Georgia is a very interesting country to explore. It has been developed in under seven years, since its turbulent history.
Our young guides talked of horrific childhood memories, seeing men with rifles on the streets.
They’d been raised with no electricity and no TVs. Then they had electricity for a few hours in the mornings and the evenings.
Now, the country has been cleared of corruption and it is visibly developing rapidly, but controlled.
Our trip from Batumi Airport to the hotel would have taken far less time if our driver hadn’t stopped to shake his fist and hurl abuse at any car that drove beside him, in front of him, or anywhere near him.
batumi-gerrgia01Strangely, he was remarkably patient as he weaved in and out amongst the cows that seem to have right of way in the road. But as soon as he spotted another vehicle, all Hell broke loose.
Like a fool, I sat at the front. I instinctively braked when we approached the cars ahead, but he seemed to use them to stop, then he shouted and swore at them. We missed them by a cigarette paper.
Relieved, I staggered in to the hotel room and laid down with a cold flannel on my head!
It poured in the night, but it was hot and sunny again by breakfast time.
The Black Sea is almost level with the Mediterranean. The weather is hot for most of the year. But you can ski in the mountains.
After breakfast I went out to explore.
Walking around Batumi is difficult in places as up till now it has had practically no roads or pavements. And the existing ones are in a terrible state of repair.
I watched a fashionably-dressed young woman walking, or rather staggering past me. She had hoop earrings, a crop top, cut-off pants, and very high heels. She looked drunk as she tried to walk straight on the rough pavement.
There is work going on along every road, or that’s how it seemed. Piles of jigsaw-shaped paving slabs are stacked everywhere, with groups of men frantically fitting them together, in between breaks to discuss their work and watch the world go by.
Batumi is great for shopping, or just browsing. There are small shops everywhere. The clothes are often made locally. Prices are very low, and most shops and supermarkets were still open at 10.30pm. Some were open at 2am!
In one tiny shop that sold everything from swimwear to jewellery, I bought a pair of flip-flops and a lovely perfume for about £2.50 each.
batumi-gerrgia11The shopkeeper squirted the perfume in the air for me to try it, and then she rummaged in a dusty box for the carton. I pointed out that the perfume wasn’t actually new now, but she didn’t understand what the fuss was about. She finally reduced the price a bit.
The seafront isn’t very appealing yet, although it’s very clean. But you can view large plans of what’s going to happen, and there are bags of sand ready to cover the beach. There’s a lot of construction going on, but I was assured that the building will be limited.
Some of the blocks of flats look, well like blocks of flats! But at night when they’re lit up on the outside, they are completely transformed. Very impressive.
While sightseeing, I had to be discreet and tactful. A lot of the older residents still have a primitive fear of being photographed. Luckily I have a small camera that I can point and shoot without offending anyone. And everyone was very friendly, helpful, and curious about where I was from.
The Georgians are a very good-looking race, with black hair and long lashes. Despite the huge amounts of food that they consume, I didn’t see any overweight people.
Oh, the food! Just picture Spanish tapas for rugby players. Plate after plate appears on the table; all freshly-made with local ingredients, which is wonderful for me as I’m allergic to chemicals and preservatives in our food.
When every gap on the table has been filled, the main hot courses arrive. We worked out that the Grande Finale is always the chips! batumi-gerrgia19After being caught out several times, I learned to just taste a small portion of each dish.
Sitting outside one popular restaurant I had a lovely large, tender steak with gorgonzola sauce for 11 Lari.
One Lari =approximately £1.
In a heavenly peaceful setting in the middle of nowhere, we were serenaded by a polyphonic group while we ate.
Only men can perform it. They sing unaccompanied, in harmony. Each song starts with a traditional toast, followed by copious amounts of local wine.
It was one of those simple, but wonderful occasions that I’ll never forget, wherever else I go.

Mako Abashidze
Director
1 Poultry,London EC2R 8JR
e-mail contact@bgcc.org.uk
Tel +44 (0) 2035449402
Mob. +44 (0) 7771622288
www.bgcc.org.uk

Georgian National Tourist Administration
4 Sanapiro Street
Tblisi 105
Georgia
www.georgia.travel

About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd www.andrewsuk.com No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.