A Weekend in Bizarre Batumi

Hello Readers!

Last weekend I took a little vacation to a city called Batumi, the third largest city in Georgia and the most popular seaside destination.

Only a two hour marshutka ride from my town, which is too small for this map!

In a way, Batumi can compare to Tbilisi, in that it is an odd mashup of historic old buildings and futuristic new architecture. However, the location and climate add a tropical element to the already confused atmosphere. Batumi has been called “The Vegas of the Black Sea” and this is a fairly accurate depiction. Yes, there are casinos in every hotel, but there is also a flashiness in the buildings and an anything goes attitude.

The building on the left is called “The alphabet tower” and has a nightclub inside the disco ball looking thing. The building on the right actually has a 5 capsule ferris wheel built into the “hole” on the opposite side.

I spent three days in Batumi, and save for a day trip to the botanical gardens (which is worth it just to get some of the best views of the city and sea) I was perfectly content to just walk the boardwalk, plop down on the rocky beach with a beverage, or bar hop around the city center. It’s a fairly small city, and it’s so visually bizarre that you never feel like you are missing out on any “sights.”

City skyline from the botanical gardens. Do you recognize those two shapes between the trees?

The best part of the trip was reconnecting with some of my fellow volunteers who I haven’t seen since orientation. I was able to start some serious planning on my Christmas vacation destination as well as swap stories with volunteers in villages, cities, and various locations within Georgia. I felt lucky to have ended up in a rural location, where all my food is fresh and my family and community is thrilled to have me. I may feel a little trapped or bored sometimes, but it could definitely be worse. I haven’t even gotten food poisoning yet!

Swimming in the Black Sea. I look freaked out because I just narrowly avoided a giant jellyfish

Possibly the strangest thing was that despite the weather being a humid 75 degrees F and clear, everyone kept insisting that summer was over. My host sister told me Batumi wouldn’t be as good since it is not summer, and lots of things were closed for the “off-season.” I know summer technically ends in September, but it was so beautiful! I swam without cringing and everything!

All in all, I loved Batumi and will most definitely be back. Even in the winter!

-Kacie Riann

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