We have had some amazing and exciting times in Turkey the past few weeks but it’s time to move on. So on July 22 we cross the border to Georgia. We take the busy border crossing near Batumi and from the stories we’ve heard, the 25km line of trucks we pass and taking into account the recent events in Turkey, we fear a very lengthy crossing. What we get is the total opposite. Quick check of our passports and motorbike documents, stamps, and out we go. Georgia is even faster. They don’t even ask for the motorbike documents. So in more or less 20 minutes, we are on our way to Batumi.
Like in every big town we plan to visit, I had booked a room the night before. Since the border crossing went so smooth, we arrive much earlier than expected but our landlord seems very happy with the excuse to chase the previous occupants out of their beds. Looks like they outstayed their welcome and checkout time.
The guesthouse itself is not much more than a renovated front part of what once was a family home in a rundown potholed unpaved street. The family have moved to the back, with grandma and mom cleaning and maintaining the rooms and grandad collecting the dough. But hey, it’s clean, cheap, the bikes are parked safely behind the gate and it’s within walking distance of the main centre.
We now have an entire afternoon to explore the city. This should be enough since it’s not that big.
Batumi really is a big modern day seaside resort with a very nice boulevard along the shore with loads of clubs and restaurants.
Such a touristy place is not really our cup of tea and we stroll back into the centre. From the parks and the trees we see along the way, it looks like they have a very mild climate here.
They even have a dragon!
One of the famous sights is the astronomical clock. The clock itself is not that big, but the building and the square in front of it are really impressive.
We’ve had rain showers all day and the weather forecast for the next day doesn’t look too glorious. We were really looking forward to go to Svaneti in the northern part of Georgia. During our first visit months ago, it was still snowing there so we skipped it then. The second time we were a bit in a hurry to get an engine fixed and we didn’t risk any detours. Now we have the time and at least the snow should have melted, but even so we’re not sure if we will actually see the mountains through all the clouds that are predicted.
The next morning starts off very cloudy indeed, but the closer we get to the mountains, the more blue spots appear in the sky. It looks like we might get lucky after all.
Halfway on our way up, we pass a German girl on an old 600cc bike. When we stop for a break a bit further and wait for her, she stops next to us and we get to meet Johanna. She’s been on the road for more than a year traveling through the Baltic States and then south-eastern Europe and Turkey. Pretty impressive stuff! We decide to ride to Mestia together for a coffee and then look for somewhere to camp.
While we’re having our coffee (and cake), another motorbike pulls up. Sven from Holland, working in China, decided to buy a bike there and ride home. So he joins our camping party as well.
We find a beautiful spot just outside Mestia and it looks like we’re not the only ones who can appreciate the views. The place is littered with garbage. But still, the views are too good to pass, so we shove some empty bottles and wrappers aside and put up our tents.
In the evening we have some dinner together and spend the rest of the time exchanging experiences and tips.
The next morning, the sun is out for another beautiful day. We all have a hard time packing up. Sven is the first to leave since he wants to reach Batumi. The rest of us linger some more in the sun, and in the end it’s well past lunch time before we say goodbye.