A 13-day train journey through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia supporting Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens
Our adventure begins in Istanbul, heart of the old Silk Road, to become acquainted with this vibrant melting-pot of East meets West culture and history before a flight to Baku on the sunny plains of the Caspian Sea from where we embark on our journey by private chartered train through the Azerbaijani steppes and the snow-capped southern Caucasus mountains in Georgia, to subtropical Batumi on the Black Sea, following a Byzantine trading route from the old Silk Road. To complete this special trip, our trans-Caucasus train journey is complemented by a visit to Armenia, the oldest Christian country in the world, shaped by distinct cultures and great powers throughout history.
Along with Ottoman mosques and bazaars, Byzantine monasteries, Crusader fortresses, and Silk Road caravanserais, we will visit the Tsbilisi and Batumi Botanical Gardens to get to know the plants of this biodiversity hotspot.
The trans-Caucasus experience is enhanced by excellent regional food: Khachapuri and Khinkali dumplings, sturgeon with pomegranate, local chicken with green walnuts, and of course – Georgian wine!
We hope you can join us to travel the world while supporting Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens.
About Your Trip Leader: Relle Mott
Relle Mott has led small groups for the Friends through Uzbekistan, Western China, and Japan, sharing her love of plants, new cultures and destinations with like-minded travellers since 2013. Horticulturist Relle has been associated with the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney for many years: as a member of the Education & Community Programs team, a volunteer guide, and a supporter through Foundation & Friends. Her background is in education: as an environmental education specialist at RBGS, a teacher at Ryde TAFE Horticulture College, and a secondary Japanese language teacher. She has had a 40 year connection with Japan, and regularly leads her own walking tours on historic pilgrimage trails in that country. Travelling with Relle is fun – well-planned itineraries to amazing destinations create unforgettable experiences. When at home she is a keen gardener, sailor and potter, with an ongoing fascination with the plant hunters of Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries.
• Journey on exclusively chartered special train
• A unique and spectacular route from Baku on the Caspian Sea, through the Caucasus mountains, to Batumi on the Black Sea
• First-class service from English-speaking tour manager and local guides throughout journey, and your tour escort Relle Mott
• 1 night in a hotel in the Caucasus mountains with view of 5,000 metre Mount Kazbek
• Vardzia, a gigantic cave city that once housed up to 50,000 people
• Historic city of Goygol, a former German settlement in Azerbaijan
• Tbilisi and Baku, two colourful and complementary metropolises
• Insight into local life with visits to a Georgian religious service, vineyard, bazaar and artisanal handicraft centre
• UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Vagharshapat and Zvartnots
• Visit the Botanical Gardens of Tbilisi and Batumi
• See the Bosphorus, the Caspian and the Black seas of Eastern Europe
for the full tour itinerary and booking form.