Showing posts with label Georgia tour; escorted Georgia Tour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Georgia tour; escorted Georgia Tour. Show all posts

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Classic Georgia Tour 2019: The Food, Wine and Culture of Georgia


This will be the fourth time that we have offered this program, and we look forward to having you join us in September. Our groups are small and our aim is to take you away from the major tourist destinations to meet and experience the unique culture of this wonderful country located in the heart of The Caucasus. We will concentrate on introducing you to Georgia’s unique and passionate culture, and to visiting some of the most remarkable countryside in Europe.


Old Tbilisi
October 07:  Arrival in Tbilisi, and transfer to our accommodation. Arrival times in the Georgian capital may appear slightly eccentric, with many flights arriving between 0200 and 0300. Your rooms will be available from the afternoon of October 6th, and you will be met and transferred to the hotel regardless of the arrival time.

October 08:  There will be an optional walking tour at 10.00am for those who are up and ready that will explore the quirky center of Old Tbilisi; we will see the city from each side of the River and have an introduction to the remarkable stories of the early days of this strategically important town. Lunch will be at iconic wine bar, Vino Underground, for our first introduction to the glories of Georgian wine.  

October 09:  The morning will be free to rest and adjust to the time zone, or explore the surrounding areas on your own. In the afternoon we will head out to Tbilisi to explore the Old Capital of Mtskheta and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. This cathedral, founded in 1010, is one of the most sacred places in the country and is a fine introduction to the importance of the Georgian Orthodox church in the Georgian soul. Lunch at restaurant Dzveli Armazi in Mtskheta. Free time. Dinner at CafĂ© Literra, the home of the well-known chef Tekuna Gachechiladze.

Mtskheta, Georgia's old capital city 

October 10:  Today we will leave the capital behind and head west. First to the unremarkable town of Gori, made famous only because of its native son, Stalin. We shall visit the extraordinary, and rather chilling museum to his life before continuing over the Likhi mountains to Kutaisi, with one stop in the Kvaliti village to meet and taste the wines of Archil Guniava and finally arrive to Tskaltubo, our overnight stop. This resort was built in the 1970s as a resort exclusively for high-ranking Soviet Naval offices, and is makes a delightful and unique place to stay.

October 11:  Today we climb the mountains. After a coffee stop in Zugdidi, we will drive up the Svaneti Valley to Mestia. This region is special, even by Georgian standards! The communities that populate this valley are distinct and historically fiercely independent. We will see some dramatic scenery, gorgeous mountains and villages that have been here since the dawn of time. Finally, we will reach Mestia, the regional capital and now a center for hiking, skiing and a variety of other mountain-based activities.

October 12:  Ushguli is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; it is extremely remote and life here is redolent of the middle ages. It has a collection of dramatic medieval towers, and lying as it does at 2,300m, it is the highest populated community in Europe. We will have time to explore the village in some detail, and if the weather is clear, have a dramatic view of Georgia’s highest mountain, Shkhara which towers some 5,100m over the landscape.

Svaneti - an ancient part of an ancient nation

October 13:       Today we head back down the mountain to Kutaisi, Georgia’s second city, and an important provincial capital. It is blessed with a two UNESCO sites, and we will visit one, the Gelati Monastery, built in the early 1100s by King David. It is not only an architectural masterpiece, but also an important center of learning for centuries, and one of the first schools in the region.

October 14:       Today is a “Driving Day”; we shall start the morning in the local market before driving east. We will stop for lunch at Iago’s Winery, a charming family wine producer in the Kartli region. Iago’s wine is remarkable, and his was the first winery in the country to receive a bio-certificate for his vineyard and production.

Skirting Tbilisi, we will enjoy the three-hour drive toward the Azeri border, and our next stop, this time for three nights, at Sighnaghi,

October 15:       There are many opportunities for sightseeing in this quirky town; we will spend time in the morning exploring the town itself before driving a few kilometers away to visit the 9th century monastery of Bodbe. It now functions as a nunnery, and is one of the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia.

Following a short rest, we will have our dinner, a traditional Georgian Supra, at Pheasants’ Tears. This restaurant and winery is one of the most vibrant in the country, and an exciting place to meet some of the finest Georgian wine, cuisine and be introduced to the unique polyphonic music.

