From Ushguli through Mestia to Batumi

Halfway on our way to Svaneti ,using the alternative dirt road, we had to find a place to sleep. We ended in a homestay in Tsana. I don’t think I ever slept in a hotel room as big as this one. Their were four beds available but we were the only guests that night.

In the morning we had breakfast and made a small walk together with the grandchildren to the top of the hill overlooking the village where there was a small church. The older boy rang the bell a few times. We were told only men are allowed to do so.

After this small walk it was time for us to hit the road again and go to Svaneti. Meanwhile, we got the information that the road was open all the way to Svaneti. We said goodbye to our hosts and went back to our car.

A few hours later, we arrived at Usghuli. Ushguli is located in the mountainous Svaneti region. It’s a community of villages and is recognized as the highest settlement in Europe. (2,086 to 2,200 metres above sea level) While all other visitors arrived from the south, we arrived from the north side of Ushguli. It’s a unique place in the world.

The old buildings in the Ushguli villages are part of the UNESCO Heritage site of Upper Svaneti.

We didn’t spend so much time in Svaneti. Next time I would at least spend a full day here to walk through the villages and go hiking in the mountains. However there was still plenty of places we had to see in Georgia.

So we started the descend towards Mestia. Mestia is a city with around 2600 inhabitants. Large parts of the city have been renovated and a lot of hotels are now available. The city lost some of its authenticity but they were needed to attract a bigger group of visitors.
We went for a small walk in what seemed to be the older part of the city. We found a watch tower that was open for public and where we could climb up the roof. We had a great view on the city and could see more people sitting on the roofs of other towers.

From Mestia we took the road to Zugdidi. It’s obvious why this route is the recommended route. There is asphalt from Mestia all the way to Zugdidi. At some places it has already been destroyed by the force of nature but overall it’s a good and fast road. Knowing this, I do not regret at all we took the hard and long alternative road to reach Svaneti. Being forced to drive so slow, you can enjoy the scenery to the fullest and we met great people in the homestay in Tsana.

The next place we want to visit is the Batumi and of course we want to see the Black Sea. We left the main road in Khobi. A small village between Zugdidi and Senaki. This road followed a curling river straight to the Black Sea. It’s a lovely road all the way to the sea. Big countryside houses with large gardens are scattered along the road.

We also found an old, but still functional, wooden suspension bridge (GPS: 42.266606, 41.754727) to cross the river on foot. It looked solid enough to try it out so that’s what we did.

Once arrived at the Black Sea, the road surface changed into gravel and took us along the railroad through a green area. We reached a huge river and finally we ended in Poti. A harbor city. Poti is partially located between the Black Sea and Paliastomi Lake.

There is a lot more traffic on this coastal road from Poti to Batumi. We hold a break at Ureki Beach. One of the most known beaches in this area. People come here for a picnic. So did we.

Just when we got back into our car, it started raining and didn’t stop for the next few hours. We spend some time in traffic before we finally reached Batumi. It was still heavily raining. We found a parking spot in front of the tourist information office. With our rain coats on we walked along the seaside. Unfortunately the weather didn’t allow any photos. We got a little hungry and cold too so we found in restaurant in the city center.

The rain had stopped when we got out of the restaurant. Good news so we could leave the city and go find a place to camp for tonight.

We drove further into Adjaria along the Acharistskali River. In the region, many medieval stone bridges can be found. We visited two of these bridges. One was a while driving of the main road, hidden in the forest. The other was very obvious along the main road over the Acharistskali River.