The news about the camshaft totally shocked us. And it wasn’t only painful because of that 1000 liras, rather the fact that we’re gonna be stuck here for 5-6 days. Trabzon has almost 780 000 inhabitants, but besides some Turkish buffets, there is only a handful of restaurants there, and 4 bars all together. So there is really not that many things in Trabzon, especially no life. It could still be okay, but the weather is kinda crap and the city is kinda shit too.
Went there, didn’t see a thing.
The only visit-worthy thing is the Sumela monastery in Altindere National Park, right outta Trabzon. It does actually look sickening, but of course we could only check it from the outside due to the ongoing renovation. Oh life, you bitch!
I can’t even get to describe the happiness we felt when they told us, they managed to fix the camshaft, no need for replacement after all. Half the time, half the price. I think this is what we call great service.
Trabzon is not pretty but at least really boring
We we happy to jump back on the bikes and leave Trabzon behind. We wanted to stay in Rize for overnight, but somehow the coastline of the Black Sea feels like the complete inverse of the rest of the country. Miserably boring and surprisingly ugly cities all along the coast.
We stopped in Rize, looked into each other’s eyes, and we knew we are thinking the same. Bye bye Turkey, hello Georgia!
On the Georgian border I almost got a heart attack watching the border patrol agent as he was looking at our license plates in an incredible ninja pose. My brain was rushing through hundreds of alternatives of what bullshit to come up with about the counterfeit plate, but then he finally broke the silence and said: “Holland?”“No, Hungary” - I shouted, and we left in a hurry.
Georgia was exactly how we pictured it in our heads. Dodgy dudes cruisin’ around in dodgy cars among dodgy buildings and some randomly appearing pigs and cows here and there. All animals are free range in Georgia, which I think is awesome for the animals, and probably also for the people too. On the long run. But it just takes a while to get used to the constant threat of a fucker appearing in any random turn, and doesn’t matter how loud you’re honking, they give just as much fuck as a teenager about going to church.
I seriously thought I’m hallucinating this
In less than an hour driving we arrived in Batumi, and it seemed like it’s not even the same country just 20 km further in.
It doesn’t even seem like a post-socialist town
Batumi was just something else. It didn’t even resemble its own suburbs. It’s like the soviet block house meets Disney World meets Dubai for a huge orgy and the love child is called Batumi.
Kitsch, grandiose futurism, post-soviet vomit and tiny Georgian wooden houses make the pattern of the city. Incredibly eclectic city with a great vibe. Batumi is wealthy, Batumi’s fine, thanks. Even though there is only 150 000 inhabitants here, Batumi is a real wannabe metropolis. It’s actually smaller than Szeged, but you can easily spend an hour walking around without wanting to slit your wrist of boredom.
WTF?! Ghost ship
We actually didn’t really wanna go to Batumi originally, but we were happy it happened. We thought it was gonna be one of those ugly resort cities full of hotels and not much else. But we had to come to buy a ferry ticket for Lilla, since we couldn’t do that online of course. We just wanted to fix that, so we can chillax and discover Georgia once this is in place.
We went to the port to look for the ticket office. It took us 30 min, 4 offices and 3 km to find it. On the ground floor in the dodgiest concrete block house. The office was marked with a printed A4 sheet with the sign: офис. Unfortunately there wasn’t any more info like opening hours or a phone number for that matter...
The ticket office is in here, that’s the window to it.
We spent the afternoon visiting different ferry companies. It was the 8th place where we finally got a phone number we could call. So we did, but we never actually managed to talk to anyone. It was just ringing into the nothingness. But of course everyone was super chill, they told us not to worry, it’s Sunday, but tomorrow, for sure they will be in the office.
So we spent the evening in the city walking around. We went to the Alphabetic Tower, a monument dedicated to their just as fucked up language as Hungarian is. But at least they have an alphabet noone else can read.
We saw a humongous fountain that was tuned to do choreographies on symphonic Coldplay adaptations. We were so bored that we ended up in a casino. The city is packed with them, and Lilla has never been to one, so why not.
