Welcome to Georgia’s bustling seaside resort town of Batumi. We look forward to a long rest in an extended stay in one place. Need to do laundry (every piece of clothing could grow mushrooms), workout, and sleep to the sound of Black Sea waves.

Not so fast. Our 31st floor “luxury” studio apartment sits in the middle of a construction zone, and above a Casino/Disco. The pounding of construction all day and the booming of bass from the DJ Disco all night diminishes any hope of hearing waves. It appears that a whole week here may be too long.

Thankfully, we have a great view of the Black Sea, as well as the Boulevard that stretches the length of the beach below.

A typical workday in Georgia starts at ten or eleven o’clock and ends at seven or eight. Not a morning culture, even coffee shops do not open until ten. Being morning people works to our advantage (thank you Nescafe). For two hours each morning we can hear the waves below and have the boulevard to ourselves where we walk, run, and workout in the adjacent greenspace.

The European square represents Batumi’s pride and joy. It boasts the Medea Monument, initially associated with the Jason the Argonaut legend, and a McDonalds, of course.

Nearby, a 7m (22ft) high moving sculpture depicting “Ali and Nino” characters from a novel about forbidden love (sort of a Romeo and Juliet story) grabs our attention. The statues pass through each other. Like having sex without touching.

Walking the boulevard provides endless entertainment. We marvel at the old soviet style apartments repainted in bright colors, surrounded by Vegas style high rise condos and hotels.

Bizarre structures defy understanding as well.

Typical seaside carnival games and rides line the boulevard, but don’t see much action until evening.

The bottom of the Black Sea is void of oxygen. Marine life begins above a mysterious gas layer of hydrogen sulfide. Afternoons find most tourists lying on a river-rock beach. No sand here. Plus, nobody swims in the cold water for long either, where waves toss rocks against your legs.

Tourists come from Israel, Russia, Europe, and of course, Georgia. Most come from Turkey, which is only 20km (12.5 miles) away. Turkey boasts a strong cologne and cigarette culture, along with the distinct scent of shisha.

“Are you from Israel?” a woman behind the counter asks in broken English. “No, I’m from America.” Her eyes light up. “I love America! Thank you!” Georgians love Americans.

Time for a rare menu item – seafood! Enthusiastic venders pounce on you upon entry to the fish market. Feels a bit like walking the gauntlet. We are in search of an adjacent restaurant that serves the revered Georgian dish – red mullet.

Lightly dusted with flour, fried, and eaten whole, the red mullet carries a strong fishy taste, but is rich in nutrients. Georgian cuisine boasts no fame for cooking fish, as seafood on a menu is rare.

We much prefer the regional dish “Adjarian Khachapuri” which is a boat shaped, cheese-filled bread. You mix the egg and butter in the middle, and then rip off a chunk of bread to scoop up the mixture. Delicious!

Batumi is not the peaceful haven we expected when renting a tiny place for one week, but interesting and full of services. Thank goodness for lots of good beer and delicious wine!

To get a break from the city, Marilynn ventures to the impressive Botanical Gardens for a forested respite with dramatic coastline views.

Now she craves the mountains even more. We both crave the mountains. Time to travel on.

Thank you, Abundant Universe!



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