Ah, I do like to be beside the seaside.
I’ve traveled thousands of miles through deserts, mountains and innumerable disgusting bus stations, and finally I find myself face to face with this charming east-west trending elliptical depression, perhaps more commonly known as the Black Sea.
Not quite the sandy paradise about which I had fantasised – the beach is a mass of huge black rocks on which hundreds of speedo-clad Georgians balance precariously, but at least all the rest of the paraphenalia is present.
That’s right. We’re talking overpriced cafes on the boulevard, ancient volleyball nets, curiously artistic sculptures and dog mess. As an extra added bonus, James Blunt blares out on the speakers wired up and down the ‘beach’, albeit a more chilled-out acoustic version, his heavier stuff clearly risked offending the more sensitive listeners.
So, this is last stop for Georgia, and it appears, last stop for Russian-speaking territory. Shame really – I have managed to acquire a fearsome restaurant vocabulary (thus breaking the stranglehold of shashlik on my diet – hah!) and my idle bus chit chat was becoming first class. How many children do YOU have, sir?
One final reason to press on: this part of Georgia – Adjara – is home to the most ridiculously greasy khachapuri of the lot. It tastes amazing – but you effectively age five years with every one of them you consume.