March 24

Had a nice night’s camping on a little patch of ground between the road and sea.  It’s always nice to wake up to the sound of the sea, and it’s even nicer to ride alongside it.  On our way to Georgia we had sheer mountains to our right and the Black Sea to our left and we just ate up the distance so quickly.  We stopped for lunch in Arhavi, near the border, at about 11am having done most of the route to Georgia.  The waiter was convinced that I was a millionaire, and asked if I had 10,000 Euros on my card for some reason.  My doubling over laughing at him seemed to convince him that I was probably not as rich as he suspected. 

We arrived at the border around 2pm and were able to blast through real quickly.  One more stamp in the passport and we were through!  There were four Georgian girls, working for the tourist agency, who were interested in what I was doing, and after explaining it to them I was able to learn my first words of Georgian, Hello (Gamarjoba) and Thankyou (Madloba).  As soon as we were over the border, the change was immediate.  People were paler, there were orthodox churches again and there was the beautiful Georgian script everywhere. 

Once we started cycling through the country, it became evident that the roads were super different in Georgia.  The road condition deteriorated pretty immediately once we were over the border, with cows wandering everywhere, insane drivers and plenty of potholes.  On the other hand, it was incredibly lush and green and a real pleasure to cycle through – the roads were pretty bad, but the drivers were surprisingly respectful to us as we rode along.  We arrived in Batumi at 430pm and stopped for a beer near the main square to find that Georgia was two hours ahead of Turkey, and it was actually almost 7pm!  After having a couple of beers, we decided it was a bit late to be cycling out of town, so stopped in a nice hostel and crashed.  Ryan and I went out for dinner and the only place we could find was a super fancy place.  It was surprisingly cheap, so we sat down for a three course meal which cost about 7 pounds then crashed out in our empty hostel. 

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