An afternoon at the Black Sea, in two locations quite different from each other.
It is time to explore the Black Sea. Before we settle in Batumi for a few days, Batumi with its gravel beaches, we check out the black sand of the area further to the north. With our monster – our rented 4×4 – we have no difficulty reaching the somewhat remoter beaches of Ureki. In all fairness, quite a lot of saloon cars have parked on the beach, too. There are no facilities to speak of, here, no chairs, no parasols, no showers. No beach bars or restaurants. No screaming ghetto blasters either. There are a few people, fairly far apart, all self-sufficient. The water is nice, warm. The black sand is supposed to have healing properties, but like the Tskaltubo spa waters, it fails to deal with my persistent cold.
After having burnt to death, in a little less than 30 minutes, we move on, trying to follow the coast. The nearby small resort town of Shekvetili gives us a different view of Black Sea beach life. Full of facilities, here: children’s fun parks and a forest of beach parasols. Not really our cup of tea, but good for colourful photographs. Yet, no regrets that we are not staying here.
By the end of the afternoon – after having negotiated Kobuleti, that other quintessential beach centre along the Georgian Black Sea coast – we reach the outskirts of Batumi. Any discussion whether Kutaisi is still second city seems superfluous in the midst of end-of-the-weekend traffic jams. This is a real city.