Pheasants' Tears Dinner
October 16:       We will spend today exploring the region of Kakheti; we will see the main town of Telavi, and later visit the unusual and quite remarkable winery of Alaverdi. Visit the monastery, and we will continue towards Alazani where we will visit the family of young and enthusiastic wine maker Shota. He is from the mountains of Tusheti, and will cook Tushetian cuisine paired with the natural wines from the grower. Drive back to Sighnaghi, and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Sighnaghi

October 17:       We will drive back to Tbilisi today and have time in the afternoon for some independent sightseeing before our farewell dinner at Azarpesha, a unique cultural restaurant in the center of Tbilisi’s Old City.

October 18:       Your departure from Georgia. Once again your flight may have an early departure time, but your room will be available to rest in prior to your airport transfer.





The Price:


US$2,940 per person, based on sharing a double room. The supplement for a single room is US$745. 

The price includes:

·       Four nights in Tbilisi at the Iota Hotel
·       Three nights in Sighnaghi at the Hotel Kabadoni
·       One night in Tskaltubo
·       Two nights in Mestia and the Hotel Tetnuldi
·       One night at the Hotel Argo in Kutaisi
·       Daily breakfast and lunch and ten dinners
·       Five wine tastings and two folkloric performances
·       All entrance fees and excursions as detailed on the itinerary
·       Transportation by coach throughout, with 4WD vehicles for the day excursion to Ushguli
·       Fully escorted by a local Georgian guide and “MaxGlobetrotter”
·       Airport transfers
·       All local taxes

The price excludes:


·       Items not specified in the itinerary
·       Items of a personal nature
·       Optional gratuities

·       Credit card processing fees
       


To Book:

Reservations are handled by Top of the World Travel in Yellowknife, Canada. A non-refundable deposit of US$750 per person is required to confirm your reservation with the balance due no later than August 15, 2019. 

To request a booking form please email me at max@ttjtourism.com.

All payments, once made, are non-refundable, and we recommend that you consider travel insurance to cover any losses incurred by cancellation for unforeseen reasons. Full details are available from the agency.

The tour will be strictly limited to twenty participants, and early confirmation is highly recommended.

Additional nights’ accommodation in Tbilisi is available for US$75/person in a double room, and US$120 for a single room should you wish to arrive early or to extend your stay.

Extension programs, on an individual basis to Armenia and/or Azerbaijan are also available upon request.


The Bishop in Kutaisi sharing his altar wine


Friday, February 26, 2016

Georgia's Soviet Legacy: A Tour

The Soviet Legacy Tour

Sixty-five years of occupation by the Soviet Union has left an indelible impact on Georgia. A fantasy economic system, archaic infrastructure and deeply peculiar and repressive social systems are now being erased, but their legacy lives on.

This unique tour program aims to introduce visitors to some of the more obvious of these legacies; bizarre cable cars, crumbling factories, Soviet-era health resorts and more. It is a fascinating glimpse into the near past, and a reflection of an economic and political system that leaves many scratching their heads. Join us to look back at this fascinating period of 20th century history.


September 23:  Arrival in Tbilisi, and transfer to the Hotel Citrus. Arrival times in the Georgian capital may appear slightly eccentric, with many flights arriving between 0200 and 0300. Your rooms will be available from the afternoon of September 23rd, and you will be met and transferred to the hotel regardless of the arrival time.

September 24: Following breakfast we will explore the historic part of Tbilisi; we will walk in the old part of the town visiting the bath house area, Narikala castle and Maidan Square. Later we will visit the Tbilisi Metro for a ride towards Soviet part of Georgian capital where we will visit buildings built in late 1960’s and 70 ‘s as massive residential blocks. After lunch we will head to the National Museum of History which includes an exhibition of Soviet Occupation dedicated to the victims of Soviet regime. Dinner will be at the Funicular restaurant built in 1930’s

Souvenirs at the Museum
September 25:  This morning we will drive to Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. The centerpiece of the town is the Stalin Museum; here you will see the house where he was born, the train carriage he used during the WWII and the massive museum building where a variety of memorabilia are kept. 

After the museum continue trip towards Chiatura, an industrial town in west Georgia. Important due to heavy manganese production, Chiatura has been heavily industrialized. The fascinating cable car system has not been touched since 1954. Brave ones in the group will be able to enjoy a ride in one of the metal cable cars.  We will continue towards Kutaisi and stay overnight at the restored soviet naval officers’ spa at Tskaltubo.


