Join us on a photography expedition to the country of Georgia where you’ll learn tips and techniques while exploring this remarkable country with Lola Akinmade Åkerström, National Geographic photographer, author, and renowned visual storyteller.
Sitting at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia boasts an exotic, mysterious and ancient culture stretching back for millennia shaped by her geographic location along the ancient silk road. Anatolian, European, Persian, Arabian, Ottoman and Far Eastern influences have all shaped Georgia’s diverse and hospitable atmosphere. Renowned for being accommodating, Georgians consider travelers to be “Gifts from the Gods”. It’s a unique destination for the adventurer, nature lover, history buff, and student of modern and ancient architecture.
And the foodies amongst us won’t feel left out. Georgian food is incredible. Not only will you be feasting on their cuisine, but you’ll learn to prepare several classic dishes paired with local artisanal wines. Georgia is the oldest wine making country in the world; Georgians have been making wine for over 8000 years with their own traditional method in egg-shaped clay jars called qvevri. Those jars are buried underground where the fermentation process happens naturally. And in September we’ll experience Rtveli – the traditional wine harvest and festival where you’ll literally get knee deep in the harvest process.
This is surely one of the most fascinating, history filled destinations you can visit on the planet. And with your newly honed photography skills, you’ll be able to tell the story in pictures.
Your photography instructor:
Lola Akinmade Åkerström is an award-winning visual storyteller, international bestselling author, and entrepreneur. She has dispatched from 70+ countries and her work has been featured in National Geographic, the New York Times, The Guardian, BBC, CNN, Travel Channel, Travel + Leisure, Lonely Planet, Forbes, and many more publications. As a mentor, she runs her own online academy, Geotraveler Media Academy, which is dedicated to visual storytelling and helping the next generation of travel storytellers put the heart back into the craft. Lola was the 2018 Bill Muster Travel Photographer of the Year.
This trip will be led by Doni Belau, GG2P’s founder along with Tommo a local guide.
Arrive at the Tbilisi Airport in the early morning. We’ll check-in and take a nap at the gorgeous 5-star Biltmore Hotel. (Arrive a day before if you wish to be free of jet lag).
In the early afternoon, we’ll lunch at a Georgian fusion restaurant indulging in modern Georgian cuisine.
Later in the afternoon ,we’ll visit the historic Sulfur Baths to soak in natural, hot mineral waters in our own private suites. After a rejuvenating massage, we’ll feel fully recovered from our long journey.
After some free time, tonight we will enjoy authentic Georgian polyphonic singing and traditional dancing while dining on modern Georgian cuisine.
After breakfast, Lola will introduce and discuss best practices for portrait and landscape photography. Then we’ll check-out of our hotel and embark on a Tbilisi Old Town Walking Tour, stopping for lunch at a small boutique restaurant or (weather permitting) an authentic restaurant with panoramic views of Tbilisi.
Next, we’re off on an adventure to explore the David Gareja Monastery, a famous religious complex carved into the mountainside near the Azerbaijan border. Here, the land is striped with different colored minerals, making a stunning backdrop for photos. Lola will be on hand with her expertise to help us find the best ways to capture this stunning location.
Once we arrive at our hotel, the Vazisubani Estate, which dates back to the 1800’s, we can settle in and dine admiring jaw dropping views of the Caucasus Mountains.
This morning, we’ll learn about the art of visual storytelling.
We’ll take this knowledge into Georgia’s wine region where we’ll have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of partaking in the “Rtveli”, the Georgian wine harvest festival.. We’ll visit a small artisan winemaker in their family home and taste their handmade wines. This will be a great opportunity to practice capturing portrait shots.
We’ll lunch on authentic, homemade dishes paired with expertly crafted aged qvevri wines, overlooking the vineyard towards the mountains.
After lunch we’ll learn about the qvevri – the clay vessel where wines are fermented. We’ll meet a crafter of these vessels at his home workshop to learn the secrets to this ancient tradition. The opportunities for portrait photography are everywhere around us.
After some relax-time, dinner will be back at our hotel.
