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Interview | In Stalin’s village

The poet Yolanda Castaño has taken Galician letters all over the world, hence she has visited countries that are still off the busiest tourist routes. One of them is Georgia, which he has been to twice and to which he would return without a doubt.

Summarize Georgia in a nutshell.

It is a vibrant country that is eager to open up to the world, sometimes with a certain innocence. Georgians are like the southerners of the Caucasus, with a similar character to the Latin.

How is the atmosphere of the capital, Tbilisi?

It preserves a lot the local flavor and its heritage. Vestiges of the Soviet past can be seen in the architecture and decoration of buildings and bridges. They even have an outdoor flea market where memorabilia from the USSR is sold. It is installed next to a bridge called Puente Seco, which crosses the Kurá river. In addition, at all times you feel very safe: for example, in the heart of the old town, people quietly leave the door of their house open.

Do you have a favorite place in Tbilisi?

I have several. One is the Purpur cafe, set up in some gigantic old apartments from the tsarist era, with decadent elegance. It has a piano, tables on the balconies and you can eat or have a cocktail at affordable prices. The other is the House of Writers (writershouse.ge), founded by a benefactor who wanted to host literary gatherings in his large house. In its gardens there is a famous restaurant, Café Littera, mentioned in many guides. And very close, in a plan more for all budgets, is the Ezo restaurant. It has a huge patio and they serve vegan food.

Were you able to visit other regions?

Yes, and I saw incredible things. For example, I highly recommend the excursion to the prehistoric remains of Uplistsikhe. And 15 kilometers away is Gori, Stalin’s birthplace. It is a controversial and unusual town, because there is the mausoleum erected in his memory and a museum in his honor. All of that was closed after the end of the Soviet Union and has recently been reopened to visitors.

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