The Cable Cars of Chiatura
Tskaltubo
September 26: After breakfast we will tour the Tskaltubo resort. Founded in 1925 the town was one of the very first resorts built in the Soviet era. Numerous hotels and sanatoriums were built during first half of the 20th century, and they became one of the most popular elements of Soviet Health Tourism among all levels of Soviet society. Some of the buildings have been abandoned after 1990’s but they still have amazing charm. We will visit couple of these former sanatoriums before returning to Tskaltubo for our overnight stop.

September 27: In the morning we will head towards South Georgia; after short drive and couple of stops, we will arrive in Borjomi, another famous resort. Borjomi is a charming town that sits on the green slopes of Lesser Caucasus, with 65 % of its territory covered by forest. The main attraction of the town is its thermal waters. Ancestors of present Georgians knew the positive qualities of these springs and used it for medicinal purposes. The waters became popular for Russian Empire in late 19th century, and the government began building palaces, parks, public gardens and hotels to accommodate incoming tourists and patients. Renowned figures such as Anton Chekhov, Pyotr Tchaikovsky as well as members of the royal Russian family were among the common visitors of the springs. We will be able to taste these waters and enjoy a stroll in the garden. We will stay overnight here at the Borjomi Palace Hotel.

 Borjomi; the park and some old children's "attractions"!

Iago and Marina
September 28:  This morning we will drive back towards Tbilisi. Along the road visit Uplistsikhe, a spectacular ancient cave town dating from the first half of the 1st millennium BC. The famous “Fortress of God” is first mentioned in the chronicles of the 1st century A.D. Carved into the rocky plateau you will find huge echoing halls, long meandering corridor-streets, chambers for pagan worship, water supply system, secret tunnel, market and the remains of Georgia’s oldest theatre, complete with auditorium, stage and orchestra pit. Later drive to village Chardakhi where you will meet the local vintner Iago Bitarishvili. We will visit the cellar, taste his rare Chinuri wines and enjoy a delicious lunch cooked by the family.  After short drive we are back in Tbilisi. 


September 29: We will spend whole day in Tbilisi today, and visit the Car Museum, with a small but fascinating collection of old Soviet cars. Lunch will be at a local restaurant and later we will visit the flea market, where many old and fascinating items of the Soviet period are sold by a myriad of street vendors. In the evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner at a the Azarpesha restaurant, and enjoy Georgia’s unique polyphonic singing.


September 30: Departure from Tbilisi.

The Price: US$ 1,945 per person (Single supplement: US$ 395)

The price includes:
  • Four nights in Tbilisi at the Hotel Citrus 
  • Two nights in Tskaltubo 
  • One night in Borjomi at the Borjomi Palace 
  • All transportation and transfers
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • One folkloric evening in Tbilisi
  • Fully escorted by Tamara Natenadze and MaxGlobetrotter 
  • All applicable taxes

The Group: This tour will be marketed worldwide and will have participants from several countries and will be conducted exclusively in English. We will restrict participation to a maximum of eighteen people so early booking is highly recommended.

Terms:  A non-refundable deposit of $750 is required to confirm your place on the tour. The balance will be due no later than 45 days prior to departure. Once paid, all monies will be non-refundable, and we highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance to cover any potential issues that might otherwise cause you to lose money.

For reservations please contact Tamara Natenadze at: tamara@travellivingroots.com





The Classic Georgian Tour: Food, Wine and Culture

The Classic Georgia: Food Wine and Culture

Well, this time I am going to use my blog to announce two unique tour programs that will be offered by the Tbilisi-based travel company Living Roots and escorted by MaxGlobetrotter! Needless to say, I am very excited by the opportunity to work with Living Roots once again, and to return to Georgia in September.

We will be offering two programs: our Classic Georgia: Food, Wine and Culture, and a brand new tour, "Georgia's Soviet Legacy". Each will be quite fascinating, and will dig deep into the life, history and culture of Georgia. As regular followers of my blog will know, I am passionate about Georgia, and love working with the folks at Living Roots to offer a unique perspective on this unique country. Our tours will be limited to eighteen people, nine couples; early booking is essential.

