6 Hands-On Fun, Fascinating and Educational Travel Experiences
Are you one of those people who prefers to learn by doing, rather than by watching? You like to jump right in and get your hands into the paint, or the flour, or the dirt, to put on a hardhat and go where the action is. You can take the heat in the kitchen – in fact, you go looking for it.
As it turns out, quite a few of MIR’s intrepid travelers are this type of bold and action-oriented person. And we like to keep you happy learning to do things you may have never done before.
Here’s a roundup of six fascinating and perhaps challenging hands-on experiences you can have on our small group tours:
- Wine-tasting and a cooking class with a winemaker in Kartli, Georgia
- Paint your eggs with an artist in Kiev, Ukraine
- From market to meal with a chef in Moscow, Russia
- Train like a cosmonaut at Star City, Russia
- Stuff a pierogi with a chef in Warsaw, Poland
- Mush a team of Siberian Huskies on Lake Baikal, Siberia
1. Wine-tasting and a cooking class with a winemaker in Kartli, Georgia
Pay a visit to a winery where a female winemaker maintains her own label in Georgia’s Kartli Region. Taste some of the wines from her cellar and enjoy a cooking class and a home-cooked meal – your host and her husband are gourmet cooks as well.
You’ll help them prepare a menu drawn from the local gardens, fields and rivers, and then sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Quail, homemade cheeses and walnut pâté are some of their favorite dishes.
- Enjoy this learning experience on our small group tour, A Taste of Georgia: Wine, Cuisine & Culture.
2. Paint your eggs with an artist in Kiev, Ukraine
When you are in Ukraine, take the opportunity to learn traditional egg-painting with an expert. Literally translated as egg-writing, this folk craft has been elevated to an art in Ukraine. Each pattern has a different meaning, some of them dating back to pagan times.
An artist leads you step-by-step through drawing the pattern, coating the egg in hot wax and dipping it in colored dyes. Each participant comes away with his/her own decorated egg.
- Enjoy this learning experience on our small group tour, Belarus, Ukraine & Moldova.
3. From market to meal with a chef in Moscow, Russia
With a chef from Moscow’s Taste of Russia cooking school, browse the sprawling indoor Dorogomilovsky Market, where vendors from near and far sell newly picked vegetables and fruit, fresh fish, caviar, meats, cheeses and baked goods.
Bring your purchases to a master cooking class, where expert chef-instructors lead a hands-on lesson in preparing classic Russian dishes. With your fresh, flavorful ingredients, learn to prepare a meal in Taste of Russia’s kitchens – and then feast on your creations.
- Enjoy this learning experience on our small group tour, A Chronicle of Russian Cuisine & Culture.
4. Train like a cosmonaut at Star City, Russia
Take the ride of your life on a Zero-G simulation flight. Float, soar, cartwheel and hang weightless in the padded cabin of an Ilyushin-76 military transport aircraft as crew members stand by to assist. Or, don a Russian-engineered Orlan space suit created especially for spacewalks. Learn to open and close hatches and complete a series of operations designed to simulate typical space tasks.
- These and other cosmonaut training exercises are available as optional extras on MIR’s Inside the Russian Space Program small group tour.
5. Stuff a pierogi with a chef in Warsaw, Poland
Learn how to make traditional Polish-style pierogi, Poland’s national dish, with your own private chef. Practice mixing and rolling the thin dough, then stuffing it with savory ingredients.
Pierogi can be stuffed with mashed potatoes and onions, ground meat, cheese or even fruit, but you will be making special Christmas Eve pierogi, and the Christmas Eve meal is usually meatless. These traditional holiday pierogi are stuffed with a rich mixture of cabbage and wild mushrooms. Smacznego! That’s “Bon apetit!” in Polish.
- Enjoy this learning experience on our small group tour, Christmas Traditions of Poland.
6. Mush a team of Siberian Huskies on Lake Baikal, Siberia
After riding a snow machine on a frozen Lake Baikal, trade it in for a dogsled. First, meet the drivers and their dogs and learn how to run a dog team, and how to say “Mush” in Russian. (By the way, did you know that Siberian Huskies were originally bred by the Chukchis of the Siberian Arctic, and were imported into Alaska during the 1898 Nome Gold Rush?)
Unless you live in the frozen north, though, you may never get a chance to show off your mushing skills, so take a selfie with your team to prove you can do it. But don’t let go of the sled!
- Enjoy this learning experience on our small group tour, Siberian Winter Escapade.
Learn from the Experts – Travel with MIR
MIR is celebrating 30 years of connecting travelers with experts and fascinating learning opportunities at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. MIR’s full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”
30 years of travel expertise means that the specialists at MIR know how to get there, what to do while you’re there, and how to enhance your trip in each of our destinations.
Wondering which destination or itinerary is right for you? In addition to browsing the pages of our free catalog, you can narrow down your choices online using our Trip Finder and the Destination Map.
Top photo: Hands-on learning in Georgia: making khachapuri, Georgian cheesy bread. This one will be stuffed with bean paste. Photo credit: Mariana Noble
PUBLISHED: March 29, 2016