After our morning photography lesson, we’ll explore the old walled mountain village of Signagi. This is the 2nd longest fortification in the world after the Great Wall of China. Here, we can marvel at the stunning views down to the Alazani valley below and across to the Caucasus Mountains. The photographer in us will be concentrating on capturing the striking hues.
We’ll have lunch overlooking the mountains.
This afternoon we’ll join an expert “Tamada” (toastmaster) to guide us through the history of Georgia’s food and wine culture, and the myriad toasts that are made at the traditional “supra” (feasts).
No trip is complete without a visit the Chavchavadze estate and its beautiful, manicured gardens. We’ll tour the old house and we’ll discover one of Georgia’s most iconic poets and statesman. Here we must keep the photo ops outside as photography inside is not permitted. The gardens won’t disappoint the lens.
Dinner is back at our hotel.
Today we we’ll depart early, enjoying several stops on the way to Gudauri.
After a stop for breakfast and our morning instruction, we’ll visit the Jvari Monastery (UNESCO), Mtskheta old capital (UNESCO) and Ananuri Fortress.
We’ll learn to make Khinkali (traditional dumplings) with the old ladies in their family restaurant kitchen. This is a perfect opportunity to put your portrait skills to the test and capture some authentic Georgian people.
Once we arrive in Gudauri, we can spend time at the resort spa or just rest and take in the scenery.
Tonight, we’ll dine at one of Georgia’s most famous hotels with epic views of the mountains.
After breakfast and our morning instruction time, we continue our journey to some unforgettable sites including Mount Kazbegi and Georgia’s famous Gergeti Trinity Church.
If you’re up to it, hike to Gveleti waterfall which is a relatively easy one-hour trek. Here we can grab some amazing landscape shots.
After a long day, we’ll return to our spa hotel in Gudauri and relax at the spa enjoying a treatment that will ease your muscles and bones.
Dinner tonight is on your own, room service anyone?
This morning we’ll grab a quick breakfast and begin a day of travel.
On our way to Kutaisi ,we’ll stop at the ancient Bronze Age cave town of Uplistsikhe before lunch.
We’ll stop for lunch at the family home/farmstead of one of Georgia’s few female winemakers. Enjoy a lovingly prepared lunch using ingredients from their own garden.
We’ll then hit the road to visit some ruined soviet spa complexes. This ghostly site makes for some unique photo opportunities. We’ll spend the night at the Newport Hotel in Kutaisi where we’ll dine and toast to an extra ordinary week in a fascinating country. We’ll tuck newly discovered skills away in our backpack to use liberally from now on.
Today will depend on your departure time. If you have an early flight, you’ll likely grab some breakfast and head straight to airport. For afternoon flights you can enjoy a short tour of the old town of Kutaisi and visit a traditional market, and/or a local artist’s workshop.
For evening flights, depending on your departure time, you can visit another part of the local wine region for lunch and a cooking class and/or visit the Prometheus caves or Martvili canyon/waterfalls. (Not included)
GG2P reserves the right to alter the itinerary based on weather or availability as well as exciting opportunities that might crop up!
Vegetarians & Vegans – Not to worry – will be well fed in all restaurants as well as those allergic to seafood or gluten. Options are plentiful.
If you have questions, press the Inquire Now button above, and complete the form. We’ll get back to you ASAP.
If you’d like to come, press the Reserve Now button above. You will be prompted to complete a form with your pertinent details, put down a refundable $250 deposit, and schedule a time to speak with a GG2P representative. We like to speak with everyone before they embark on their first trip with Girls’ Guide to Paris & Beyond. This allows you to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have. These are intimate, small group trips; a quick yet personal conversation allows you to get to know how our trips work and make sure it’s right for you. If it’s not, we’ll immediately refund your $250 deposit.
If it’s a Go! after your call, we’ll bill you for a non-refundable deposit, usually 35% of the trip’s cost (less the $250 place-holder deposit, if you already paid it) and your place is reserved. At this point, you’re committed to the trip, so we recommend that you purchase Travel Insurance to protect you in case your plans change unexpectedly. The balance will be due approximately 2 months before the trip.
Our cancellation policy is here.
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