This will be the fourth time that we have offered this program, and we look forward to introducing you to the fascinating and surprising country of Georgia this September. Recognised by National Geographic as one of the tours that one must take in a lifetime, we are pretty proud of the itinerary.

Our groups are small and our aim is to take you away from the major tourist destinations to meet and experience the unique culture of this wonderful country located in the heart of The Caucasus. 


September 10:  Arrival in Tbilisi, and transfer to our accommodation confirmed for three nights at the Citrus Hotel. Arrival times in the Georgian capital may appear slightly eccentric, with many flights arriving between 0200 and 0300. Your rooms will be available from the afternoon of September 10th, and you will be met and transferred to the hotel regardless of the arrival time.

Vino Underground
September 11:  There will be an optional walking tour at 10.00 am for those who are up and ready that will explore the quirky center of Old Tbilisi; we will see the city from each side of the River and have an introduction to the remarkable stories of the early days of this strategically important town. Lunch will be at 1.00 pm, and later in the afternoon we shall wander over to the iconic wine bar, Vino Underground for our first introduction to the glories of Georgian wine.


Mtskheta
September 12:  The morning will be free to rest and adjust to the time zone, or explore the surrounding areas on your own. In the afternoon we will head out to Tbilisi to explore the Old Capital of Mtskheta and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. This cathedral, founded in 1010, is one of the most sacred places in the country and is a fine introduction to the importance of the Georgian Orthodox church in the Georgian soul.

September 13:  Today we will leave the capital behind and head west. First to the unremarkable town of Gori, made famous only because of its native son, Stalin. We shall visit the extraordinary, and rather chilling museum to his life before continuing over the Likhi mountains to Kutaisi and finally to Tskutalbo, our overnight stop. This resort was built in the 1970s as a resort exclusively for high-ranking Soviet Naval offices, and is makes a delightful and unique place to stay.

September 14:  Today we climb the mountains. After a coffee stop in Zugdidi, we will drive up the Svaneti Valley to Mestia. This region is special, even by Georgian standards! The communities that populate this valley are distinct and historically fiercely independent. We will see some dramatic scenery, gorgeous mountains and villages that have been here since the dawn of time. Finally, we will reach Mestia, the regional capital and now a center for hiking, skiing and a variety of other mountain-based activities.

September 15:  Ushguli is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; it is extremely remote and life here is redolent of the middle ages. It has a collection of dramatic medieval towers, and lying as it does at 2,300m, it is the highest populated community in Europe. We will have time to explore the village in some detail, and if the weather is clear, have a dramatic view of Georgia’s highest mountain, Shkhara which towers some 5,100m over the landscape.
Ushguli - High in the Great Caucasus

September 16:  Today we head back down the mountain to Kutaisi, Georgia’s second city, and an important provincial capital. It is blessed with a two UNESCO sites, and we will visit one, the Gelati Monastery, built in the early 1100s by King David. It is not only an architectural masterpiece, but also an important center of learning for centuries, and one of the first schools in the region.

September 17:  Today is a “Driving Day”; we shall start the morning in the local market before driving east. We will stop for lunch at Iago’s Winery, a charming family wine producer in the Kartli region. Iago’s wine is remarkable, and his was the first winery in the country to receive a bio-certificate for his vineyard and production. Skirting Tbilisi, we will enjoy the three-hour drive toward the Azeri border, and our next stop, this time for three nights, at Sighnaghi,

September 18:  There are many opportunities for sightseeing in this quirky town; we will spend time in the morning exploring the town itself before driving a few kilometers away to visit the 9th century monastery of Bodbe. It now functions as a nunnery, and is one of the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia.
Following a short rest, we will have our dinner, a traditional Georgian Supra, at PheasantsTears. This restaurant and winery is one of the most vibrant in the country, and an exciting place to meet some of the finest Georgian wine, cuisine and be introduced to the unique polyphonic music.

September 19:  We will spend today exploring the region of Kakheti; we will see the main town of Telavi, and later visit the unusual and quite remarkable winery of Alaverdi. Here, wine has been made by the monks continuously since the year 1011, and they have got it right! We will enjoy a tasting here before returning to our hotel in Sighnaghi for our final evening in the Georgian countryside. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.

September 20:  We will drive back to Tbilisi today and have time in the afternoon for some independent sightseeing before our farewell dinner at Azarpesha, a unique cultural restaurant in the center of Tbilisi’s Old City.

