We get through a mountain range on an initially paved, then roughly gravel road. Once again the pajero has to show everything he can.
There are many water points in Georgia to refill your bottles. A marshrutka is stopping at one of them and we meet a German who is traveling around the country on this public transport.
But he is not at all taken with the minibuses, since the drivers seem to care little about their lives, let alone the comfort of their passengers. So in the marshrutkas you spend a time between nausea and fear of death.
Over the mountains
We reach Batumi on the Black Sea. It is a city that presents itself chic with the bathing beaches and casinos for rich old Russians. Even Donald Trump has his own skyscraper here. I take the chance and want to at least swim in the Black Sea one day.
On the boulevard we meet Jan again – the Dutchman we met in our own marshrutka on the way to Tbilisi.
Via couch surfing, we spontaneously meet the Georgian Shatu, with whom we exchange stories over a few chacha. We learn a lot from him about the production of chacha – which is very similar to that of grappa – and about the quiet anger of the Georgians against Russia, by which the people feel occupied. The Red Army marched into the Abkhazian crisis not long ago.
We leave Batumi and now Uli is allowed to drive too. He’s still having a hard time with the automatic. We then enjoy breakfast outside the city on the Black Sea beach.
On the west coast of Georgia it looks completely different than in the country as far as we have known it so far.
If it was barren, dry and autumnal, it is suddenly tropical green. Palm trees, tall trees with lianas and tropical plants form a dense rainforest. But we quickly leave this area again before the crocodiles catch us.
At some point an old man waves to us excitedly and we stop. He clears a few things from the back seat and just gets into our car. That nobody understands the other doesn’t bother him. He gives us to understand that we can continue driving.
He continues to chatter to us in Georgian. After half an hour he gives us to understand that he wants to get out again and leaves us when we stop puzzled.