Meet Dariko, the Ukrainian Blogger who Fell in Love with Georgia
21 November, 2015
Meet Dariko, the Ukrainian Blogger who Fell in Love with Georgia
In this article we are going to introduce to you to one red-haired girl with blue eyes and a beautiful smile who fell in love with Georgia so much that she decided to connect her entire life to this small country. Daria Kholodilina, who is from Ukraine, is better known here by the nickname Dariko, after the brave heroine from an old Georgian film that inspired her. A big fan of football and a travel enthusiast, she writes articles about
Georgia’s sights, cuisine and culture for the Georgian National Tourism Administration, runs her personal blog, is an editor of the Georgian section of an international online journal for business ladies We-modernflaneurs.com as well as editor-in-chief of the Tbilisi section of Likealocalguide.com. Moreover, Dariko climbed Tbilisi TV Tower two times with the help of her friend to capture Tbilisi from above with her camera. On the two-year anniversary of her arrival to Tbilisi, Dariko organized a small meeting in a local cafe to share her experience of living here as well as to give some helpful recommendations to the newcomers. As an active reader of her blog, after learning about this event, I simply could not miss the opportunity to get acquainted with this extremely positive, kind and interesting person.

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– Dariko, you can begin by telling us how it all started and why you decided to connect your life to Georgia.

– It all started in 2012 when I had my internship at the German Parliament. There I got acquainted with some very cool, intelligent and jovial Georgian boys and we quickly became friends. It was during my stay there that I learned my first words in Georgian from them – just for the sake of amusement. On September 8, 2012, I came to Georgia for the first time and stayed for two weeks. During this period I managed to see Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Gori and Batumi. I enjoyed my visit immensely, and the idea of moving here popped into my mind. At that time I was living in Germany and writing articles about football for Berliner Kurier. During that period I traveled to Georgia several times and the more I saw, the more I fell in love with this country. When I was working at Deutsche Welle in Bonn, it was good but I felt so bored that I finally decided to move to Georgia and work as a freelancer.geotv.ge

“Tbilisi is my second home and whenever I feel homesick when I am abroad and my friends ask for which home, I answer ‘Tbilisi, of course’”

I lived in the Sololaki district writing various articles and making translations to and from all languages I knew. When the revolution in Ukraine began, the amount of incoming orders dropped, making it far more difficult to earn a living; luckily, my Georgian friends assisted me a lot in the time of hardship. Later the Georgian National Tourism Administration offered me to write articles about Georgia for them, since they were looking for a person who could write in several languages in an unusual and interesting way. I agreed and we started to cooperate; I moved to a new apartment and things went well, but in the meanwhile, the situation in my home city of Donetsk got significantly worse. I received offers from Deutsche Welle and a few other companies to work abroad, but I refused and preferred to stay here, because I think that here lies my “battlefield.”

Aside from introducing Georgia to foreigners and writing articles, my hobby is to guide the newcomers and tourists from different parts of world around the city and show them some of the more exquisite places that trip advisors usually do not mention. Actually, my dream is to publish my own guidebook and currently I am collecting materials for it. In addition, my friends and I have launched a new project dedicated to safe driving and road crossing in Tbilisi and the whole of Georgia named, “This is Zebra.” Since I am planning to stay and live here, I want to be sure that my kids will always cross the road safely. geotv.ge

– You have been around Georgia a lot and are well accustomed to its culture. Could you tell us about your favorite places and national dishes?


– My favorite region in Georgia is Svaneti. My closest friend is from Ushguli (a village in Svaneti, the highest inhabited place in Europe) and correspondingly, I have seen and learned a lot about this part of the country, its history and culture. I was fortunate enough to ride a horse and see some of the things that only locals know about. I like being in that area so much because here I feel so calm and relaxed. When looking at Mount Ushba, I think to myself about how long it has been standing here and how many things it has witnessed. Here I am, with my little problems, sharing my thoughts with this great mountain.

Looking inside a kvevri, in Napareuli, Kakheti
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Blue Abudelauri Lake

In Tbilisi I would single out the waterfall at Leghvtakhevi Gorge in the old part of the city, because when I feel bad, I often go there and just gaze at the water crashing down; I usually feel much better afterwards. Another of my favorite spots in the city are the sulfur baths, where I am a very frequent guest. If you don’t know what to do, either go to the sulfur baths or drink Saperavi wine.By the way, when I met the press officer and one of the club directors of Chelsea Football Club - Iam a big fan of theirs -I gifted them with Saperavi, introducing these people to a 8000-year-old tradition of Georgian winemaking. Long story short, Tbilisi is my second home and whenever I feel homesick when I am abroad and my friends ask for which home, I answer “Tbilisi, of course.”
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Chelsea's press officer Steve Atkins and one of the club directors, David Barnard

As for the food, sometimes I even joke that I came to Georgia because of my love for coriander and eggplant with walnuts. As I am a vegetarian, I prefer dishes made from herbs such as pkhali (spinach with walnuts), khinkali (big dumplings) with mushrooms and spicy eggplant. I also love ghomi (cornmeal) and dambalkhacho (moistened curd), but they are too fatty to consume every day. Churchkhela (Georgian candy made from grape juice and nuts) is yet another sweet temptation that I cannot resist. I can eat at least 10 or 20 of these delicious national treats in one go, especially if they are fresh. I usually buy very fatty and soft ones at the local market from a lovely elderly couple.

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Making khinkali
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Ushguli, Svaneti
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“If you don’t know what to do, either go to the sulfur baths or drink Saperavi wine.”



– What would you advise the tourists and foreigners who come to Georgia?

– First and foremost, they should make Georgian friends. The locals can show you the city in all its glory; also, it is crucial to visit the regions because people there are totally different from each other. Definitely pay a visit to the sulfur baths, wine cellars and see some of the old churches in the capital as well. Sioni is my favorite, for instance. The first time I went there was my birthday. I prayed to God to help me to find a job, and as soon as I came home I got a job interview invitation from Georgian National Tourism Administration.


Author: Lika Chigaldze

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