Making the News in Georgia

“Its pishing rain still”

“I know”

I sat on the edge of my bunk bed, Connor was sitting on his. An old friend from when I lived in Scotland, we were travelling together these days and currently in a backpacker hostel in Batumi, Georgia. Not the Georgia in the USA but the one beside Turkey for all you geographically challenged people.

It had been raining now for two days straight, pelting down. The kind of rain that would make Noah build an arc.

“What’ll we do?”

“Buy a boat”

I said, half joking but half serious.

“Alright then”

Connor said seriously.

A half hour later and we’re soaked to the skin standing in a toy store that had a boat in the window a couple of blocks from the hostel , I spotted a picture of a blow up boat on a box.

“Boat, how much?”

The shop assistant looked confused, a curly haired, middle aged lady. She walked over to the window and pointed at the boat used in the display. Then she drew a 30 Lari (13 Euro) with her finger on her hand. We bargained with her and got two plastic oars for free and off we went, feeling chuffed to now be sailors.

Myself and Connor sailing
Myself and Connor sailing.

An hour later we were drinking beer and floating up and down the flooded street outside the hostel. The locals were splitting their sides with laughter when they seen use, shouting encouraging words in the strange Georgian language and taking photos. At one stage a Georgian Student around my age arrived on the street,

“Want a boat ride?”

Connor and I had an old-school boombox travelling with us, he put on some romantic music and I pushed my new Georgian friend, a pretty girl with curly hair (all Georgians have curly hair) around the block on my boat. I held an umbrella above her and it was all Venice style in the rain. Some elderly lady came up to me with a glass of home-made white wine and all, really setting the mood.

Then Connor got pulled around town in autopilot by a local in a jeep and I retired my oar, I was bloody freezing.

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Someone must of sent footage of my sailing to the local news.

If you watch the youtube clip I’m in the first clip after the presenter finishes talking to the camera.

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Driving into Georgia with UK or Irish Car

Driving a UK Car into Georgia

There is little to know information about driving in Georgia with a UK car or Irish registration. So I thought I would share my own experience being a sound punter.

Basically I came across the border between Trabzon and Batumi in a Peugeot 206. Some of the regulations which were needed for driving in Turkey (insurance, fire extinguisher etc.) had been meet (not all).

The car was British and under my Scottish friend Connor’s name (UK license) and my license is Irish.

At the border I had to get out of the car and go through customs separately, only one person is allowed to remain in the car for some strange Georgian reason. I quickly came across with little delay and waited for Connor.

We had been expecting to need to buy Georgian Insurance as we did in Turkey however that wasn’t the case. In the end Connor said he was asked for evidence he owned the car. He handed over the log book which the border police-woman looked at briefly (she couldn’t speak English). Then his passport was stamped with a car stamp and on we drove.

That was it! No fee.

We ended up selling the car in Georgia too after the engine seized in a flood and hitchhiked back to Turkey.

Our worries about the lack of a car leaving Georgia with us (seen as the passport was stamped) never materialised. The police waved us on without any questions.

So there you have it, Georgian police most likely won’t care what you drive into their country.

 

Hitchhiking from Batumi to Trabzon

Hitchhiking from Batumi to Trabzon

Trabzon and Batumi are two popular seaside towns among backpackers. Mainly because the Iranian embassies in either town can provide a visa in just a few hours without any required documents other than a passport (or so the rumours say).

This was my first time hitchhiking in Georgia.

hitchhike trabzon

 

When I was leaving Batumi I began walking from the town center in the direction of the Turkish Border with a Scottish friend named Connor. hitchhike Batumi

We started hitch-hiking after a fork in the road with a sign for Turkey.

It took around 30 minutes to get collected by two young Georgian guys driving to the border in a convertible.

Overall Rating : Good

Waiting Time : 30 mins

Its a strange border with Turkey, all passengers of cars (except the driver) have to exit the vehicles and cross separately.

After keep on walking up the hill to the right and you will pass people selling corn on the cob and then a Mosque. You can hitchike by the Mosque as there’s space for cars to pull in.

The traffic is slow but frequent enough, use a sign for Trabzon or some other town along the Black sea. It’s probably possible to catch a lift direct to Istanbul.

Overall Rating : OK

Waiting Time : 45 mins

hitchhiking to rize

From the border we got brought to Rize by an elderly Turkish man.

We kept walking along by the sea on the right side of the motorway from the city center until we saw space for a car to pull in and began thumbing again.

Overall Rating : OK

Waiting Time : 1 Hour

From here we were brought directly to Trabzon by a Turkish guy in his thirties who spoke fluent English. He explained to us a lot about Turkey’s past and also one or two Turkish words, the Turks are very proud of their language and history.