Three years ago, as I came to Batumi for the first time. I fell in love with the city. The first idea to move to Georgia popped up on the beach of Radisson Blu hotel, between a huge ajaruli khachapuri and farewell walk through the old town with my good friend Sergo.
After this I made more friends in Tbilisi – even Sergo managed to move back to there. And Batumi managed to spoil the first glorious impression with immense amounts of nasty guys looking for fun on every corner, huge contrast between its cultural life and cultural life of Tbilisi, and with taxi drivers who demanded 5 lari/km saying “You are not in Tbilisi!”
Though, my warm feelings to Batumi revived in 2015. New interesting places have been opened, summer and fall festivals are promising a multifaceted entertainment program, and new architecture finally settled in my head and stopped irritating. “The summer capital of Georgia” became, let’s say, a hip place. I explain why.
- Cycling culture
In my opinion, bicycle is the most hip thing after beard, Converse and Ray Bans. While the whole Georgia is buying huge cars, people are ok with two wheels in Batumi, riding nice green city bicycles with a basket along the boulevard, which is pretty similar to an airport runway. Palms on the left side, sea on the right side, or vice versa, salty breeze… The Georgian West Coast understood how to be eco, bio and trendy! Especially after a fair portion of sinori or borano, fat delicious Ajarian specialties.
- Street art
Again, 2015 is the year of street art blooming in Batumi. Smart beautiful graffiti cover the walls, which used to look quite miserable before, contrasting with moldings from the 19th century. Above mentioned beard, Converse and Ray Ban glasses suit well to those painted walls. Or you can even survive without them… Which instagram filter do you prefer?
- Bizarre architecture
Heart of Batumi’s ambivalent nature, its skyline can not leave you unimpressed – in a positive, on not very positive way. But anyways, it is possible to imagine yourself in #NYC or #AbuDhabi, drinking your #icecoffee among the skyscrapers. Especially on a beautiful terrace, feeling #summertimesadness and almost welcoming autumn (#helloseptember)!
- Music and arts
Projects like BoomBoom Beach and talented DJs as Lasha (Guruli) turn Ajarian electronic scene from hopeless to promising. After all, fierce dances and soulful polyphony shouldn’t be the only treasure of this fruitful land!
Moreover, the annual Black Sea Jazz Festival together with festivals of theatre and art house cinema, pianos at the street, book cafes (I love Gardens and BK, and Rusudan Petviashvili’s Art Cafe and Gallery looks also very good) make Batumi an interesting destination for those who prefer something more than beach vacation only.
- Designer shops
Being sincere, the concentration of shops and ateliers of Georgian designers in Batumi is unexpectedly high. You can meet both bigger brands like flabour or Anouki, and less known names too.
- Scenes for Polaroid
There are so many small details in Batumi, that just need to be captured at the old school Polaroid pictures! Of course, you can do it with modern gadgets, but… you know what I am talking about 🙂
Foamy coffee “Batumi style” brewed on sand, giant handfuls of mullets and mussels at the fish market behind the sea port, seagulls and striped shirts, fishermen and old boats, laughing children with eyes like black olives; bare feet on warm pebble, sun in the hair and in the smile of your loved one, sunset at the sea, city lights, dances next to your friends till dawn, and watching Black Sea slowly waking up in the morning… This petite sailor’s name is Ira, she was my guest from Kirov, Russia <3
Yeah, despite of its bizarreness, lack of logic and too relaxed inhabitants, Batumi is worth of returning back again and again. Even if you don’t have beard, Converse and Ray Ban glasses 🙂
P.S.: For more photos and texts, please check out my fb-page or simply browse the categories of this website 🙂