This was an excellent trip, the Georgian part being especially enjoyable.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The friendliness of the people in both Georgia and Armenia.
The view of Mount Kazbek (16,000 feet) without any cloud.
The wonderful food and surprisingly excellent Georgian wine.
- What did you think of your group leader?
We had two group leaders, one in Armenia and one in Georgia.
The one in Armenia, Svetlana, was well liked as a person by the group. She was friendly, helpful and very knowledgable. However, the expected walks did not materialise, because she seemed not to be up to leading them. We were instead asked to walk along roads where walks were listed in the trip notes.
The group leader in Georgia, Tamara, was excellent. As well as being knowledgable, friendly and helpful, she was an able leader, and had the air of authority needed to lead an Exodus group. She led some superb walks ably, having regard to the varying levels of fitness in the group. She bent over backwards to satisfy some very difficult requests. She found a superb Georgian folk dance and song concert for five of us in Tbilisi when asked (with free wine and sweets!). In fact, she was outstanding, and a typical Exodus leader.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
If buying wine to take home, wait until you get to Georgia. Georgian wine is superb.
When leaving Armenia, change your Armenian money before crossing the border. It's very difficult to change Armenian money in Georgia, and if you find somewhere, you won't get a very good exchange rate.
In Georgia lunches are not included. The group got some wonderful picnic lunches from local supermarkets, for next to nothing.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
This was the first year this trip had been run. There are some areas where there could be improvement. The trip was rather top heavy on churches. It would be better to have more variety. A Georgian vineyard would have been superb. Also citadels make a nice change from churches, and there are plenty of them. A few walks in Armenia would have been nice.
I wasn't a fan of walnuts until I went on this trip. It's amazing what Armenians and Georgians can do with them!
And finally, what a superb choice of accommodation in both Armenia and Georgia. Each place we stayed at was completely different to the one before and most had something unusual about them.