This family-run tour group provided me and my family with an extremely personal, fascinating and fun 6 days in a country I left a piece of my heart in. It is because of this awesome group of people that I was able to experience all that Georgia is known for: warm hospitality, amazing food and wine, and off-the-beaten path beauty.
In the planning stages, Masha was very responsive and helpful in arranging a completely-customized experience.
The tone (highly attentive and service-oriented) for the rest of the trip was set when we were picked up from the airport at 1am.
The next day we began our 6-day adventure in and around Tbilisi. Our guide, Gio, was energetic, extremely knowledgeable and clearly loved what he did for a living.
- On our first day with Gio, we made a few stops along the Kakheti highway to meet and buy from some local vendors, most of which were selling right outside of their homes. We met an endearing woman who made Churchkhela, watched a master make traditional Georgian bread in her own kitchen and eventually sat down to eat one of my most favorite meals of the trip. Bread, beautiful vine-ripened tomatoes and delicious homemade cheese.
- My birthday happened to be while we were on this trip. In the morning Gio greeted me with the biggest bouquet of flowers (so fresh that bugs were still crawling in them) I have ever seen in real life. He also made sure to do something special, so in addition to visiting a famous, old church, we also spent an afternoon by Kvareli Lake, where we ate a lovely lunch and took a bike ride around the lake. Later, thanks to reservations Gio had made in advance, we had a celebratory dinner at a Georgian restaurant in the heart of downtown where there was a lively atmosphere and traditional Georgian dancing.
- We visited the impressive Russia-Georgia Friendship monument which overlooks the even more impressive Devil's Valley in the Caucusus Mountains. There was a cliff that had a stunning view, and though I was nervous and my parents didn't want me to venture that way, Gio must've caught the yearning for adventure in my gaze, because he personally escorted me down and back up a steep, dirt hill for the photo opp of a lifetime.
- My last and most impressionable highlight was after a day in Borjomi. Per our request, Gio and his brother, Luka, arranged for us to have a meal with a local family. This was an amazing experience not only because of the BEST Khachapuri I'm afraid I will ever have, but also because of the eternal connection we formed in just one evening, with Lali and her son who welcomed us into their home.
These are just some of the memorable moments we had thanks to our friends at Real Georgia Tours. I couldn't recommend them enough. If you want to see Georgia, do yourself a big favor and look no further.