In Batumi, I found accommodation with a couchsurfer. Nikita is from Belarus and moved here right from the beginning of the war, works in home office, has made good connections and lives on the 12th floor near the beach.
He has also been to India three times and we had a good exchange about our lives mainly over meals. He is a really pleasant person able to give input and I have now also learned a little bit about Belarus. What I like when travelling and what sometimes happens: a rather quick and intensive exchange about more intimate topics, probably with the knowledge that we are unlikely to see each other again. And then a trusting openness is much easier and beautiful to experience. For me, Nikita was a Couchsurfing stroke of luck! I slept under bunnies.
I found it interesting that there is one room without an outside window – is that the case in all flats? I find the rent relatively expensive (over 500 euros for an estimated 50 square metres) in contrast to e.g. food and other prices.
Since he had to work a lot and also had other plans, I was on my own in Batumi, which suited me fine. On my walks I met various dogs. They were very peaceful and uninterested in me. But it was a joy for my photographic eye.
I also came across other interesting motifs such as the aging Intourist Casino. In 2008, there was still something with Intourist in every town – I think that has become much less now.
I don’t know why I am almost magically attracted to bridal fashion shops. I don’t know why the dolls have neither arms nor heads – and I don’t know why a dress that has slipped down a bit is presented most prominently.
You can find quite a few signs in public space that people disagree with Russia and show solidarity with Ukraine. What I haven’t found out yet: what about the concrete encounters between Russians and Georgians? There is an article on this here.
There is quite good tourism here, at least in Batumi – but I actually find it hard to see and hear where people come from.
And then, to lighten things up, I also saw and photographed myself:
Then I also went to the harbour, or better said only to the part with the small ships. The big ones are further away. Batumi has the largest port in Georgia. Mostly oil from the pipelines from Azerbaijan arrives here, which is refined locally and then shipped. But there are also own products that are exported by water.
Here are some pictures of the small ships. And my question: what do they actually do? Getting fish? There were various men fishing. And also small private boats.
The next day I drove to Poti, a harbour town further north. Poti has a railway connection and exports manganese, maize, timber and wine. There is a connection here with Armenia, which does not have its own port. More info on Poti here.
After arriving, I asked myself why I had the idea that a side trip to Poti was a good idea. The room is on the ground floor directly on the street and smells too strongly of smoke, within a short time it started to rain (and did until the evening), the harbour area was not to enter and everything looked ugly Soviet run-down. Of course I walked around anyway. Here is my visual “Output”:
Football seems to be a popular pastime, at least on Sundays – I saw a lot of players. In the evening, loud melancholic Russian songs sounded from the bar opposite and a man sang “I will survive”. My mood was in the basement. But it was probably all rather funny, actually, and I already know I’ll have a laugh about it soon.
But now the flat landscape is over – I am heading towards a change of location to the mountains!