Give Georgia a try... rugby, tea and vintage wine
TEA for two... but which tea to go for? There are five types. These people might just love tea more than the Irish! I’m having green tea out of a glass pot with the Charge D’Affaires at the Georgian Embassy in Dublin. As I stutter on his surname, Zurabashvili, he spares me my blushes by assuring me that Georgians have long names, and invites me to call him by his Christian name. George, naturally.
Those long names? Well, Georgians have three alphabets with 33 letters in each, the one single case and no genders... for example, women rulers are kings.
A lot to take in... before we even get onto their history at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and their recent past as part of the Soviet Union before independence. Although in fact they mark their centenary of modern Georgia as the end of the First World War in 1918.
All very interesting but why is Georgia on our radar?
Well, they are pitching to compete in an expanded Six Nations Rugby Championship – a Seven Nations, so if successful it would mean biennial trips to the nation’s capital Tbilisi. So what could we expect? Well don’t worry, while Georgians do love their tea, like us they go in for something a lot stronger.
Georgian wine is considered the oldest in the world with clay vessels having been excavated from thousands of years ago.
But why. I hear you ask, do they play rugby?
Well, long before William Webb Ellis picked up the ball in Rugby School the Georgians were playing a game called Lelo which is mighty similar to our game and which was played between villages for beer.
If that’s not reason enough to admit them to a Seven Nations I don’t know what is.
Turkish Airlines (www.turkishairlines.ie) flies to Tbilisi from London. If you find yourself sat next to me on the flight I’ll fill you in on more golden fleece Georgian pearls of wisdom.