RSVP by June 1
Friday August 7th
- Evening - Welcome Party in Kutaisi
Saturday August 8th
- Afternoon - Wedding at Motsameta Church
- Evening - Reception in Kutaisi
Sunday August 9th
Monday-Monday August 10th-17th
- Trekking in Mestia
Georgia is a country in the South Caucasus. It is bounded to the west by the Black Sea. To the north is the Greater Caucasus Range. From the south to the east lie Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The Georgian language belongs to the Kartvelian language family. Their language now has many Russian and English loan words but the language family is not related to Indo-European or any other language family.
We know you will be impressed with Georgia's delicious cuisine, famed wine, polyphonic singing, lively dancing, and most of all the hospitality of these warm people.
Getting There and Away
You can fly straight to Kutaisi from many European budget airline hubs using Wizz Air. Ryan Air also operates but only through Bologna and Marseille.
If you are coming from America you may need to book through two different airlines in order to land in Kutaisi - first flight to a Wizz Air hub, then from there directly to Kutaisi.
For those not wishing to do this, you may be able to find a cheaper round trip flight to Tbilisi. Taxis from the airport in Tbilisi to Kutaisi take 2.5 hours and can be arranged for about $70.
The majority of visitors from western countries are shocked by the reckless driving habits of most Georgians. Flying to Kutaisi minimizes this negative experience. I recommend you to not drive yourself unless you are prepared to exit your lane to give room for head-on oncoming traffic.
We will do something fun to show how all of our male lines are related to one another.
Anyone who has done a Y chromosome test, or has a family member who has, and knows their haplogroup can take part in the exercise.
Starting together, representing our common ancestor, Y-Chromosome Adam, who seems to have lived in sub-Saharan Africa 235,900 years ago, we will march forward. As a branching point is reached, the groups will split into smaller and smaller lineages of common descent.
If you haven't taken a Y-DNA test I recommend the Alpha-Beta test at YSEQ. It costs $85 and will require you to send a cheek swab to their lab in Berlin. I know the owner of the company, Thomas Krahn, and vouch that he does not pass on any of your genetic information to third parties nor law enforcement as some companies do.
From the result, there is a chance I could identify your closest male line relative(s) from public FTDNA / YSEQ projects within the last several hundred years - even millennia in some cases, depending on the rarity of your STR (Short Tandem Repeats) signature. It is also possible that I am only to find a number of very distant matches, none of which I can tell is a closer relative than the other. However in that case we'll still have a haplogroup prediction.
Those who like hiking and would like to explore one of the most picturesque regions of Georgia can join us on a 4-day village-to-village trek in Svaneti. No camping equipment or supplies required, as we will homestay in three remote villages along the way. A small backpack containing clothes and toiletries is all you need.
This trek is recommended in the Lonely Planet Guide, Mestia to Ushguli. It is not technically difficult, you could do it in sneakers as I did but in some places my shoes got soaked so it's not advisable. The peak elevation is 2737 m, it's 3101 m total climb over 4 days and 56.9 km total.
It takes 6 hours by bus to get from Kutaisi to Mestia but luckily direct flights are scheduled. We would fly Kutaisi-Mestia on Monday, August 10th and return the following Monday, August 17th. We'd begin the trek Tuesday and arrive in Ushguli on Friday. Saturday we could spend the whole day in Ushguli and hike to the glacier, then return to Mestia Sunday.
Note it looks like we cannot buy tickets from Vanilla Sky more than two months in advance. If we're unable to fly we can hire a driver to drive us.
Really fucking good.
Georgia Travel Tips