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Has anyone been to The Republic of Georgia?

Has anyone been to The Republic of Georgia?

Old Jun 7th, 2016, 03:45 PM
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Has anyone been to The Republic of Georgia?

(Also putting this on the Europe forum as it seems there's no consensus as to which continent it's on!)

Thinking of going for 10 days in October and it's hard to find reviews. Fly into Tbilisi and stay a few days and then some 2 or 3 days trips outside the city.

The airline will probably be Azerbaijan Airlines. We will land and change planes in Azerbaijan and I wonder if we will need a Visa.
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Old Jun 7th, 2016, 03:50 PM
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Thursdays has been to Georgia and has details on her blog. There are a couple of other reports here - search by country above and choose Georgia.
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Old Jun 7th, 2016, 04:41 PM
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Just read thursdaysd's review. She didn't sound too excited about it. She went in 2009 and couldn't get to the high Caucasus, which is not a problem now and I would look forward to going there if in fact we do.

Another poster went more recently but he was more of a hostel stayer and 13 hour car rider, neither of which we are. However his descriptions of how he got around and what he did were very interesting.
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Old Jun 7th, 2016, 05:02 PM
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Actually I enjoyed Georgia enough I nearly went back this year. I didn't get up to the high mountains because I had eye problems and the doctor I saw thought it unwise. Did you read the report (not really a TR) here, or the longer report on my blog? (mytimetotravel.wordpress.com )
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Old Jun 7th, 2016, 08:06 PM
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My older son just got back on Sunday from Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. He had a driver the whole time in Georgia, and he stayed a total of five nights in Tbilisi, with a two night jaunt to Mestia in the middle. He was supposed to fly to Mestia, but the flights got cancelled both ways, thus necessitating getting driven both ways. He used the same driver every day in Tbilisi for day trips.

I asked him his assessment of the trip, and he said that he felt that the Caucuses are not as exotic as some other places he has been, but he enjoyed the trip nonetheless. He also said that the people were mellow, but also friendly and helpful. The food was the best in Georgia, as it was unique and different than the usual. I asked him what he liked best about the trip, and he said, "the train ride from Tbilisi to Baku."

I have his driver name, hotel names, and itinerary here in front of me. Let me know what you would like me to post, and if you have specific questions, and I will quote him.
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Old Jun 8th, 2016, 05:00 AM
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CalliforniaLaduy - Thanks .

You said bout your son: "he said that he felt that the Caucuses are not as exotic as some other places he has been.." Where has he been as a comparison?

We won't have a driver while in Tbilisi. May take a trip with Vanilla Sky to go to the Caucuses for about 3 days. Hopefully our flights wouldn't get cancelled.

Not sure about other places yet.
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Old Jun 8th, 2016, 08:36 AM
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Check with the relevant ministry on visas. Are you holding American passports, then DOS; if Canadian, then whatever the hosers call their foreign office.
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Old Jun 8th, 2016, 10:28 AM
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Thanks BigRuss. I would guess that since Azerbaijan Airlines would be our means of getting there, they would also know. (I know that a visa is not needed for Georgia.)
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Old Jun 8th, 2016, 11:44 AM
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If you need a visa for Azerbaijan you'll have to get it from these people, so you might as well ask them:

http://azerbaijanvisa.travisaoutsour...aijan/homepage

I've used Travisa for other visas and they are fine. It's not clear whether you will need a transit visa, but getting an Azerbaijani visa looks to be a pain. I thought about stopping over in Baku for my next trip and decided on Istanbul instead.
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Old Jun 8th, 2016, 08:27 PM
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Hey Diane,

Here's what my son said in answer to your questions:

Azerbaijani Visa:
You can go to Azerbaijan for up to five days WITHOUT a visa, which is what he did. After that, the visa is just like the one we had to get for Russia, which requires a letter of invitation for each hotel. Could you stay overnight in Baku? He liked the walled city, and thought it was worth seeing.

Vanilla Sky Flight To Mestia:
He said that his flight got cancelled due to weather conditions, so have a back up plan to get you to the mountains via ground transportation. He said that a private driver will charge about $220, and a shared taxi is about $15.

General Evaluation Of The Caucuses:
I am trying to decide next year whether to go to the "stans" (where he went last year) or the caucuses, and he felt that I would find the stans more interesting, because of the Silk Road history. He said that the caucuses are more like Eastern Europe, with the Soviet influence, and hence more "civilized." He said that it was pretty, but other than the monasteries, there was not as much history as central Asia. So he was basically making a comparison for my benefit.

Let me know if you have more questions....
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Old Jun 9th, 2016, 05:21 AM
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Thanks so much California Lady.
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Old Jun 9th, 2016, 05:28 AM
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I'm sorry, CaliforniaLady, but I have to disagree with your son about history. To quote the Bradt guide to Georgia: "It can be said that the history of Georgia goes back to the dawn of time... Protohuman remains about 1.8 milliion years old and human remains about 200,000 years old have been found... By the 2nd millennium BC, tribes were on the verge of statehood..." The area was in on the dawn of agriculture. Colchis - see Jason and the golden fleece - was established by the 9th century BCE. Armenia was the world's first Christian state, and Georgia the second. The area has been part of many empires.

Central Asia has for the most part been occupied by nomadic tribes, who periodically migrated, or attempted to migrate, east or west and ravaged the settled cities. (See: Great Wall, Huns, Goths, Visigoths, Turks, Mongols etc.) The nomads did produce beautiful textiles, I've just been reading up on them, but the nomadic life doesn't leave much else. From Lonely Planet: "Central Asia's recorded history begins in the 6th century BC, when the large Achaemenid empire of Persia ... created client kingdoms": Sogdiana, Khorezm, Bactria, (see Alexander the Great and Roxanne) etc.

Samarkand, perhaps the most popular example of an oasis city, probably dates to the 5th century BCE, and was definitely in existence when Alexander came through, and flourished until it was obliterated by Genghis Khan in 1220. The current city was built by Timur in the late 1300s. But Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, not only had to be rebuilt after the Mongol destruction, but was largely rebuilt again after an earthquake in 1969.

According to Valerie Hansen's "Silk Road: A New History" which I am currently reading, trade between China and Rome didn't get underway until the start of the Christian era, and was more significant for cultural exchange than the quantity of goods traded, which was never great. And of course, the "Silk Road" is a modern invention. It was never a road, or even a single pathway, and very, very few people ever traveled the whole length, as goods were traded from merchant to merchant along the various routes. I think of it as a skein, and one strand reached the Caucasus.

If you want to say that Samarkand is more beautiful than Tbilisi, or the mountains of Tajikistan more impressive than the Caucasus, I won't disagree. But I don't agree that there is "not as much history". And there has been plenty of Soviet - and Russian - influence in Central Asia, too.
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Old May 3rd, 2017, 08:30 AM
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CaliforniaLady,
Could you please give me the names of the driver and city and hotels that your son stayed in. we are going to Georgia this Sept. thank oyu
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