The bus to Hopa is not at the terminal. I ask at company ticket office and they say to wait. Another bus of the same company comes. I ask. They say it will come. With 10 minutes delay (Erzurum is the departure station) it appears. We are 4 passengers and 3 employees (driver, ticket controller and luggage/clean employee).
I’m tired. Drunk too much tea yesterday. The hotel room smelt too much the cigarette and I couldn’t sleep.
The bus travels at a speed of a car in a mountain road, cutting every turn. We go over a 2000m pass before going down until the sea. Quickly the snow goes away. The road follows a gorge. I read that a big dam was built and the original road is under water. The new road is like 80% tunnels. Outside the tunnels the landscape is amazing. They serve tea and biscuits in the bus. On a police checkpoint they ask the ID of every passenger. Arrived to Artvin the people look different, more rural.
We arrive to Hopa. I walk the kilometer between the bus terminal and the dolmus – vans for smaller connections. The driver of the dolmus to Sarp says we will leave in 10 minutes. Sarp is the border.
Lots of women with big black plastic bags or luggage with products they take to Georgia. I think it is clothes. At the Turkish border control, I think they don’t know how to queue. After a long corridor is much more confusion on the Georgian border control. While I way glued to a guy with a bicycle and a fishing rode, on another “queue” people scream and looks that someone fainted. Water bottles and police come. I try to stand my place. The border guard looks suspicious about my Swiss passport. He looks every page to make sure it is not fake. At the end he stamps it. I get some Georgian Laris out.
I look for transport to Batumi. A taxi driver says where the marshrutka – same as dolmus on this side of the border – are. Then points to the city bus that just arrived. I ask one guy that is about to board to confirm. He nods and says I need a travel card, pointing to a kiosk. I run, buy the travel card and run back. The same guy with Google translate lets me know that the card that cost me 10 Lari/3€ can be used in 6 more journeys.
In Georgia is one hour later. I go out the bus randomly near the center and look where to buy a sim card. After I reserve a room and walk to the hotel. Batumi is quite big, there is a new, renovated par near the sea, with big extravagant buildings, and the old part with very old building, and street market like bazaar. Several signs are written in the Georgian alphabet, in Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. There are a lot of Russians and Turks tourists.
The hotel does not have elevator and the room is in the 5th floor. I go out walk. I look where I’ll have to pay for the boat. I see it is two days late. I will not arrive home without flying.
I walk to the sea, touch the water. The beach is made of rocks. I look for a restaurant. The first is too slow and I get out. The second is empty downstairs and there is probably a party upstairs where loud music comes from. The server is very nice and explains me how to eat the Khinkali – dumplings – traditional here. I buy the train ticket to Tbilisi on the phone. I found a couchsurfing host.
Next Stop: Georgia (Tbilisi)