Georgia & Armenia Trip, July 2019

For my 59th birthday, my wife Linna worked with local Georgian guide Davit Berishvili to provide a well-balanced 10 day journey that included hiking, site-seeing, food/wine tasting and culture gathering. We invited our good friend Michael Curry to join us on this truly once in a life-time vacation packed excursion.

This will be our first vacation/journey that we hired a professional guide for the duration of a trip and looking back at it now, I am so pleased that Linna organized it that way.  There would have been a language barrier at many of the locations and restaurants we visited. Also, there is a unique way of driving in Georgia, similar to China….there are no set of road lines or rules.  People will pass with on-coming traffic and at the same time deal with local cattle wandering on the road. But, we were so fortunate to have the best tour guide in Georgia…Gaga Chechelashvili.  Not only was he a safe aggressive driver, but also a fun tour guide and a true gentleman. Gaga picked us up at the Tbilisi airport in his 4×4 right hand drive Mitsubishi Pajero. Not sure, but maybe 1 in 10 cars were right hand drive purchased from Japan because of their excellent condition and reliability.

Beautiful village of Mestia, Georgia. The Svan tower homes were family living quarters and offered protection to their owners and to their livestock. Usually 4 to 5 floors with the first floor lacking of doors or windows.
Rick Freeman & Mike Curry hiking from Mestia to a tiny village of Tsvirmi.
Having beers with Gaga Chechelashvili and Mike Curry at the farm house in Tsvirmi.
Village
We toured Baia’s Winery. Once the grapes are harvested, everything (seeds, stems, skins & juice) is tossed into a Qvevri which a very large clay pot buried in the ground. This method of wine making in Georgia has been recorded by archaeologists back to 6000 BC.
Clay pots are buried at Baia’s Winery.
I purchased a bottle of Tsitska Tsolikouri at Baia’s Winery…this is a dry white wine. I am with the wine maker Gvanca Abuladze.
Mike Curry, Rick Freeman and Linna Freeman in front of Shkhara Glacier. We hiked from the village of Ushguli.
The Bridge of Peach that is 490 feet long that connects the old Tbilisi with the new district.
Villige
Many of the farm/guest houses that we stayed in had wood fired stoves for cooking and keeping warm.

Austria & Slovakia, April 2019

Linna and I started in Munich and drove down to Austria and then over to Slovakia.

The Beautiful Village of Hallstatt on Lake Hallstatt, Austria.

I Just Happened To Get Pulled Over For Speeding In Slovakia By An Unmarked Police Car.
The famous Blue Church, officially known as the Church of St Elizabeth of Hungary. Built in the early twentieth century.

Japan Trip, March 2019

I think March is a wonderful month to visit Japan….perfect temperature for a big boy like myself. I flew to Narita and then onto Osaka where my good friend Moto Tanaka was waiting for me.

My good friend Moto Tanaka found a great Japanese restaurant in Osaka, Japan.
Delicious Kobe beef, it melted like butter in your mouth.
It only takes a minute of cooking over 100% natural charcoal.
My good friends Tetsuya Tokumaru and Miya Moto in Osaka, Japan. I have known Tetsuya for over ten years now.
“Somehow” I lost my Canali suit jacket at the Narita airport after I walked off the plane. But Moto Tanaka and Hilton worked together and located it. I was able to pick it up on my way out from Narita Airport in Japan. This is not the first time I have left a suit jacket at the Narita airport.
My good friend Tom has his own whiskey bottle at his favorite restaurant.