On The Back-road to Batumi

2020 February 18

Back on the road. Driving that is. After two weeks of settling into Tbilisi Georgia, we leave the big busy capital city in a rented 4×4 SUV and drive toward the Black Sea coast. A light snow falls as we switchback climb elevation into rural Georgia. The landscape almost immediately changes and we are reminded of our time in Iceland, surrounded by frozen hillsides and icy lakes. The road here is covered by sweeping snow and slushy ice.

After spending 3 weeks in Minneapolis and then two weeks in Tblisis, it’s comforting to be back driving through scattered small forgotten towns, villages, basic farms, crumbling ruins, and a few very poor looking stores. History has witnessed numerous revolts, uprisings, and political changes here. Many of these ruined and abandoned stone homes were once lived in by Russian families who left once the Soviet Union fell.

By 5pm the sun is getting low and we stop in, so far, the largest of the towns, Ninotsminda. We are very close to both the Amernia and Turkey borders. Most of the residents here are Armenian. Our hotel for the night is located above a mechanic garage. The owner, who is also the mechanic, understands us as we attempt communication. He’s quick with the Google Translator and even quicker showing us our amazingly modern and comfortable room. 60 Lari ($20) in cash and we have a large room with comfortable clean bed, hot shower, and a TV with a crazy assortment of channels. After Elizabeth braves walking back down to the mechanic shop, we get heat (both an electric space heater and eventually the wall radiator comes to life).

It sure was nice to spend those couple weeks in Tbilisi slugging off the jet lag, seeing the city sights, and acclimating to the Georgian culture. But for now, it’s great to have that car parked outside in a cold snowbank, ready to take us further into the unknown country reminding us that there is plenty more ahead.