Georgia: Tracing the Roots of Wine Culture
June 29, 2013 - July 06, 2013
We took on the exciting, ancient city of Tbilisi, experiencing a renaissance after the Soviet years. Staying in the hip Sololaki neighborhood, we explored the city’s arts scene, visited a beautiful park on the top of a mountain and feasted on Georgian cuisine. We left the city for two nights in Kazbegi, taking in Caucasus mountain air, and for two nights in Kakheti, Georgia’s lush wine country with plenty of wineries. There we met a local sommelier and singer, who showed us around after work and took us star gazing in a cemetery! We were blown away by the Caucasus mountain views in Kazbegi and especially enjoyed the beautiful Rooms Hotel. Back in Tbilisi, we took a sulfur bath and found a cool underground club. A fantastic week!
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I was uncertain what to expect, as I really didn't know too much about Georgia going in - but fortunately, it was all a pleasant surprise. Tbilisi is an amazing mix of things - gorgeous architecture, a vibrant party scene and, like everywhere in Georgia, delicious food. The winery visits and Kazbegi were fascinating in different way - and took us through some jaw-dropping scenery. Our guide, Eka, really made the trip extra-memorable - she knows the country's history thoroughly and was also just a blast to hang out with every day. I'll definitely do another 1001Worlds trip soon!
Fascinating Tour of a Country in the Middle of Reinvention
There is a list of reasons why I like being a part of 1001worlds. The trips done by 1001words are fun, divers and very alive. It is very close to my character and understanding of traveling. Last summer I was a guide on the trip- Tracing the Roots of Wine Cultures. It was a trip full with positive feelings and unforgettable moments for all of us! Members of our group motivated me to be creative and visit places and meet with people who reflected well the soul of the region and locals’ live.
With new ideas and plans on my mind I’m looking forward to being part of the trips in the coming season :)
1001worlds in Georgia!
The whole trip was such an amazing adventure. Could have spent a week in Tbilisi alone, let alone the wine country to the east, and the Caucasus to the north. The emerald green hills of the mountains forever etched in my memory. Our guide Eke was such a blast and so full of information, & took us places I don't think any outsider would know about. Don't know how we'd have survived without her. Great time all around.
I still think of my amazing travels throughout Georgia; the people, food, architecture and the biggest surprise, the wine! Our guide knew everyone and everything about Georgia. She knew exactly where we wanted to go and figured out our group quickly enough to edit out what we wouldn't be interested in. I experienced Georgia in a way I never could have traveling on my own. Interestingly enough I now read all the time that Georgia is the road less taken and the next place to go. I am so glad I went and I can't wait to return!
Georgia on my mind...
The Georgian food really was as amazing as I’d been reading. From fancy restaurants to dinners in people’s homes, we feasted on fresh and local ingredients. Our accommodations were great throughout. Our Tbilisi hotel was a boutique hotel central to everything, and the Kazbegi hotel was one of the most gorgeous hotels I’ve stayed in.
Food Wine Culture! Georgia rules!
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Sorry there is no Playground for this trip: we introduced this feature after the trip.
SAT Day 1
Arrival at the City Hotel in Tbilisi. Once the whole group has arrived, we’ll head out to the old part of the city for an introductory look around. We'll explore the vibrant Sololaki area home to many of Tbilisi’s new bars and restaurants. It's Saturday evening, so you’ll get to experience the Georgian nightlife on your first night.
SUN Day 2
After brunch in the old city, we’ll start with the famous citadel high up on the hillside overlooking the whole capital. This can be reached by foot (a steep but short hike) or by cable car with fantastic views. We’ll visitthe old city with some gallery and museum visits and shopping. There is also the option to visit the Ethnographic Museum- this outdoor museum allows you a unique insight into the types of houses that existed in the different parts of Georgia. Sunday night is perfect for some live music.
MON Day 3
We’ll leave Tbilisi in the morning and head to the 6th century David Gareja monastery complex, cut straight out of rock, continuing to the main wine-producing province, Kakheti, in Eastern Georgia. This region is rich not only in wineries of all sizes but also in historical and architectural monuments. Most homes have their own underground wine cellar and families press their own grapes: you’ll have the chance to learn more about the traditional wine-making process firsthand. An option along the way is to visit the Convent of Bodbe and visit the chapel of Georgia's patron Saint Nino hidden deep in the woods. We finish the day in the heart of the wine region, in the town of Sighnaghi, surrounded by walls and 23 towers at strategic points. The day culminates in wine tasting and dinner at our favourite boutique winery “Pheasant's Tears”.
TUE Day 4
In the morning we will have a leisurely breakfast and then make our way to through the wine country, visiting local wine cellars in the villages of Velistsikhe and Gurjaani where we will try home-made wines, bread and cheese and see chacha(the local vodka) being made. We will also visit the charming estate of Alexander Chavchavadze in the town of Tsinandali. In the evening we drive back to Sighnaghi and have a Supra feast with a local family.
WED Day 5
After breakfast, we’ll start our way back to Tbilisi, visiting more sites or wineries on the way, depending on the group’s wishes. Back in the city, you can opt for a cooking course or we might head to the traditional bath houses. Tbilisi is built upon healing hot springs, according to legend, capable of restoring eunuchs. In the evening we’ll explore the upmarket districts of Vake and Vere, with their parks, bars and restaurants. Or attend a performance at the Nabadi theatre or a session of polyphonic singing or traditional Georgian dancing.
THU Day 6
Today is dedicated to arts and culture: there is the option of visiting some local artists and jewellery makers or checking out some of the smaller museums and galleries or the flea market. Or you might op to visit the national museum to learn more about Georgia’s fascinating history. The night is reserved for bar hopping or for attending theatre or dance. You might also just opt for a lovely, relaxed dinner, for which the tour leader will have many suggestions.
FRI Day 7
We can opt to drive to Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia. Scientists date the town back to the 2nd millennium B.C. Mtskheta was the capital of the Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from 500BC - 500AD, now one of UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Sites. We will have lunch at a traditional Georgian restaurant by the river, after which we’ll go back to Tbilisi and enjoy free time for shopping or visiting the lovely coffee houses or wine bars dotted across town. Or you might hang out with some of the Georgians you met during the week. We’ll plan the perfect group dinner for our last night, depending on the group’s tastes. And there is still the Friday night to go out and experience the famous Tbilisi nightlife...
SAT Day 8
It’s time for a lazy morning before the flight back home, or onwards to Armenia, with time for last minute shopping. We’ll finish our time together with a brunch and say goodbye. If you’re planning to stay an extra day, just let us know and we can organize it for you with the hotel.