October 26th: We took a share taxi (us and six other passengers in a minivan) up to Tbilisi and settled back in to the Green House Hostel.
October 27th: We spent the day walking around Tbilisi and taking it easy. We bused to the train station and bought tickets for the that evening’s overnight train for Zugdidi. We stopped for lunch at Fabrika, a funky looking hotel/shopping/eating area with the same owners as the Rooms Hotel in Kazbegi. We had DELICIOUS burgers from Pipes Burger Joint (in Fabrika).
Back at the Green House Hostel, Maia and Alex had the fire going so we read by the fireplace until it was time to catch our train.
We were disappointed to learn they don’t provide bedding, but we settled in and got a couple hours of sleep.
October 28th: The train arrived in Zugdidi at 6am. Marshrutas were waiting to fill up and head north to Mestia. It didn’t take long to fill up and we were on our way!
We checked in to our Air BnB and were so happy with the view looking out at the river, towers, and mountains.
After checking in, we went out to find food and explore.
The area of Svaneti is famous for many things, including the towers found throughout the region. A combination of rough geography, spread out population, and blood feuds meant that each household had their own tower. The towers were used as a place of safe refuge during attacks, of which there were many.
October 29th: We hiked up to the giant cross 900m above Mestia. We had a choice of two routes: a gentler grade walking up a switch-back road or a steep grind up the hill-face. We chose the latter. From the cross, we continued towards Koruldi Lakes but didn’t reach them. We decided the views were good from where we stopped and that our knees were tired 🙂
We went back for more lobio from Lanchvali Cafe 🙂
October 30th: Our legs were sore! So we took it easy. We read, strolled, sat, ate, etc. It was a beautiful day.
October 31st: We spent the day traveling, via marshrutkas, to Batumi. In total, we waited about 2 hours for our buses to fill up. The Air BnB we rented was perfect; it was close to the beach, had a comfortable couch and chairs to sit on, and a washing machine!
November 1st to 4th: Batumi is a very easy city to relax in. Accommodation and food are both cheap, which makes it less stressful when it comes to making decisions. The waterfront walking area stretches for 6km and is a really nice stroll. There are lots of interesting buildings to look at, including a few where you wonder about building codes and workers safety. We spent this time walking and relaxing and doing laundry 🙂
We really enjoyed our time in Batumi. Next up, Turkey!