Day 145: August 4, 2018
We were ready to leave by 8:00 am. Sadly, we had to throw out some of our watermelon. It was just on much and we didn’t have enough containers for the amount we had leftover.
It was sprinkling on our drive out. We spent a few days more than we needed to in Mestia. We had thought it would be easy to just hike around as it is such a beautiful area. There are not many trails around though. Maybe because there aren’t enough tourists for the infrastructure. It was also rainy the last half of our stay which didn’t make us feel like going outside.
The drive to Batumi took over five hours. We stopped in Poti for lunch on the way and had khinkali and eggplant with walnut sauce.
The grocery store we found in Batumi was very busy and there wasn’t a lot of space to move around. Our host met us at the bottom of the apartment building. The building was a 70s pale green and looks very aged on the outside. The apartment was newly renovated and smelled of new paint.
Driving around Batumi, we had an interesting first glance. There are many dramatic architectural buildings. Across the street from our Airbnb we could see the Black Sea. There was a long beach with a promenade. Along there is a restaurant in the shape of the coliseum, a mini Parthenon, an upside down White House and carnival rides. I feel almost like the city is trying too hard, but then there are a lot of tourists so maybe it works. Danny made hamburger soup for supper and then we went to bed.
Day 146: August 5, 2018
We woke up fairly early so we could go on one more road trip with the Pajero. We drove 45 minutes east to Makhuntseti Bridge. It is built from natural rocky stones and lime. It spans 19.5 m and is one of many similar bridges built in the Middle Ages in the southwestern part of Georgia. It was actually pretty scary to stand on. It is only 2.5 m wide and has no sides.
From there we drove up to Makhuntseti Waterfall. The view from the top…not so good. It was very overgrown and you couldn’t see anything. We did see a viewpoint at the bottom so we drove back down. It looked like there was going to be many vendors there. They were just setting up at 8:00 am. Georgians don’t seem to be early risers.
Danny and I were the only ones visiting at that time. We enjoyed the waterfall and even danced a little in front. We returned to the vehicle and there was a man with an orange vest who charged us 1 GEL for parking. The parking officials don’t seem very official so we don’t know if we are being scammed or not.
We stopped at a car wash on the way back to Batumi to clean the outside of the car then returned to our apartment. The Pacers was picked up at noon. Danny stormed in after meeting the guys downstairs to give them the keys. They had charged him the cleaning fee for not cleaning the inside which had not been clear. It sounded like it could have been better handled by both parties.
Danny made smokies with peppers and onions for supper. I FaceTimed Erin which was really nice. Afterwards Rayne had emailed me so I called her cell phone through Skype. I started to cry when I heard from her. She means a lot to me so I was glad to hear she was well. We chatted for a bit before I needed to go to bed.
Day 147: August 6, 2018
Danny fell asleep fairly early last night while I was chatting. We woke up and ate breakfast. Then we walked along the promenade to the Hilton hotel which was about 25 minutes away. I booked a massage at the spa there. Danny returned to the apartment then to the mall to try to find me a birthday present.
I should have brought my swimsuit or workout clothes because I had access to the pool and gym inside the spa. I changed into my robe then went down to my massage. It was the best I’ve had on the trip although I wish she had worked on my hips more. Afterwards I sat on the balcony for a bit to relax.
I then got dressed and walked up the street to Books in Batumi. I was able to find two interesting books in English. Then I walked through the park to a clothing store. I tried on some pants, but didn’t buy anything. I continued my walk to the mall which was not exciting. There were lots of small stores and on the main floor there was a large grocery store. I bought some items we hadn’t found at the last store. Then I walked back to the apartment.
It was different having time to myself. I enjoyed doing my own thing for a bit. Georgia has definitely felt very safe. The streets of Batumi were quite busy. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I love Tbilisi, but Batumi feels too gimmicky and touristy to me.
We had leftovers for lunch and decided to do a walking tour of the city tomorrow. We chilled and watched some Netflix. Danny made chicken and cauliflower rice for supper with grapes for dessert. Danny talked to him parents then we went to bed.
Day 148: August 7, 2018
We slept in which seems to be our new norm. Danny went and got his haircut then we went down to the beach. There were lots of people, but we found some chairs that cost 3 GEL each to rent. The sun wasn’t quite shining, but we were hot just sitting there. It is quite humid in Batumi.
The water was really wavy and quite warm. The shore was large pebbles and dropped away very quickly. We lounged for a bit after we went for a dip then returned to the apartment to shower.
At 4:00 pm we left to walk 45 minutes to the cable car station for our free walking tour. There were about 10 people on the tour. We visited the different area where we were shown the cultures that have influenced the city. In the past mostly merchants and foreigners lived in Batumi.
Georgia is approximately 10% Muslim. Adjara, the autonomous region Batumi is in, is approximately 30% Muslim.
The region is famous for their nest or boat shaped khachapuri. Women made it to symbolize a boat for their husbands that were sailing. The egg was meant to symbolize the sun although the men say it is their wife’s watching eye.
We saw a building with two little boys playing flutes on top. When the wind blows it whistles through them making it sound like flutes.
Many of the buildings were the result of the previous President Michelin Saakashvili. He hoped to turn Batumi into a vacation destination. Some historical looking buildings are new and there are some that seem ultra modern. There were also copies of other historic buildings and statues. The fountain below is a copy of one in Bologna, Italy.
The Alphabet Tower shows the Georgian alphabet on the structure of DNA to show the link of language to the people.
The Ali and Nino statue shows Ali, a Muslim boy from Azerbaijan and Nino, a Christian girl from Georgia. They are from a novel. The sculptures rotate and create a single sculpture at one point.
The tour finished at waterfront where it was crazy busy. There were two boys on a double bike circling a girl sitting and waiting for her parents. There were tons of people on electric trike wheelchair things. It got more and more terrifying to watch each second. Three people could ride on them and any age could drive. People were putting them to full speed which was about 30 km/h. We witnessed about three incidents that evening where one rolled or two hit each other. There were numerous other close calls. It made walking pretty scary.
We stopped at a restaurant for supper. Danny went to the washroom and a drunk guy walked by and said something to me. I replied, “Sorry, English”. Then he said, “Menu. I pay”. I said, “No, that’s okay”. Then he walked away. Danny returned then the waiter came and told us the man had offered to pay for our meal. We replied, “No, we can pay for our meal.” The guy returned with the waiter and we repeated that we could pay for our own meal. The guy said, “No, I’m Georgian. You are not from here. I will pay”. We agreed, but were still unsure.
For supper we had khachapuri and trout. Danny still wanted more khachapuri so we ordered a second. The drunk guy left while we were still eating so we assumed we had to pay for our meal. When we asked for the bill the waiter told us it had already been paid.
We continued our walk along the promenade back towards our Airbnb. Ten minutes before our apartment it started to rain. We got inside and got ready for bed.
Day 149: August 8, 2018
We slept in and then basically did nothing all day. We finished cooking the remaining food so we had almost nothing to throw out. I watched Project Runway then FaceTimed Tara before we went to bed. We knew we would have to be up at 1:00 am for our flight to St. Petersburg.
Georgia has been quite the experience. It is a beautiful country with fantastic food. We will definitely be missing the khachapuri. I believe we will also be majorly under budget on this portion of the trip as food and accommodations were half the price of everywhere else we have stayed. Next we move on to Russia where we will take the Trans Siberian railway across the country from St. Petersburg on the Baltic Sea to Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean.