The key to overcoming jet lag is to keep pushing. I arrived in Tbilisi at 3 AM Saturday morning and was in bed by 4:30. I forced myself to get up at 11:30 AM even though it was bedtime in Sitka, (12 hour difference) and tried to figure out something that would keep me interested and awake until bedtime in Tbilisi, which is just when I would be getting my second wind because it’s time to get up in Sitka.
I hopped on a marshruka (mini-bus) at Freedom Square and headed up to the lower terminus of Tbilisi’s funicular railway. The funicular to Mt. Mattsuminda Park was built in 1905 and is one of the steepest in the world. It closed sometime after the collapse of the Soviet Union but began running again about three months ago. It has new cars with glass roofs. It is so steep you can look straight out the roof at the cathedral across the valley. The stations at both ends are Tsarist confections that recall dreams of Scheherazade. The station at the top has a restaurant, wedding hall and a terrace to take photos of the bridal couple with Tbilisi spread below them. Mattsuminda is an amusement park with rides scattered in the woods. It is one relaxed amusement park, green and leafy. There is a new new Ferris wheel that gives you great views of Tbilisi and the mountains beyond. Each gondola of the wheel has an air conditioning unit on top. I had a gondola to myself so was free to move from one side to take pictures, rocking the gondola.