfortable.

Art about 5am we were woken by the guards and we looked out the window to see a brown landscape passing by. Soon enough we were on the outskirts of Tbilisi and at about 6.30 am we arrived at the train station. The station was ugly and very busy and not really a place to longer. We followed the crowd and were approached by someone asking if we needed a taxi . We happily followed the man to his cab and piled in.

PS: These days I am helping families plan great trips to destinations on five continents. Click here for more info.

TV in first class.

On the train - settling in for the night

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