For already many years Tineke, sometimes assisted by Maurits, organizes popular dance and culture tours mainly to Armenia, but in recent years these tours were connected with visits to neighboring countries. In 2018 the number of tours stood at more than 40 tours for an international range of participants.
In 2019 there will be a number of interesting trips and it will be possible to combine tours because they connect in date.
In present time, with its turbulent political developments, it is also important to know that these are all safe countries to travel to.
Far away in the Caucasus you can find Armenia, a country with an ancient history and culture, yet unknown to many travelers. Lovers of untouched nature, rugged mountains, remote villages and old Christian monasteries can indulge themselves here.
Armenia can be considered as Tineke’s second motherland where she has studied Armenian dance since 1985. She knows all the ins and outs of this country and it is always wonderful to see that her warm feelings for this country are shared by many tour participants.
In Armenia you can find a big contrast between the Mediterranean and buzzling atmosphere in Yerevan and the countryside which feels more primitive and ‘unpolished’. Ancient monasteries are surrounded by impressive nature. An old karavanserai is the silent witness of Armenia’s old trade routes along the Silk Road. Our tour will focuss on Yerevan, where we will also have some dance classes and we will have a 5-day trip in the May tour and a 4-day trip in the September tour to the east of the country.
Not many Westerners travelled to Georgia, but in the past years the government has been very active in promoting tourism . That seems to be paying off, because Georgia quickly gaines popularity as a touristic destination. In fact the country sells itself because it has so much to offer! The mountainous landscape is very varied and often untouched. Different kinds of religions live together, including Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
During our tour in Georgia we will visit some of the most beautiful places in the country. Tbilisi has an old center with picturesque streets, courtyards and squares: a large open-air museum. Not only in this city you will find a lot of culture during your Georgia trip. The cave monastery David Gareja is one of the examples of a very impressive place to visit during our trip through Georgia. The monastery is known for its beautiful frescoes and its special location with a view over the Gareja desert.
Iran is a very interesting destination. As visitors from western countries we usually have very limited knowledge about daily life in Iran. Therefore it was a real revelation to visit the country in 2017 or maybe we should say 'a pleasant surprise'. Right after our tour to Iran with a group of Taiwanese folk dancers we felt this would not be the last time to visit Iran. The population is extremely welcoming and open to foreigners and ‘Welcome to Iran’ is expressed by many Iranians. The beauty of ancient monuments such as Persepolis and Isfahan is overwhelming and the country has many interesting sites to visit. Bright colors of tile mosaics, mirror walls and green gardens in luxurious mansions of ancient merchants, old mud villages or the rugged landscape. This is all part of Iran. Dancing in public is officially not allowed in Iran, but in 2017 we did manage to meet with two nomadic ethnic groups- Lore and Bakhtiari - and to dance together near their tents in the mountains. We will certainly try to repeat these exceptional get-togethers.
A bonus for all three countries is that the food in these countries is fresh and of excellent quality. All nations appreciate to have a large selection of dishes at each meal and vegetarians will feel very happy because there is always an elaborate choice in salads, vegetables and herbs.