So, crossing the border from Turkey into Georgia turned out very easy. Show passport, show car document, “where you are go?” – “Azerbajian, Iran, Mongolia, etc”. “Open car”. “Is ok”. 10 minutes later and I’m in Georgia. Pretty cool. Right away it was clear that the road conditions were more Albania style, only a little worse. Roundabouts are there, but the rules are sort of reversed, extremely many and deep pot holes, people honking and flashing because you’re driving only 60 where 30 is allowed, cows on the road everywhere. Incredible! But, you get used to it quite fast.
I went to Akhelsopeli, a suburb of Batumi. There I could use the cabin of a Turkish girl from Turkey. She told me she wouldn’t be there but I could just enter and do my thing. I got a description of how to get there from the center of town. I took me quite a while because when asking for “the church” to 6 people, I got 6 different answers. In the end someone got it right. It was a really cool place with a couch, a fireplace and a cabinesque atmosphere. No electricity and gas and a broken water connection that I managed to fix for about 50%. The first night I just watched some series and went to bed quite early. The next day I decided I would stay for 3 nights and go for a walk in the river delta near Akhelsopeli.
It was a weird part of nature to walk in. In a way it was beautiful and natural, yet it was covered in tons of garbage and building material dump sites. And of course cows everywhere. The most typical picture I took was from this frog, chilling out on a piece of styrofoam. I reached the beach and looked into the direction of Romania, where Vincent and I once looked this, saying something like “on the other side is Georgia. We are so far now!”. Walking back I noticed some old buildings near town. Actually, the edge of town was littered with old disused buildings, perhaps from a war or better industrial times. I got some Köfte again on the way back to the cabin and checked out a huge (again) disused building in the center of town, apparently an old theater. Pretty strange to me in a town with only tiny little scattered houses around.
The next day I went to Batumi by bus. 11 km for only 0.7 GEL (like €0.26). Batumi is rather nice. The sea side has a collection of very pompous gold colored office buildings and a huge tower with a ball on top containing a restaurant and viewpoint. There is also a famous piece of art of 2 people running through each other every 20 minutes. I also found a Jazz bar that opened this year, and they served some good beers. I found the bus back and enjoyed another evening with some beer and a movie while throwing logs on a fire.
The following day (2017-03-05) it was time to leave again. I filled my shower bag with warm water from the stove for a fresh start of the day, went to get some replacement firewood and went on my way towards Zugdidi. On the way I stopped at a ruin of a castle (Petra fortress). Once in Zugdidi I found a hostel on maps.me that looked interesting. My Moon hostel, which turned out ok. In winter the dorm room is actually pretty cold and there was also a band of Ecuadorian street musicians with a baby, so I didn’t have the best of nights there They had internet though, and the owners were very welcoming and relaxed. Also they had a good internet connection.
Before heading off again I went for a walk in Zugdidi to see the Ecuadorians play on the street and to buy some fruit and vegetables. I also had to wait for my laundry to dry at the hostel. Once that was done, I was once again on my way, this time towards Mestia which, according to the owner of the hostel, I had to go visit.
More about Mestia in Georgia part II