We crossed into Georgia without too much fuss, although our bus ‘to Batumi’ abandoned us at the border control and we had to hop into a shared taxi into the town itself, following two other passengers also left behind by a hurried bus driver.
The first thing to say about Georgia is that it has the wackiest script around for a language. You may get by with spoken Russian, but cyrillic is useless when you’re confronted with words like these – and this is just on water and beer bottles…
Our first meal in Batumi on the Black Sea coast in Georgia was a late lunch of one of those cold soups I normally associate with Polish or Russian cuisine Delicious anyway.
Batumi was our last port of call on the Black Sea so that called for a final paddle. The beach reminded me of Brighton, though, so a bit hard on the feet for walking.
Other than the beach, Batumi’s main selling point seemed to be its casinos, which were on every street corner, and we gather Donald Trump has invested heavily here. We were glad to get out and head to Tbilisi.
And even more excited to see destinations on the highway as we approached Tbilisi.
Tbilisi saw the first beef stew style food we’d seen since goulash behind in Budapest.
Once again, we were struck by bits of history that passed us by. Who ever hears about the 1956 revolt in Tbilisi? Was it an inspiration for Hungarians later that year or should the put down have been a warning?
Then one of the exhibitions in the town’s main museum says a lot about Georgia’s approach to Russian rule (interesting also to note that the old Stalin museum – he was from here of course – has now been converted into shops!)
You can tell from some of the street art that Tbilisi has a bit of a quirky bohemian temperament.
And this enormous bike seems now to be a main stop-off point on the city bus tour.
Some of the architecture round the capital is fabulous
Though a lot of it is very ramshackle now. Makes you wonder how it was in its heyday.
And finally a couple of classic Tbilisi views – from the bridge into the old town.
And the lovely lions which guard the bridge.
Yes, we loved Tbilisi. But wait for the next blog to hear how fantastic the tea and coffee scene is…