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Batumi to Kutaisi


If the town in parts was dodgy, the Batumi bus station was singularly a bad advertisement for progress. The gap in public transport provision since liberalisation had been filled by 101 battered minivans known as Marshrutkas and I had the job of finding one to Kutaisi this morning. With signs unreadable I asked around and waited half the day to get going, the very pretty journey eventually passing through very verdant land, almost sub-tropical, with pigs and cattle free to roam across the roads and fantastic mountain ranges to either horizon north and south. My stunning first view of the snow crested Caucuses and I was not disappointed. Without explanation I was dumped at the bus station well away from the centre whilst everyone else stayed on board, and it was a long walk just to end up at the incongruous Intourist Hotel. This behemoth sat on the main square with not even so much as a sign to bely its existence, I simply figured from my map that the anonymous door leading to a once grand stair case had to be the joint. It was a massive draughty carbuncle full of refugees from Georgia's colourful recent civil unrest but it kept a few rooms free for passing fools like me. No water, no flush, nobody cared. The stark contrast with Turkey crossed my mind that in that country new projects were seen all over the place, it just seemed like they were never finished. Even the end product tended to be shoddily done. Soviet Georgia however had been built to last but unfortunately that was 70 years ago, with not a spot of maintenance done ever since. With the last of the sun I climbed the nearby hill to see Davrigi Cathedral, a ruin but a fine one at that. Its still used for ceremonies despite not having a roof and has found a place on the UNESCO list. There was a great view of the whole town and snow crested ...... mountains to the South. I managed to find a pretty jumping modern wee joint on the main square which pumped out what could best be described as wholesome food and good cheap beer. And it actually proved to be the star attraction in town. With no internet to be had after 7pm, a couple of tins back in my barn like room was the best the night could muster. For a second city it was pretty second class it had to be said. Not that there was anything particularly wrong with it but not much to see, nothing to do and as dead and dark as Brezhnev after the sun went down.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Georgia

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