Finally, I woke up on time today. Before going out for breakfast and 12 o’clock check-out, I was even able to enjoy some coffee with a cigarette with a wonderful view through the balcony. I’m not the most introverted person, but having some time alone here and there means a lot to me. Especially on this journey, where all my colleagues were just some strangers connecting to me by a common mountaineering hobby.
Khachapuri for Georgian breakfast
During the lunch, it was a good opportunity to finally try out khachapuri with an egg inside of it. You can see this dish everywhere across Georgia, but usually, it looked a bit insubstantial as I always was super-hungry. But, boy, I was wrong, khachapuri is a bit too much for a breakfast, though really tasty. Have in mind that the eggs yolk is not well-made, so I wouldn’t eat that in a random place, though it is a risk anywhere, I wasn’t afraid too much in this touristy place.
After breakfast, we ran to our hotel because we were late to leave before 12 o’clock. After our fun adventures in crowded buses, we were afraid to take one today, especially with two bags each, but after some consideration, it was decided to save money, and we were right this time. A bus from Gonio Town to Batumi was only 0.8 GEL and apparently, today’s buses were semi empty so we had no problem with fitting in our heavy backpacks. The driver kindly welcomed us and even let to put my backpack in front next to him.
As we rolled through a coast I’ve noticed that the bus is probably bought from China.
The Georgian Dream
Batumi has a somewhat dreamy aura, after witnessing all the poverty in Georgia it is hard to believe that a city like this is in this country. Of course, most of this is foreign investment, because Batumi gathers a lot of tourists from neighboring Russian and Turkey, but the city is also marketed as a second chance to any poor local. It is like the American Dream in Georgia.
There are plenty of signs of new apartments’ sales just next to a lottery advertisement. Batumi is like a little Las Vegas when you look better, casinos are all around you. Beware, Batumi city leaves you an impression of a land of opportunity, but behind that, there are only false hopes of a very hard-working Georgian people.
Black Sea Seafront Promenade
The driver told us when to get out because his bus route was not going through the center. We thanked and grabbed our backpacks as we went straight to the road parallel to the beach. It had fewer people than I expected, but it was still lively.
Plenty of souvenir shops, though, all of them are identical and all of the stuff seemed to be from China. If you want something more authentic you probably should buy somewhere on the road in the mainland of Georgia. Whenever I went on the coastline of Georgia, the hospitality of Georgian people was changed by open deception.
Nevertheless, most of the people around are not like locals, the city is simply too expensive for them. The prices are close to the European ones.
Sheraton Batumi Hotel
While walking around, we were greeted by a Polish couple, to my surprise they were talking perfect English. We were hard to miss because each of us was carrying two bags and my colleague had a Lithuanian flag on one of them. We definitely didn't look like locals.
Beautiful park of Batumi Boulevard
Batumi Tower with Alphabet Tower in the background
Finally, after walking throughout the Seafront promenade, we started looking for someplace to sit down and take a rest and some beer. This city is so surprising and full of stuff, representing wealth which is so rare in the country, that I cannot even start to explain what I saw there. On any corner, you can expect to see unexpected.
Batumi Summer Theater
Girl sleeping in Cathedral's garden
Medea Statue in Europe Square
Suitcase in Piazza Square
After some searching, we sat down somewhere closer to the center of the city in a lively Batumi piazza. It was full of cafes with a nice chill music background. Bartenders seem like having no problem in talking with you in English, but prices are quite high for Georgia. If you forget that the richness of the architecture is relatively new for a minute you might feel like you are sitting in a cafe in any European capital.
Wherever I went for a beer during this trip, every sip was well deserved, I didn’t notice how time ran by. A clock of a nearby tower rang 3 o’clock, meaning time to get up and move further. The place even accepts card, praise the progress.
Chacha Tower with Ferris Wheel in the background
We didn’t have a lot of time left so we ran to the lighthouse of Batumi and the docks.
It was a good run away from all the modern city architecture and broken dreams which start to weight on you after a while.
Batumi docks with mountain view
Finally, I could enjoy a natural view of mountains far away in the background of Batumi docks.
Ali and Nino – the statue of love
Personally, I have such a little interest in the cities that at that time when I visited Batumi, I knew nothing about Ali and Nino – the statue of love. I learned about it only while editing this post almost a year later. I even was really close to it, because I found some pictures with the statue in the background.
Batumi Ferris Wheel with Ali and Nino statue in the background
Don’t do the same mistake, if you are visiting Batumi, visit this wonderful statue.
From Batumi to Tbilisi
Batumi sightseeing was actually quite tough since we had to carry our backpacks all along of which one was weighing close to 20kg. I was kind of happy when it was finally the time to go to Tbilisi. One – some rest, and second I was waiting to be finally alone. Only love and respect for my companions, but our interests are quite different and after 10 days of being together non-stop, I wanted to do what I want in a pace I want for a change.
We had to wait for our bus quite a while, but our struggle didn't end there. There was a traffic jam, good thing we left enough of time to make it all and even some spare time in the train station for shopping or chilling(depending on gender).
The central station of Batumi
The view from Central Batumi railway provided a beautiful city panorama, though the road to the station showed the dark side of Batumi. While the center of the city is shining, the outskirts are as poor as anywhere else.
The central station of Batumi is pretty straightforward, it was not hard to get around. For amenities, like in most of the places, the entrance to bathroom costs 0.5 GEL.
Traveling by train in Georgia experience
Once the time had come, it was quite hard to find our wagon. There was a total of 8 wagons numbered twice from 1 to 4 and our was number 8. We tried both ends, but in the end, our wagon was second or seventh depending on perspective. Of course, my backpack was too big to put it on the carriage shelf so I had to leave it near the door, which scared me away from falling asleep for the whole 5 hours of the trip.
The train was late because we had to let through some freight trains. This was a bit annoying as the trip is long already and we had little to no time to dinner before my friend had to leave to the airport. Luckily, I found a good hotel with 24/7 reception so the time didn’t press me too much. Though the main thing I was nervous was that it is a Friday. I’m wrestling with an idea to go out and see the nightlife of Tbilisi.
Back to Tbilisi
In the end, we were late around an hour, but we used the metro instead of a bus to save some time. Everything we saved was wasted in the restaurant where we went to eat the last supper before saying our goodbyes.
It was 1 AM already when we finally ate and went for the BUS. The fauna around seemed to be drunk or shady, my interest at going outside to feel the nightlife was fading already. It was late (for them, not for me) and I hardly saw any women in bars so it seemed not fun at all. The bus was late as well and we even began to get scared a bit, a good thing that taxis were plenty, but expensive., 40 GEL compared to 0.5 GEL by a bus. It came 10 minutes late, but it came, we said our goodbyes and I got the last one still staying in Georgia.
Alone in Georgia
While heading to my hotel, which was really nearby, because I wanted to be close to my transportation to Kutaisi Airport the next night, my will for the nightlife faded completely. I decided simply to go to some bars tomorrow evening as most of them closing in an hour anyway and sitting in a bar full of manly locals doesn’t seem like fun to me.
My hotel, though in the center, was rather in a dark street and I didn’t notice it at the start. The door was closed as well, but after some time I found a ring bell and the guard let me in. Finally, I got my room and the adventure of my life(so far) turned to its final stage. I have a lot in mind of what I want to see tomorrow – the last day of my visit in Georgia. But for the culmination, I’ve decided that I want to take some pictures of the statue of Mother Georgia.
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