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-   -   Anyone been to Georgia (and I don't mean in the USA)? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/anyone-been-to-georgia-and-i-dont-mean-in-the-usa-1029666/)

kenav Nov 8th, 2014 06:07 AM

Anyone been to Georgia (and I don't mean in the USA)?
 
Started to look at this country as a possible trip. But there is little to no reviews of it. We love mountains and sounds like Tbilisi would be a great city to visit, as well as other areas.

If you know anything, I'd be most appreciative.

Amy Nov 8th, 2014 06:10 AM

You'll find Georgia hanging out over on the Asia forum, as is, for example, Armenia. Thursdaysd went to both on the same trip, and I found her info on Armenia extremely helpful; here's the trip report: http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...e-caucasus.cfm

kenav Nov 8th, 2014 06:57 AM

Amy - Thanks. I looked at that but it's quite old. thursdays most recent blog is about Roumania.

HORSCHECK Nov 8th, 2014 07:24 AM

Hello,

I have visited Georgia in the Caucasus twice for two weeks this year. On my first trip I only visited Tbilisi and Mtskheta and then went on to Armenia.

On my second visit in Sepetmber I visited Batumi, Kutaisi, Gelati, Tkibuli, Kazbegi and again Tbilsi. From there I took the night train to Baku in Azerbaijan.

Georgia is a fascinating country which can easily be explored by public transport (mainy mini buses). Tbilisi is definitely a food start to the country and you can easily spent a week there and also take some day trips from there. On highly recommended daytrip is to Mtskheta, which can be reached by minibus within less than 30 minutes.

If you are into hiking then Kazbegi is a must-visit. The town is located at an altitude of 1700 metres only 12 km south of the border to Russia. From Kazbegi (actually called Stepantsminda) you can hike to the famous Gergeti Trinity church (2100 metres) which is situated very picturesque in front of the Mount Kazbeg (5047 metres).

I hope this gives you a first good idea about Georgia. If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

kenav Nov 8th, 2014 09:27 AM

Thanks Horscheck.

How did you deal with the language? I've heard the bus stations to get the mini buses can be pandemonium and to look out for pick pockets (like anywhere else, I guess). What was your experience? Did you use a travel agent or guide? Is a car useful?

HORSCHECK Nov 8th, 2014 10:17 AM

Hello Kenav,

I speak some basic Russian, which was quite helpful. Russian is not the native langauge in this part of the world, but from Soviet times more or less all people speak Russian. Younger people do speak a bit of English and are happy to speak with foreigners to try their English.

Yes, the minibus stations are very chaotic, but that's all part of the experience. People are generally very helpful and friendly to foreigners, especially travellers.

Pick pocketing is probably more common in New York than in Tbilisi. I actually felt very safe there. Just use common sense.

I travelled indpendently and solo, so didn't use a guide at all. All travels only by public transport (minibus, train, shared taxi), which is very cheap and can get you almost everywhere. Last but not least it is a good way to get in contact with the locals.

Of course it probably takes more time to find out where buses leave from than just jump into your rented car, still it is a good way to explore the country.

By the way: Both Tbilisi and Mtskheta have very helpful Tourist Information Offices. Staff speak excellent English.

I hope this helps.

kenav Nov 9th, 2014 04:20 AM

Were you easily able to purchase the minibus tickets, in other words,did you tell the ticket person where you wanted to go or just point to a word of the destination? Were the signs only in Georgian?

HORSCHECK Nov 9th, 2014 09:45 AM

The tickets are usually sold on the bus. You just hand some money to the driver or a second person who asks for the fare. Actually you don't get a ticket, it is just paying some money and off you go. It is always a sort of flat fare, so there is usually no difference in the fare if you go to the final destination or get off the bus before that. It is cheap anyway.

In Tbilisi at the Didube bus station you sometimes have to buy the ticket at some small booths, but the driver will point you to these. There you get at least a sort of receipt.

Buses usually only have signs in Georgian language. Some rare exceptions occur: Seldom the bigger towns or more touristy towns are also written in latin letters or sometimes you even have a picture of the destination on the sign (e.g. Mtskheta), but this really is the exception. Yerevan in Armenia is usually written in Russian (Cyrillic letters) as this is the only language, which citizens of both countries (Georgia and Armenia) understand.

If you come to a bus station and look a bit lost you will sooner or later be approached by a multitude of local men asking you where you want to go. Just tell them and they will point you to the bus. People are generally friendly.

I hope this helps.

kenav Nov 9th, 2014 02:12 PM

Thanks again Horscheck. Heard it can be quite hot in certain areas (can reach 105 F), so I'll have to consider that especially since I don't do too well in heat and can't imagine what that kind of heat would be like.

HORSCHECK Nov 10th, 2014 02:03 AM

When about are you planning to go and which cities are on you itineray?

I was there at the end of May and the beginning/middle of September. It was still hot, but I wouldn't call it too hot. If you go to the mountains e.g. Kazbegi it won't be hot anyway.

kenav Nov 10th, 2014 05:54 AM

Would probably be in Sept. Have no idea of an itinerary as we're not sure we're going yet. Just doing preliminaries right now.


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