6 Hands-On Fun, Fascinating and Educational Travel Experiences

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:

  1. Wine-tasting and a cooking class with a winemaker in Kartli, Georgia
  2. Paint your eggs with an artist in Kiev, Ukraine
  3. From market to meal with a chef in Moscow, Russia
  4. Train like a cosmonaut at Star City, Russia
  5. Stuff a pierogi with a chef in Warsaw, Poland
  6. Mush a team of Siberian Huskies on Lake Baikal, Siberia

Hands-on learning in Georgia - a cooking class. Photo: Mariana Noble

Hands-on learning in Georgia: making khinkali, savory stuffed dumplings
Photo credit: Mariana Noble

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.

 

Egg painting demonstration

An egg painting demonstration in Kiev, Ukraine
Photo credit: Joanna Millick

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.

Painted eggs in Ukraine. Photo credit: Jillian Schneeman

A nest of painted eggs in Ukraine
Photo credit: Jillian Schneeman

 

Learn the art of Russian cuisine in a cooking class with a chef. Photo credit: Alfiya Izmailova

Learn the art of Russian cuisine in a cooking class with a chef
Photo credit: Alfiya Izmailova

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.

 

Cosmonaut training session in an  Orlan Space Suit. Photo credit: Christopher Prentiss Michel

Cosmonaut training session in an Orlan Space Suit
Photo credit: Christopher Prentiss Michel

4. Train like a cosmonaut at Star City, Russia

Take part in the ultimate learning experience – train like a cosmonaut at Star City, Russia’s premier training facility for Russian cosmonauts and foreign astronauts.

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.

 

Learning how to cook pierogis. Photo credit: David W Allen

Learning how to cook pierogi in Poland
Photo credit: David W Allen

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.

 

Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

Mush over frozen Lake Baikal on a dogsled pulled by Siberian Huskies
Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

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!

Dog sledding at Lake Baikal, Siberia. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashkin

Dog sledding at Lake Baikal, Siberia
Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashkin

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

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