Batumi was really different

Batumi Travel Blog

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Sailing into Batumi, Georgia in the morning

 

Yesterday ended the first half of this voyage.  Today we are the farthest East in distance and past the midpoint in time.  It’s the 28th day – 4 weeks – on the ship and we are now heading home, very slowly but home.  Since there are 27 more days to go I’m not going to start packing anytime soon.

Batumi, Georgia is in Asia but seems, as Cathy said, more Caribbean than Asian.  It and Sochi, Russia both have sub tropical climates and are on the Black Sea but there the resemblance ends.  In contrast to Sochi’s manicured and geometric park along the seaside, Batumi has a vast, sprawling naturalistic park that stretches forever through hills and reaches down to the sea.

Georgia uses a unique alphabet - I tried to find a bookstore to buy a book in Georgian but failed. Maybe next time.
  It includes palms and bananas, pines and magnolias, bamboo and azaleas plus many others I didn’t recognize.  I think I even saw some bristle cone pines.  The change in elevation provides many microclimates for the plants and seemingly everything not only grows there but thrives.  I was also pleased that our guide thoughtfully had the bus drop us off at the highest point in the park so we could stroll down to the seaside where the bus was waiting for us.

The Caribbean aspect of Batumi is from its air of co-existing revitalization and decay.  The roads are torn up and some of the Russian-era buildings look very dilapidated while roadgraders and cranes are constructing new ones.  Our guide said several times “The people are very happy that we are building new for the better”.
A view back into Barumi and the snowy mountains in the background.
 

There is a geometrically designed seaside park in the town but it’s obviously meant for children and families, not just for show.  It even has a wedding pavilion that looks like the Jules Verne Nautilus.  This town of 200,000 people is Georgia’s major port and is historically more geared to business than tourists but I’ve never felt more welcome as a tourist.  A photographer followed us around all day, we were given very professionally done brochures (none of the odd spellings or phrasings like other towns, brochures, and a band even appeared on the dock in the afternoon to serenade us out of port.

Other people on the boat weren’t too impressed with some of the inconveniences and air of “we aren’t quite there yet” of Batumi, Georgia, but I loved it.
Azaleas too with palm trees in the background.
It’s the site of Jason and the Golden Fleece from the ancient Greek myths.  I’ve loved the Greek myths since I was a child and the chance to be here in what was called Colchis was one of the main reasons I wanted on this specific cruise.  I think I would have loved Batumi even if there was nothing more than the ancient Gonio fortress to see. 

As it turned out the highlight was something nobody had anticipated – the Georgian Folklore show.  How a town of 200,000 people managed to have so many truly talented singers and dancers is beyond me.  A guide told me later that Georgian singing (and probably the dancing too) is a family tradition that is passed from generation to generation.  Training begins almost at birth and the results are way beyond something the average person could ever achieve.  A children's group came aboard the ship and their performance of the high jumps and three part harmony singing was as impressive as the adults’ saber dance had been earlier.

Georgia may not be the place for every traveler but it is definitely a great destination for anyone willing to try something very different and rewarding.

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Sailing into Batumi, Georgia in th…
Sailing into Batumi, Georgia in t…
Georgia uses a unique alphabet - I…
Georgia uses a unique alphabet - …
A view back into Barumi and the sn…
A view back into Barumi and the s…
Azaleas too with palm trees in the…
Azaleas too with palm trees in th…
Batumi is very much a working harb…
Batumi is very much a working har…
The seaside park.
The seaside park.
Barumi has lots of art sprinkled a…
Barumi has lots of art sprinkled …
The Jules Verne Nautilus-like wedd…
The Jules Verne Nautilus-like wed…
Looking back at Batumi, Georgia
Looking back at Batumi, Georgia
In the botanical garden.
In the botanical garden.
A map of the Botanical Garden.  Th…
A map of the Botanical Garden. T…
Sunlight through beautiful trees. …
Sunlight through beautiful trees.…
I loved the colors.
I loved the colors.
An amazing variety of plants and c…
An amazing variety of plants and …
This may be standard window style …
This may be standard window style…
Labor-intensive farming.
Labor-intensive farming.
Life is close to the land here.
Life is close to the land here.
Ruins inside the Gonio Fortress.
Ruins inside the Gonio Fortress.
The Gonio Fortress.
The Gonio Fortress.
The entrance to the dungeon.
The entrance to the dungeon.
Our guide
Our guide
Rivers from the mountains.  Did Ja…
Rivers from the mountains. Did J…
Typical housing left over from the…
Typical housing left over from th…
The Batumi children folklore troup…
The Batumi children folklore trou…
The band (and many of the Batumi p…
The band (and many of the Batumi …
A local wine - a very good local w…
A local wine - a very good local …
I cant help myself.
I can't help myself.
Im still photographing desserts.
I'm still photographing desserts.
I think this may be an elephant.  …
I think this may be an elephant. …
Batumi
photo by: mskaye