Travel Diaries: Typical Day Experience in Sakartvelo

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Connecting the Dots @ctdotsApril 2019 · 8 min read

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Our host in Kutaisi, actually, was a really well educated and intelligent person. He totally doesn’t look for a word in his pocket and quickly admits that he doesn’t know something if he actually doesn’t know. The most interesting part that he always asked “why it should be?” if we asked something stupid.

He is always watching his phone when you are talking to him. This indicates one of two options, either his brain power allows him to multi-task, which is not that easy for men as women, or he has the killer gene, also, could be called psychopath gene. People with this gene tend to show very little to none interest when you are talking to them, but when they start to speak, you can’t help yourself, but to listen as they are very persuasive people.

lincoln car in Kutaisi Sakartvelo
lincoln car in Kutaisi Sakartvelo

I doubt our host was a psychopath, but I couldn’t help, but to be a little afraid of doing something that he wouldn’t like. His big house, Lincoln out from the US, intelligence and the Kartvelian hospitality, made me feel like I was in a mafia movie.

Good to know now that my fears were empty, the host was really nice, served us with a dinner, breakfast plus some wine, he even drove us around the city and got us to our station.

The separation

Sadly, today we had to say goodbye to two of our crew members. I won't get sentimental, journeys like these really gets people close together. But one way or another, they already heading back safe to their families.

Two of us finally got to a minibus which goes to Batumi city. From where we’ll try to get to a more remote town, located south of Batumi. It should have clearer waters and better views.

Local store in Kutaisi, Sakartvelo
Local store in Kutaisi, Sakartvelo


Besides the fact that we waited an hour instead of 30 minutes like we were told, the journey went smoothly.

batumi city taxies sakartvelo
batumi city taxies sakartvelo

A chanage of scenery

When we arrived at the seaside, the streets painted themselves into different colors. Tourism and money flow seems to be on a different level here. Everything is way cleaner and cars looking more expensive. The whole coastline is covered by houses while one town changed another. The reason for knowing when we entered Batumi city was simply a sign. Not much have have changed except the scenery the Black Sea scenery was enriched with a nice panorama of Batumi’s skyscrapers.

Entering Batumi CIty in Sakartvelo
Entering Batumi CIty in Sakartvelo

Tourism fever

Just when we got out of our minibus we got surrounded by taxi drivers shouting random town names and pushing each other. This nuisance, after some time is really getting under my skin, not to mention that we were still booking a hotel. Unable to get rid off them, we decided to take a cab for the lowest price we could get. Traveling with backpacks are not very easy in minibuses, especially smaller ones.

Our driver apparently was a mathematics professor in a University nearby. While we were driving through the old and new town of Batumi, he acted like a guide, telling about the places surrounding us. Sadly, like everywhere else like people of his age, he spoke only Russian.

Batumi CIty Skyscrappers in Sakartvelo
Batumi CIty Skyscrappers in Sakartvelo

Batumi city

In a short time passing the city it was hard for me to believe that we are still in Sakartvelo. I heard that in Batumi there is a lot of fake decorated buildings, but everything else seemed to be neat as well. That was very unusual based on my experience in this country. The first thing that the driver said about the city is that in Batumi there is a lot of construction of new buildings and damn he was right.

Batumi seem to attract a lot of foreign investment, including Turkey and Russia. A lot was built during the Sakashvili presidency. He probably wanted to make this city very attractive to tourists. As far as I understood he succeeded. Our driver told us that at once there could be around 2 million tourists lurking around with only 152 thousand locals in 2014. Most of the hotels are tall buildings, some of them could be easily called skyscrapers. This rich aura of the city is hardly comparable to Kutaisi just ~100 km away.

Batumi CIty Buldings, Sakartvelo
Batumi CIty Buldings, Sakartvelo

Batumi CIty park, Sakartvelo
Batumi CIty park, Sakartvelo

Gonio town

The best hotel deal we could get was not in Kvariati, the place we planned to go, but in Gonio resort, somewhere in-between Batumi and Kvariati, just 2km away from the latter.

Gonio Town near Black Sea, Sakartvelo
Gonio Town near Black Sea, Sakartvelo

The town reminds of a mini version of Batumi, some high hotels providing a wonderful view as the town is surrounded by the Black Sea and Lesser Caucasus mountains. The beach is pebbly and the sea gets deep pretty fast like anywhere with mountainous landscape nearby.

A panorama of Gonio Town near Black Sea, Sakartvelo
A panorama of Gonio Town near Black Sea, Sakartvelo

There are plenty sunbeds around, calling out you to spend a whole day on the seaside, and some bars/restaurants.

Pebly beach of Black Sea in Sakartvelo
Pebly beach of Black Sea in Sakartvelo

After lunch we decided to go relax on a beach and try to reach Kvariati on foot in the evening. It is very hot here, I can hardly stop sweating. Thank God our hotel room is probably the best we got so far and has air-conditioning as well.

Kvariati sign near Black Sea, Sakartvelo
Kvariati sign near Black Sea, Sakartvelo

Kvariati town, Sakartvelo
Kvariati town, Sakartvelo

Kvariati town

After a break we set out to reach nearby Kvariati, somehow we didn’t realize, but we were eating our lunch just next to a sign Kvariati. Apparently, Gonio and Kvariati towns have no space between them just like many other towns on the coastline. The difference between the two towns is small, just Kvariati is slightly deeper in mountains, has more hotels on it and the beach provides slightly better panorama.

Beach near Black Sea, Sakartvelo
Beach near Black Sea, Sakartvelo

Overall, the scenery of a mountainous coast somehow is hardly associated with Sakartvelo in my head, no matter what I see around I have to remind myself that I’m still in the same country. I read that Batumi region is one of the two richest in Sakartvelo and I can easily see results of it around. Of course, maybe there is way fewer locals around and more tourists which gives a fake sense, but nevertheless, those tourists bring money to this country for Its peoples’ hard work.

Restaurant in Kvariati, Sakartvelo
Restaurant in Kvariati, Sakartvelo

Ship decoration in restaurant by Black Sea, Sakartvelo
Ship decoration in restaurant by Black Sea, Sakartvelo

At the beach near the point, where the mountains reach the Black Sea, we found a really cozy restaurant. After eating a lot of local food back in the mainland it is somewhat a pleasure to eat more adapted meals for tourists here on the coast.

Beach near Black Sea at night, Sakartvelo
Beach near Black Sea at night, Sakartvelo

One thing I can hardly believe, that even I got proved that drinking wine is probably a better idea than drinking beer here in Sakartvelo. We got a liter of a fine red wine which we enjoyed while the Sun got set into the Black Sea.
When we finally finished the wine, it was already dark. We walked back to our hotel by the sea where we saw a lot of different cafes and bars. From some clubs to live music bars, from restaurants to purely alcohol places. Every place seemed to be lively. Probably, those few high hotels provide a lot of beds for the tourists.

Fireworks in beach near Black Sea at night, Sakartvelo
Fireworks in beach near Black Sea at night, Sakartvelo

A night view in Gonio town, Sakartvelo
A night view in Gonio town, Sakartvelo

The water of the Black Sea was really warm during the night, but the waves had increased. During the day we heard from a girl from Ukraine, which was our neighbor in the hotel, the water is dangerous and really pulling you in.

The interesting thing we noticed that there is a big cross on a mountain near our hotel, maybe we could reach it tomorrow and observe the sunset from there? Time will tell.


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Author: Mantas Ališauskas
Photography: Mantas Ališauskas
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Blog: Connecting the Dots


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