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About John Graham Tours
In depth, curated, cultural: only the exquisite, rare, and exceptional. Our small groups are self-selecting; come if you are curious and open minded, and enjoy the finest in historical sites, local cuisine and wines, with the preparation and logistical management to make you feel like you don't have to worry about a thing.
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Melanie Hamilton wrote a review Jun 2020
12 contributions
John is the best tour guide imaginable - friendly, laid back, and extremely knowledgable. We toured Mtskehta with him and from start to finish he answered every question thoroughly and accurately, We spent the entire day with him and there wasn't a single dull moment. John has a true passion for history and teaching which makes him the perfect guide to answer any and all questions! The sites we visited were incredible but his knowledge of all the nooks and crannies is what made it a more meaningful and memorable trip. We really can't recommend him enough and look forward to more tours in the future.
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Date of experience: June 2020
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Jan A wrote a review Feb 2020
6 contributions1 helpful vote
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Although the January 2020 trip was the first tour that John Graham had organized and led in Ethiopia, we never would have known: we visited major sites in northern Ethiopia, chatted with local residents in their homes, and participated in the largest religious celebration in the country, all without a hitch. The tour was arranged so that we would be in Lalibela, the town know for its sunken rock-hewn churches, for Genna/Nativity, a major holiday. Being part of a crowd of tens of thousands of worshippers in the pre-dawn darkness, listening to the chanting of the priests and the beating of the ceremonial drums, and watching the procession of the religious hierarchy around the tops of the churches in Lalibela was a truly unforgettable experience. In addition, we were introduced to distinctive Ethiopian religious art in churches around Lake Tana; mingled with Gelada Baboons in Simien Mountains National Park; tried the exuberant “shoulder dance” – eskista – at a nightclub in Gondar; and walked in the natural beauty of the high desert in the Gheralta region. John, along with his local co-leader Christian Sefrin, ensured that our food, lodging, and transportation were all the best possible for a true travelers’ adventure. I’d definitely recommend this 2-week tour for anyone looking for a cultural experience in a country that is still under-visited by foreigners.
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Date of experience: January 2020
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bjkr747 wrote a review Jan 2020
New Orleans, Louisiana20 contributions8 helpful votes
We just traveled to Ethiopia on an itinerary organized by John Graham Tours led by the owner John Graham. This is the first time he has led a tour in Ethiopia. We had traveled with John on two tours in 2018 in Georgia, Armenia and Turkey. We had a marvelous experience is an understatement. John’s interest and focus in travels are the same as ours. He uses words like awe, adventure, exuberance, spiritual and adventure while experiencing the people, culture and the nature in a country. John has a unique ability to select capable co-leaders and local guides who share his enthusiasm in visiting a country. John and his co-leader Christian, who has extensive experience in leading travelers in Ethiopia, did a fantastic job of making sure that each of us in our group of fifteen seasoned travelers had a once in a lifetime experience on our thirteen day journey through the highlands of Ethiopia. They both ‘moved mountains’ so that a fellow traveler could buy and transport a large piece of original artwork by a local artist. No wonder that many in the group are ready to travel with John and Christian to any country on any continent and we highly recommend John Graham Tours to all curious and adventurous travelers.
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Date of experience: January 2020
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Response from JohnGrahamTours, Owner at John Graham Tours
Responded Jan 28, 2020
Thank you so much for recognizing my efforts. I believe travel should include genuine awe for the incredible places and people with whom we share this planet. We are privileged and fortunate to be able to travel, maybe there is a way we can also share and spread joy. That is what I believe. You and Jay were the inspiration for this tour, I will never forget that!
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Lester D wrote a review Oct 2019
2 contributions2 helpful votes
This was a memorable and magical trip to the South Caucuses with John Graham Tours. We are a group of former World Bank staff members intensely interested in how countries work at their core. John was really extraordinary in providing an in-depth and authentic picture of both countries located strategically between East and West, variously conquered and influenced through the centuries by Mongols, Arabs, Hittites, Greeks, Romans, Persians and Ottoman Turks and more recently by the Soviets. Each country retaining its unique character and blend of Orthodox Christianity, their future relying on a careful balancing of interests among the surrounding big powers. John also led us down the paths of their history in the search for the earliest influences and spread of Christianity in the region from 300BC We visited early religious sites, churches and monasteries, abandoned during the dark Soviet period, but now more important then ever in linking the long-standing Christian Orthodox traditions and values to present day worshippers in communities and churches which are active and vibrant. With John’s special knowledge of liturgical and folk music of the region, the history and culture comes alive. We were treated to many performances of early and more recent musical genres with John often joining the performances with his wonderful bass and often countertenor voice. The scenery of the countryside and the mountains is dramatic- near the Russian Georgian border we woke up to the magnificent spectacle of Mt Kazbegi (16,512’) a backdrop to the 13th century Gergeti Trinity Monastery where we hiked to meet some of the resident monks. The food and wine was superb. We stayed at a small vineyard, the Babaneuri Winery, where the family owners introduced us to the ancient Georgian qvevri winemaking technique where red grapes are placed inside large clay vessels and buried underground to ferment for several months-it is an organic method becoming very popular in Europe and the US. The tradition dates back over 3000 years and meticulously preserved by the monasteries over the centuries. We tried many different varieties of wine on the trip (Georgia has over 525 grape varietals and Armenia, over 400). They were paired by extraordinary cuisine and a chance to meet the local people whose forbears suffered greatly in bygone centuries. John transmitted his contagious passion for this part of the world, speaks fluent Georgian and his perspective was objective, highly informative viewed through the eyes of a local who has lived in Tbilisi for many years. Highly recommend his tours and we are left with indelible memories of the people, history, culture and music of the region.
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Date of experience: October 2019
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Response from JohnGrahamTours, Owner at John Graham Tours
Responded Nov 15, 2019
Thank you Lester! I find that those visitors who already have a strong curiosity and passion for life get the most of cultural travel. You are the best example of this: willing to try everything, to discern the most important elements of a site or an event, to enjoy a fine wine or a fine musical performance. It was a pleasure to travel with you and your wife, and I look forward to future travels should that enjoyable occasion ever present itself!
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SCTripp wrote a review Oct 2019
Seattle, Washington2 contributions1 helpful vote
Our group enjoyed a wonderful mix of history, hiking, and music during our two-week trip to Georgia and Armenia thanks to John Graham Tours. Our local guides -- Paul, Dato, and Roseanna -- were delightful travel companions and very knowledgeable about the two countries' long histories and rich cultures. We hiked in beautiful scenery, visited centuries-old churches, helped harvest grapes at a winery, learned to make khinkali (Georgian dumplings), and heard traditional music performed by John and his musician friends. All the travel logistics were handled flawlessly, and we enjoyed many fine meals in charming settings. All in all, a very special and memorable trip to a fascinating region!
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Date of experience: October 2019
1 Helpful vote
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Response from JohnGrahamTours, Owner at John Graham Tours
Responded Nov 15, 2019
I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed your trip. We pride ourselves on perfect logistics, and what's more important, indepth cultural experiences. Please come again!
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