2/6 – Got up early this morning to catch a bus – it is 3 degrees F! That’s mighty cold for a southern belle like me… We bought tickets on the 7:30am bus to Hopa, Türkiye, the last town before the Georgian border.
Based on our experience with Turkish buses, we did not wear our long johns despite the cold, as buses usually have the heat cranked up to 80. Just our luck, this bus had no heater! We sat and shivered for the first hour, until the sun started to warm things up. Of greater concern was the driver, who, without a defroster, kept splashing lemon cologne on the windshield and rubbing a little circle to see out of!
Once the windows cleared, we were treated to some great mountain scenery, reminiscent of Nevada or Arizona.
We also got to see some of the strange sandstone formations for which Cappadocia is famous.
We rode for a while along the river.
We arrived in Hopa by 12:30, and took a cab to the border, where Türkiye bade us farewell.
And Georgia welcomed us in!
As we waited to get through passport control, I noticed that these folks don’t adhere to the western concept of orderly queuing – there was a knot of people in front of each border inspector, and they jostled for position, trying to cut in front of others without making eye contact. You know this New Yorker wasn’t having any of that! Today was good practice as we move into Asia.
I was struck with the things people were carrying over the border – big bottles of laundry detergent and all sorts of household goods in plastic bags. Is Türkiye that much more prosperous than Georgia?
A half hour minibus ride got us to Batumi, where the weather is 65 and sunny. Hallelujah! We can put away the long johns for a while! A former Soviet city, Batumi looks like it is gearing up to be a Black Sea beach destination. Lots of new construction on the waterfront.
When we checked our iPads, we discovered we’d lost two hours of time instead of the one we expected when we crossed the border. We are now 9 hours ahead of home. Solution? Go out for supper, instead of lunch!
We had supper in a Ukranian restaurant right across from My Warm Guest House (yes, that’s the name of our hotel!), where the menu was printed in Russian, Georgian and English. Thank goodness, as I don’t expect to get the hang of reading Georgian anytime soon. It all looks like Ms and 3s to me!