Booking a Russian MI-171 Helicopter
Trip Start Aug 17, 2013
10Trip End Dec 10, 2013
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Sighnaghi to Tiblisi
Back at Hostelland Germany!
...We took the 11 am marshrutka to Tiblisi (6 lari pp). Maja's husband gave us a lift to the bus station. We arrived none too early. The marshrutka was filling up fast.
In front of me sat a friendly Greek/ Egyptian/ American guy, Jeff, who was born in Egypt, lived in Greece, and moved to USA where he was a dentist in Florida. He sold his dentistry practice and now makes a living with photography. He has been traveling for three years and just purchased a house in small village near Sighnaghi for $10000. He imagines he will spend about 4 times that in remodeling and bringing it up to western standards. He knows several Americans who packed up at home and moved to Georgia. We were let off near the Isani Metro station and Jeff pointed out a large supermarket where we picked up a few things for lunch.
Our room was waiting for us and it felt like "home" to us. We handed in our dirty laundry, had some lunch, and Dave took a taxi to pick up my camera at the getit.ge freight forwarder. It had arrived from the US and cleared customs about one week after ordering, all done on-line. Amazing. We were happy that Customs had not opened our package (Duty Free if under 300 lari) and the 'used' camera, same model as my old one, was an ‘open-box’ display item in mint condition.
September 21-26, 2013 - Tbilisi
Our next stop is Mestia, near a glacier in the Caucuses. It is an 11 hour marshrutka ride from Tbilisi so we checked into taking the overnight train part way or flying. We got an email back from the airline stating they have discontinued the flight so we asked Nino to tell us where we could buy a train ticket. She said, "Oh, I had an Israeli guy here who just returned from Mestia on the Helicopter.“ Nino did not know the details but did have the email address of the Israeli. The next morning, she had all the lowdown for us
The Russian made helicopter holds 19 people and travels back and forth on Mondays and Fridays, weather permitting. To book the commercial Tbilisi/Mestia helicopter, we took the metro to Rustaveli station, then, with the exit to our backs, we crossed the busy street to the left and walked 300-400 meters along the busy street to find the office of Nest Travel. It is at Kostava II. Several of the young women there spoke English well and one was also the staff at the airport check-in counter. Phone 595 188 188. Luggage allotment, 20kg. We booked a hotel for the first night through them as well.
We were stoked and had tickets in our hands for the 50 lari ($30) flight on a helicopter!
If in Mestia, and going back to Tbilisi, you get information or reserve at the airport. Shorena speaks English +995 591-512 533