The view of Batumi from my balcony was amazing! It looked like Surfers Paradise! A playground for the foreign tourists. I was going to say the rich and famous, but that is a tad over the top! I had a fabulous night sleep and after a rather ordinary breakfast, quite disappointing for an ” expensive” hotel, I caught the marshrutka to Chavi.
The guesthouse didn’t expect me until tomorrow, but I figured I could wing it for an extra night. I don’t mind the occasional “expensive” hotel, but not on a daily basis. When I say expensive, I mean expensive for here! The average hotel, except Tbilisi, is fifty Lari, about A$25, guest houses on average between A$7,50 and A$10 , so when a hotel says it is 56 and I assume they mean the local currency and after a while I realise they mean American dollars, the look on my face was worthy of a “you tube video”! One of the side effects of long term travel, is paying attention to these things!
As far as hotels go, in my humble experience, more expensive is often NOT better! The sheets might have a higher thread count and there might be a hairdryer in the bathroom, but I often find that the extras in smaller places is better. Often the staff in the fancy hotels are slightly arrogant, while in smaller hotels the staff is friendlier. I see it as a place, where I will dump my bags, I need cleanliness, hot showers and the mattresses not too hard!! Easily pleased.
Anyway, I went to Chakvi. Walked with MAPS.ME to the guest house. Lovely garden, the owner spoke English. Great room. It took a while to realise that this was NOT the guest house I booked! Oops! Same name though! By the way, it didn’t matter, as my booking at the Batumi U Guesthouse was for the next night!
I walked to the Botanical gardens, about two kilometres away. Spend a wonderful afternoon, wandering, looking and enjoying nature. The views were spectacular. I took a little bus to the top, and walked back, through the greenery. The weather is very much Darwin weather. Hot and humid, rains in the late afternoon.
I managed to find a super market and after getting lost several times, (of course my gadget was flat!) I finally found the guest house, just in the nick of time, as all hell broke loose!! The storm went on for most of the night! Seem to me it kept turning around, just to please me! Finally I fell asleep, dreaming of snakes in the garden! I have encountered three small snakes, all dead! They are not poisonous, people laugh when I ask! Mind you, everybody wants to come to Australia, but they all watch the National Geographic channel, and are petrified of all the deadly animals we have!!
The owner’s husband dropped me off at the next guest house! I am so glad he did! I would have never found it! It is a few kilometres out of Chakvi, high up in the mountains. Lovely room, large guest house.
Walking down the mountain lands you on the highway, cross that and the railway line, and one reaches the beach. It is less than ten minutes walking. The beach, by Australian standards, is terrible. Full of rocks and garbage. ( mind you, the stones are great for building cairns!) The sand is black, but the water is lovely and warm. Nurgaz and his two children took me to the beach, by car! Wica, whose name is Anastasia, is seven years old. The son, Sapa, is eleven and a big Messi fan! I am a Ronaldo fan, but we decided they were both very good players! We watched some of the World Cup after we came back from the beach!
On Sunday the whole family went out and I spend the day on the beach, and in my favourite restaurant, where there is free wifi, great Georgian food and very cheap beer! I found out via Facebook, that my friend Ozkan, from Amasya, Turkey, is in Batumi right now. We are planning to have lunch together and while down there I will look into the train to Zugdidi, my next stop, before going to Mestia, high up in the mountains.
Family from Kazakhstan came to stay as well, lovely, lovely people. I was invited to come and have dinner and taste the home made Georgian wine! It is hard to explain that I don’t eat meat, and that this my alcohol free year! ( okay, except for beer! But it is very hot and humid! And I can never drink more than two glasses!) I had two small glasses which gave me the biggest headache ever, which lasted all the next day! Very unpleasant and not to be repeated!
Georgian people toast for every glass and then in one BIG gulp empty their glass! They all laughed that I sipped my wine! Trust me, it was the best I could do! Georgian’s hospitality is famous in this part of the world.
Although the truth is, it focuses on drinking vodka and/or beer at nine in the morning! So sorry, not for me at all! Shock horror that I don’t drink vodka! (Not without some nice orange juice to go with it, and much , much later in the day! )Some things are just not explainable, being vegetarian is one, travelling on my own is the second one! The whole family is shocked that I don’t have a husband, and are now dedicating their lives to finding me a Georgian Man! How lucky am I?
on my last evening I went and had a lovely dinner with live Georgia music! Hereby a photo of the lovely staff, and the Georgian band! I was given a present, a bracelet by one of the girls, and after lots of hugs, Instagram exchanges it was time to say good bye to all these wonderful, wonderful people here in Chakvi. Sometimes it is really hard to move on! Zugdidi is next on the list!!