Hello world, sorry its been so long….I will definitely try harder to write a bit more from now on:)
Ok, so a quickish update…..school is going great and we are really making progress now. I love my kids and my teachers and they really seem to be enjoying the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film project. I have also moved house, and hope to be here until June, when all being well, I will move into my own apartment and have my cats (Uisce and Izzy) and my Italian Greyhound (Isla) flown over from Latvia, where they are currently enjoying the freedom of 100hectares by the Baltic Sea!! Not sure how happy they will be to relocate to the city of Tbilisi, in the Republic of Georgia, but I am sure to spoil them with some long awaited cuddles.
In the meantime, its work as usual at school and with the Ministry (http://www.tlg.gov.ge/), and I have just this week taken on a new role in tourism as Special Developments Officer with Intourist Georgia (http://www.intourist.ge/). Lots of exciting things underway, and a great chance for me to practice my Georgian language and see how my lessons with Nana have helped. Also a great opportunity for me to learn more about Georgian history and culture and to see more of this beautiful country…and to spend some well earned relaxation time on my photography.
Everyday, I will try and update you on progress, new tours, life in Georgia, school, and other news. Keep checking my flickr page for new photos (arrancat, flickr) and check out the facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wine-Tasting-Tours-Georgia/193879663981089).
My first tour is the perfect tour for me. Having spent several years employed as Wine Advisor with Oddbins Wine Merchants (http://www.oddbins.com/) and Nicolas (http://www.nicolas.co.uk/), and having studied with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET: http://www.wsetglobal.com/). Those who know me, are more than aware that I love all things wine related, and am a bit of a wine snob. From birth, I lived on a vineyard as my family were wine makers in Berkshire, England, and we always had home made wines and various concoctions around the house, bubbling away!! Add to that, Georgia is the oldest wine producing country in the world, and has several award winning wine producers in stunning locations and it seems that I have my perfect job:) On the one hand, I don’t want to share this secret country with anyone, I want to keep it all to myself. On the other hand, its so beautiful, that it seems crazy to me that there are not more people here already, and if I can share that with others, then that is pretty cool. It has great skiing in the winter, and for a better price than other countries, and in summer it offers horse riding, white water rafting, and mountains. There really is something for everyone!
So, my first jobs will be to overhaul the website, set up some new tours, and to train myself as a tour guide of the future. On July 3rd,the British musician Sting will be coming to the seaside resort of Batumi, on the Black sea, close to the border of Turkey, so I hope to organise something special for that (watch this space!). I can’t wait to see him in concert with Georgia’s National Symphony Orchestra, and Batumi is a really cool place to visit. In fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it takes over from St Tropez over the next ten years!! There are also the neighbouring countries of Armenia and Azerbijan, which I hope to explore and to provide tours in. I’m open to offers too. If you have an idea for a tour, want a travel partner, couch to kip on, or whatever, then just shout me. If you want to know more about where to stay, its likely that I have probably stayed in most places on offer already, and have been to most of the historical and interesting places. And if I haven’t been, I will likely know someone who has, and will be really excited to go and investigate.
At the same time, I want you to support two inspirational young women, both from the UK, on journeys of there own. Ros Savage (http://www.rozsavage.com/) sets off tomorrow to row from Freemantle (Australia) to Mumbai in India, on her solo row across the Indian Ocean. And Sarah Outen (http://www.sarahouten.com/) who last week set off from Tower Bridge, London, in a kayak for her 2.5year journey around the world. Sarah is today in Calais, awaiting new tent poles!
News from Tbilisi: well, after the beautiful spring temperatures of last week (26degrees), it was a bit of a shock to wake up this morning in Sabartelo, Tbilisi to find temperatures of around +7degrees c, snow on the mountain tops, and a little rain throughout the day. Translated, this means, a lot of rain by Georgian standards and lots of exclamations of tsiva, tsiva (cold, cold), but by English standards, barely even a rain shower, and I was more than comfortable in my gilet, because it wasn’t so cold. Although the heating in my school has definitely been turned off for spring and summer now, so it wasn’t so warm at school, and was probably colder than outside the building! But, the children at school are no longer swaddled in hats, scarves, or big coats, and its stil strange to be able to see their faces and haircuts now!
Ok, so that is it for today’s update. I will next add, my first tour for your info, and if your interested then drop me a line. And if you can’t come to Georgia, then please, please, please visit Vinopolis in London (http://www.vinopolis.co.uk/) throughout the year to try some Georgian wine. Or even better, visit Excel in London 17th-19th May for the International Wine Fair, where several top Georgian wine presenters will be presenting their range of wines, for degustation (tasting!). This is a trade only fair: http://2011.londonwinefair.com/content
Enjoy your day, and catch up soon:)