Georgia – Ronni N.
I can't believe the trip to the Republic of Georgia with Damesly is over! It was fantastic from beginning to end. Signing up for a "tour" was a big leap for me - I usually travel solo or am the one doing all the planning! But this tour is not really a tour at all - it is a trip with friends. It never felt like a guided tour. It's an experience of sights, of history, of food and drink and of people. I was initially hooked by the focus on wine and women winemakers and the trip delivered. But it was so much more - the beautiful scenery and rich history make this a very special trip. What I also loved about it was the well-crafted and thoughtful itinerary (thank you Kelly Lewis!) that never felt like a tour. It was Kelly and our fabulous Georgian guide sharing Georgia with us. It was big moments like the majestic Caucasus Mountains and intimate moments of lunch at family wineries. It was viewing historical monasteries and discussing tomorrow's history in the making. It was crazy moments like sheep traffic jams and free range cows in the road to quiet moments watching rain fall in the vineyards. Coupled with quietly exceptional service and an outstanding private driver/guide, the trip experiences were better than I imagined (and I was expecting great!) I loved the planned itinerary and the spontaneous moments - finding the wine festival on arrival day, stopping for a a raisin bread sold by every family in one town, playing with winery dogs, seeing the pigs hanging in the mud road side - it all makes me smile. Damesly's approach to their trips is personal. You can tell it is planned from the heart - the enthusiasm from Kelly and our guide was evident. Our group developed a personality and they blended that into the trip. It was fun, relaxing and truly special. As someone who has visited every major wine region in the US , the winery visits were a highlight. I've had Georgian wines at home, but nothing like what we got to taste on this trip. With small productions, most of the wine will never make it to the US. In Georgia, winery visits included fabulous lunches in the homes and on the patios of the winemakers. Each one was warm, welcoming and a unique visit. Georgia is the birthplace of wine with a tradition stretching back 8000 years. It is very different from the European tradition, making it a unique location for the wine lover. It was rewarding to see so many keeping the tradition alive. And our guide was a winemaker as well! It was privilege to share his wine. He had such understanding and joy in Georgia's history and traditions and his network of colleagues and friends made for a warm and welcoming visits at all the wineries. Having seen Kelly in action at Women's Travel Fest and from meeting her briefly, I knew the trip would be good. But her personality and knack for bringing us together made the trip so much more than I expected. (Tearing up a bit here!) We laughed, got to know each other and created friendships that seem older than 2 weeks. I cannot say enough about how well organized things were, about the great communication and the seamless logistics, even when it was necessary to pivot. I was never concerned about how the day would turn out. The sights and experiences we shared are the result of exceptional planning - so Kudos to Kelly and Damesly. And thanks for letting me just go with the flow and be the most relaxed I've been in ages. If you’ are looking for something different, for a group trip that doesn't feel like a tour, that weaves together unique experiences, time to relax and unexpected adventure, I highly recommend Damesly. This "I am not a tour gal" is already looking at which one I want to do next! Thank you Damesly. Looking forward to the next one! Ronni