We agreed in a generous 100 Lari to play with. I obviously lost my half of it on the first game. But they say virgin hands bring luck, and it seemed to be true, Lilla made 260 out of it in a couple of rounds. At that point she suddenly panicked about losing it, so we left, only so that I can listen to her all night talking about how we probably should have stayed, how she had a winning series.
It was pouring rain when we woke up the next day, and we went straight away to the ticket office to find nobody there. And of course the phone calls were unsuccessful too. We tried 3-4 times during the day, but it seemed like this company doesn’t even exist. The ferry that was supposed to arrive yesterday was also nowhere yet.
At 7pm we finally got hold of off the guy. He said he was in the office, we should come see him. Soaking wet we returned to the office just so he could tell us, that we can only buy a ticket to the ferry next week, but no worries, he’ll be here and he’ll call us. Fuck yeah, no worries, do we have another option?
At that point we didn’t know we were gonna spend another 4 nights in Batumi due to the subtropical climate. We arrived in rainy season with daily rain about 1,5-2 mm, which was just about enough not to be able to ride the motorbikes.
Against all odds, we had a great time in Batumi. Even the great Soviet Union couldn’t entirely fuck the city up, the palm trees and beach won over Stalinesque stagnation.
Up to the mountains!
On the fifth day the rain finally stopped and we left for Svaneti, to the mountains.
It was amazing to be finally back on the motorbikes, especially on this amazing landscape in the sunny weather. We ended up in Mestia. It is a small village kinda at the end of the road. It’s famous from this weird local custom that they build a watchtower next to each house. I can’t possibly figure what’s the function of having 6-8 watchtowers in a 100 m radius, but I guess none of my business.
Deep Georgian thoughts
Georgians are very open to modern architecture. They don’t do it half-ass though like in Hungary, they actually work with cool star architects to shape their built environment - even in such a small place like Mestia. At the same time, their taste in interior design is like those East-German furniture catalogs from the ‘80s.
I personally hate IKEA, but I honestly believe we have to thank them for shaping the taste of the pleps in the 20th century. Hellish interiors on hellish accommodations. The sacred cold-light energy saving bulbs help enhance every single detail of the hellish interior. The light must always come from the ceiling. Night lamp as such are only feature above 4 stars, and we never go above 2 stars, only by accident.
We had 3 amazing days in Mestia and the surroundings. On the last night we met 3 German dudes, and we got so drunk together, I don’t even know we managed to wake up in time, let alone ride the motorbikes. But we did.
The king of time
We went back to Batumi on Sunday, and we pretty much did the whole script all over again. Pouring rain, empty office. We managed to talk to our man a couple of times during the day, and he kept saying to chillax, he will call when the time’s come.
We had enough of the stupid phone game, so on Monday afternoon around 4:30pm we went to the office. We found a seemingly confused Dutch cycler couple and a Belgian rider dude.
Everyone’s here for some information
Turns out they have all been there since 2pm waiting for some information. Then all of a sudden like magic, the door opens, the guy registers all passenger details, and sends everyone the fuck away, the ferry will leave between 3 am and 3pm some time, so everyone will be notified on the phone.
Because the rain started again, the Dutch couple also decided not to put up their tent in the ferry terminal. We managed to convince all of them to get a room in our hotel, because it’s surprisingly cheap and not entirely tasteless for a change. We were really happy for each other, and also to spend another night with Lilla.
So the 5 of us went to eat dinner and for some beers, and a little wet, we returned to the hotel. Just as everyone went to sleep the phones started ringing, we needed to go right away, the ferry is leaving in any minute!
We put on our raincoats real fast and rushed to the port. They took all the papers from Lilla. That’s it, the end of it. The last touches, the last half-spoken words, the last kiss. We knew it was gonna be shitty, but we didn’t expect having to do this in pouring rain while Georgian police officers are screaming at you, because you can’t park there, and because there are all those trucks slaloming everywhere. I promise you it was worse than those crappy indie movies.
So I was full throttle driving back to the hotel, half pissed, soaking wet, sobbing-crying on my motorbike. This is what I wanted, it officially started now. Alone around the world. And it doesn’t seem fun in this moment. At all.
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