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If you want to learn about Georgia, its people, wine, food, history, culture, and make new friends along the way, this tour is for you!
My daughter and I were fortunate to have the time to take this tour a few weeks ago in September, and to discover this beautiful Caucasian Country that not too many Americans get to visit. After seven days on this private tour, we got to know many interesting Georgians, and learned so much about their love for wine and wine making, their cuisine, heritage and politics. I have to say that before our arrival, I was a little worried about our safety - two American women traveling alone around the Country! But we were pleasantly surprised as how safe Georgia is! No corruption, no pick pocketing, no crime and they love their tourists! In all the time that we were there, we never once felt unsafe.
The organizer, Tsotne, who took us around the beautiful city of Tbilisi and to a brandy factory on the first day of our visit and his colleague, Vaska, who was our main guide for the rest of the trip were extremely attentive, nice, friendly, knowledgeable and fun! Not to mention that they both have a very good taste in food which made our dining experiences even more memorable.
Just like its mentioned in the itinerary, we toured several small to large scale wineries around the Country and got to taste a variety of Georgian wines and spirits made from locally grown grapes. Visited many historic churches, old monasteries, quaint towns, ancient ruins, while passing through beautiful landscape, lakes, villages and the Caucasus mountains. Walked through the amazing Prometheus Caves with breathtaking views of stalactites and stalagmites the boat ride in the underground river costs extra and not available when the river floods, wear old shoes as the place is very muddy. Since there were only two of us, we traveled in a nice air-conditioned Prius. The weather was hot, but not unbearable which made it easy to climb stairs/hills to visit some of the sites.
Before our arrival to Georgia, we made a few changes and Tsotne was extremely accommodating to our needs. For starters, we had asked to stay in Tbilisi one day before starting the tour as we knew arriving in Tbilisi at 3 am and flying from California we needed time to rest and to adjust to the time difference. The driver, Yuri, also a very nice young man, picked us up at the airport on time and made sure that we were well taken care of at the hotel until the next day when the actual tour started. They also allowed us to stay in the hotels of our own choosing in Tbilisi with price adjustment we chose our own hotels so that we could be close to the places we wanted to go on our first day of arrival and the last day before leaving Tbilisi.
After the tour was over, we stayed one additional day in Tblisi before leaving for Armenia which we also loved by the way!, and we went to the sulfur baths that Tsotne had recommended and booked for us, which was a very fun experience. Vaska also gave us a whole list of things we could do and gave us his cell phone number and told us to call him for any reason at all while in Tblisi - especially, if we got lost or needed any help. Thank you, Vasca! That was super nice of you!
In summary, this was a trip that we thoroughly enjoyed and learned so much in the process. The guides were extremely gracious, knowledgeable and made sure that we were having fun. They introduced us to a variety of wine and wineries, cuisine, people and places in such a short time. Well definitely go back and take friends and families and when we do well definitely contact Tsotne and Vaska. So thank you Tsotne and Vaska for all your efforts, laughs and the fun memories!
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