September 21:  Your departure from Georgia. Once again your flight may have an early departure time, but your room will be available to rest in prior to your airport transfer. Please note that for those joining our Soviet Legacy tour, this will begin on September 23, giving you a day to relax and enjoy Tbilisi on your own. 


The Price:           US$ 2,940 per person (single supplement: $650)

This includes:             
  • Airport transfers
  • 4 nights in Tbilisi at the Hotel Citrus
  • 3 nights in Sighnaghi at the Hotel Kabadoni
  • 1 night in Tskaltubo
  • 2 nights in Mestia and the Hotel Tetnuldi
  • 1 night at the Hotel Begrati in Kutaisi
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and 10 dinners
  • Five wine tastings and two folkloric performances
  • All entrance fees and excursions as detailed on the itinerary
  • Transportation by coach throughout, with 4WD vehicles for the day excursion to Ushguli
  • Fully escorted by Tamara Natenadze and “MaxGlobetrotter”

The price excludes the following:  
  • Items not specifically mentioned in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature


The Group: This tour will be marketed worldwide and will have participants from several countries and will be conducted exclusively in English. We will restrict participation to a maximum of eighteen people so early booking is highly recommended.

Terms:  A non-refundable deposit of $750 is required to confirm your place on the tour. The balance will be due no later than 45 days prior to departure. Once paid, all monies will be non-refundable, and we highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance to cover any potential issues that might otherwise cause you to lose money.

For reservations please contact Tamara Natenadze at: tamara@travellivingroots.com

 
The Alaverdi Monastery








Sunday, January 11, 2015

Georgia: An escorted tour in September 2015

I rarely, if ever, escort groups; however, Georgia is a country designed for group tours, and it is probably my favourite destination in the world, so this September I am leading a small group to explore the Wine, Food and Culture of this remarkable country.

We will start, as always, with our arrival in Tbilisi, the country's capital, and following a chance to sleep for a few hours, throw ourselves into the fray. From our hotel we will wander up to the marvellous Vino Underground restaurant where we will have our introduction to the myriad complexities that make up the Georgian wine mosaic.

A leisurely walk through Old Town, and dinner at the spectacularly located Kopala Restaurant will round out the day.

We head out of Tbilisi the next day to visit the ancient capital of Mtskheta, the undeniably chilling Stalin Museum, the wonderful vineyard run by my friend Iago and finally to the Tskaltubo Spa. This spa, formerly the recreation facility for high Soviet military folk, is being refurbished and gradually brought back to life; it houses some truly remarkable historical legacies, and is a fascinating stop.

We continue through the Svaneti Valley to Mestia, the commercial hub of this remote mountain district, and the home of a truly remarkable collection of early Christian artefacts and icons in the national museum. We spend a day travelling by 4WD to Ushguli, a UNESCO heritage site, and a destination recently featured by National Geographic 

Following two remarkable days in the highlands, we will return to Kutaisi, the second city of the country, and enjoy time wandering in the Old Town before dinner and our overnight stay.

From Kutaisi, we follow the ancient path of the Silk Road, as we travel past Tbilisi to the rich agricultural lands of Kakheti in Georgia's east. We cross the Likhi Range en route, the mountains that separate the watershed to the Black or Caspian Seas. We will stop along the way, before reaching our overnight stop at Chateau Mere.

The monastery at Alaverdi has to be one of my favourite places in the country, and we will enjoy both the remarkable atmosphere of the monastery and their wine. Having been making wine pretty much continuously since the year 1011, they have become extremely good at their craft, and you will be able to enjoy their unique creation in the splendour of the 6th century monastery.

Our overnight accommodation will be at the Kabadoni hotel in Sighnaghi, and dinner at Pheasants Tears, a restaurant that I love, and is run by two great friends, John Wurderman and Gia Rokashvili. 

We have a gentle day around this gorgeous town before returning to Tbilisi for the final two nights, and some more sightseeing, wandering, a chance to visit the ancient bath-houses and certainly to shop for some memories of this extraordinary trip.

So, enough of the commercial! The tour is limited to eighteen passengers, the weather will be fantastic, the company convivial and our local colleagues at Living Roots are the most brilliant travel company in Georgia.

It will be an ideal journey, and I look forward to having you join! For more information, please feel free to email me at max@gctravel.ca