Georgia Part 2
Batumi – Beaches, beer and botanical gardens
The guide book suggested that the Georgia border crossing would be our first real test. We would be searched, our medications would be confiscated and both men and women would need to dress conservatively. We were not searched, no mention was made of medication and our first glimse of Georgia showed long stretches of beach with many gentlemen in budgie smugglers.
Our entry to Batumi (a very upmarket Blackpool) was made on empty stomachs, and four hangry people looking for a hostel that doesn’t exist proved challenging. A few somewhat stressed hours later we found the Hoek of Holland hostel and the wine cellar next door…….
Tuesday morning began with much ringing of land rover garages and land rover part maufacturers in an attempt to find a new silencer. (We had been gassed by our broken silencer for the last few days). Once a part was ordered from the UK we started to explore Batumi. Feeling insipred by a French couple we met in our hostel who had cycled from the Alps, Jon and I hired bikes and cycled 9 km to the Botanical Gardens. We were forced to leave our bikes with a chap at the gate who had an eagle on his shoulder. We waved goodbye to the bikes, very thankful we had payed no deposit for them and expected a long walk home. The gardens were separated into 9 or more phyto-geographical departments. The most stunning were the Japanese, with a beautiful water garden, and the elegant Bamboo Forest. The most spectacular aspect of the park however was the location – positioned high on a sheer cliff above the Black Sea we were able to gaze out at the calm water and Batumi in the distance. A couple of hours later we returned to the chap and his eagle, collected our bikes (felt very ashamed at our lack of faith) and negotiated the busy duel carriage way back to the centre of town. Batumi has everything you could hope for in a seaside resort. Long beaches, (stone, not sand) many places to sample the insanely cheap beer, and a charming mix of beautifully maintained 19th Century buildings and wacky modern structures. We settled ourselves on the pier to watch the sun go down. Multiple pints of Kazbegi beer, our first taste of Katchipuri (bread, pizza sized, filled with cheese) and some truly classic tunes blaring out made for a magical evening.
Kutaisi and the Doner Hatch
I shall keep this brief and uncultured. We saw the Bagrati Cathedral (beautifully reconstructed) and the Sataplia Nature Reserve (dinosaur footprints, Sataplia Caves and Panoramic view point). We stayed at the Sun Hostel (the true meaning of a friendly family run business). We ate at the Doner Hatch. We ate at the Doner Hatch 4 times in 1 and a half days. We tried every version of fast food the smiling Mr Doner Hatch man provided. It was excellent.
Lots of dirty Doner love