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Review Highlights
Unforgettable experience

John is the best tour guide imaginable - friendly, laid back, and extremely knowledgable. We toured... read more

Reviewed June 23, 2020
Ethiopia - a fantastic trip in a fascinating country

Although the January 2020 trip was the first tour that John Graham had organized and led in... read more

Reviewed February 3, 2020
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All reviews deep love food and wine his knowledge georgian music the high country pre dawn alpine meadows visiting churches just returned from a two week fascinating country natural beauty once in a lifetime georgian orthodox church knowledgeable guide an adventure perfect guide fantastic trip
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Reviewed October 15, 2018

I have traveled the world a fair bit and have had some very good experiences with local guides, but John Graham has surpassed all of them by leaps and bounds in a myriad of aspects.
Language is one of the first challenges with many local guides, sometimes struggling with vocabulary or heavy accents. John, who was born and raised in the US, speaks at length on any topic and is able to convey his wealth of knowledge clearly. But, the added bonus is that he has lived in Georgia for many years, is married to a Georgian lady, and speaks Georgian fluently. And that means he is able to provide extra help in any situation (even ordering extra medications at a local pharmacy) and knows the ins and outs of any situation.
John is a master planner. The tour we were one was a 12-day Orthodox Christian Pilgrimage (though we did learn that he has various other tour options). As an active member of the Georgian Orthodox Church, he was able to share the spiritual treasures of the country as an insider, not an observer, but as one of our community of believers. Yet his plans also included various cultural highlights that reflected his genuine love of his adopted country.
As an added bonus to the church tours, John was able to provide our group with an amazing repertoire of Georgian music. A musicologist (with a PhD from Princeton), John has a deep love for Georgian chant and brought along with us two fellow chanters from his own church. The three of them provided us with soul-stirring music in the various churches and cathedrals and enlivened our meal times with local folk songs. Wherever we happened to be, other tourists would stop their tours or stop talking at the restaurants and slide on over to our area and begin recording. We all felt so privileged to have John, Torniqe and Giorge with us.
With his encyclopedic knowledge of virtually every aspect of Georgian life or history, and with his familiarity and love for the countryside, John was able to talk at length on any topic and make the longer bus rides seem quite short. Yet he was able to convey his knowledge in a way that was interesting, but not bursting with any self-inflating pride. In fact, he has a rather humble way about him and takes care to meet the needs and interests of his audience, not simply show off his wealth of knowledge.
John's caring nature is readily apparent from the onset. He is a very pleasant, genial host who treats every visitor with genuine respect and concern. With his winning smile and gentle nature, I think each individual felt that John was looking out for their own personal interests. He was never too busy to help someone who needed further explanation, to assist people who needed extra medical attention, or even to accommodate those with extra physical challenges. ( My sister cracked her ankle just before arriving and had crutches and a cast on her leg, but we never once felt we were a burden.) Unexpected challenges appeared among our group, but John was unflappable and handled things in a professional, efficient, yet personable manner.
With most travel tours, one can often think of something that could have been handled differently or improved upon. Not so with John Graham. I highly recommend his tours as being worth every penny. (Maybe there will be a statue of him in the town square one day as being the one who brought the love of Georgia and Georgian music to the world. :-) )

Date of experience: September 2018
2  Thank Paulette H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2018

I was not sure I was a 'group tour' person, but this small personalized tour turned out to be the best possible way to experience the spectacular history, culture, scenery, food and wine of Georgia. John Graham, an American settled in Georgia, together with his 2 excellent assistant guides, was personable, fun, and knowledgeable about everything from ancient churches to current politics, and musical traditions. The atmosphere in the group was truly convivial. It was an adventure underpinned by excellent planning and organisation. Accommodations ranged from authentic village guesthouses to comfortable hotels, and hikes were tailored to our energy levels. I would definitely travel with John Graham Tours again.

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank sifaka2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2018

I just finished a 12-day Orthodox Christian Pilgrimage to Georgia led by John (about 30 people), along with two Orthodox priests. I have toured over 90 countries, and I can tell you that guides don't get any better than John, at least in my experience. He surpassed my expectations, which were high to begin with, because I was familiar with Georgia. John is an American musicologist (PhD Princeton) who has lived in Georgia for many years, speaks Georgian fluently, is married to a Georgian wife, and an active member of the Georgian Orthodox Church. He has committed his life to Christ and to sharing with others the spiritual and cultural treasures of Georgia, especially its unique musical tradition. In every church and cathedral, John and two other expert Georgian singers filled our souls with Georgian three-part Orthodox chant. It made these ancient sites come alive. Likewise they regaled us with hearty Georgian folk songs at lunches and dinners, done Georgian-style with lots of toasts. John is a walking encyclopedia on all things Georgian, including its history, but he knows when enough is enough. His concern is to make his talks interesting and helpful to his specific audience, not to show off his erudition. In rare cases when he is stumped by a question, he has the humility to say so. When it comes to the practical logistics of touring, John proves himself the master once again. Well-prepared, yes. Able to deal with special needs and unplanned difficulties, yes. Unflappable. Disciplined, yes. Uptight, no. A gentle touch and a winning smile. No scolding. Real leadership you want to follow. Worth every penny. Whether you are a Christian or a music lover or not, you won't be disappointed with a John Graham tour, nor with Georgia.

Date of experience: October 2018
Thank nomadcapitalist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2018

I recently spent two weeks hiking in the Svaneti and Kuzbegi regions of Georgia, as part of a 12 person tour led by John and two other guides, Paul and Dato. This tour exceeded my expectations in every respect. As with all small group tours, the quality of the guides is what makes or breaks a tour. I have been on other group tours with excellent guides, but what distinguishes John's tours from others is that John does more than just lead the tour. He is master planner and organiser, hiker, singer, translator, driver and font of knowledge about all things Georgian. This is all accomplished in a relaxed and calm way, so that guests feel comfortable and at ease at all times. John's superb organisational skills mean that there are many personalised touches. I particularly enjoyed the impromptu singing performances by Dato and John, the wonderful sense of camaraderie which developed in our group from day 1, and the sumptuous feasts which we enjoyed every evening. And of course the hikes which were truly beautiful, the scenery stunning. Would I do this tour again? You bet!

Date of experience: September 2018
3  Thank roevans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2018 via mobile

Having just returned from a tour of the Mt. Kazbegi area as well as tracing ancient Christianity in the Caucasus, I highly recommend this trip. Not only churches and monasteries but also perspectives of the highly complex political history of this part of the world are provided by John Graham.
In addition winery visits, museums and of course, chanting as conducted throughout the visit make this an unforgetable experience. For me as an art historian this area offers so much that deserves more attention in college courses and media coverage.

Date of experience: July 2018
Thank Khyber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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