Crossing Turkish border to Georgia

Sunday July 21 2019

By Nafha Maani Ebrahimi

There are some times that you decide to get out of routine and habits, and in process maybe turn what could be an easy route, to one full of challenges.
So we decided to cross the Turkish boarder to Georgia by car. Well, the bus that brought us to the boarder, dropped us on the Turkish side and we had to walk to other side, on foot!
Having two suitcases and two carry on bags, did not make it an easy affair. The border is actually like a terminal building with long corridors and moving belts that do not function at some parts, so there was a lot of pulling and pushing and being summer time, there was a sea of people trying to go through immigration and customs.
We left that behind and got on board a taxi towards Batumi, a Georgian Port city and resort on the Black Sea, it is a popular destination for many tourists. With the usual Arab population consisting a big number.
Our final destination was Tiblisi, and the plan was to purchase train tickets for that route, unfortunately, there was not one single ticket left for the next day, disappointed, we went for plan B and booked Bus tickets, having severe motion sickness, it’s my least favoured mode of travel.
For the little time we had, we booked our hotel in front of the Waterfront promenade. We took a long walk watching the fishermen trying to catch their dinner, children running around, youth riding bikes and a new phenomenon that we did not see much in Turkey, beggars had a prominent presence. We sat down for an early dinner, my first encounter with Georgian cuisine.
Basically, everyone will ask you to try the Georgian barbecue, Khinkali (dumplings) and the most famous is khachapuri , which is bread and melted cheese, looked like a pizza to me. We went for another typical dish that was made from red beans in a sauce, accompanied with a corn bread, I swear at some point, I thought I was eating Ugali and bean sauce.
Georgia is also well known for its abundant mineral water sources, water here tastes great and in the hotel we were offered limitless access to free water bottles.
After dinner, we walked on the waterfront boulevard, looked for a place to have some tea. When tea arrived, and with the first sip, it donned on us, that we have crossed the border from a country known for its tea culture , Turkey, to one more known for its wine and beer, not consuming alcohol and the teetotallers that we are, we have to find our own tea sources.
Next destination: Tbilisi !