We’ve been to Batumi, the rapidly-developing city on the Black Sea coast, many times. In fact, we spent our first wedding anniversary at the luxurious Sheraton hotel in Batumi, basking in the hot showers, English-speaking television channels and outdoor swimming pool.
At that time, though, Batumi felt a little…strange. Lacking cohesion. Not quite “there” yet. For example, we’d walk past a five-star hotel and next door would be crumbling Soviet-era street art. Entire streets were flooded for days after heavy rains. The beautifully paved sidewalk would disappear under muddy tire tracks before starting again 500 feet later. We could kind of, sort of, see the potential (potentsiali – პოტენციალი) as a legitimate tourist destination, but it just wasn’t there yet.
Nearly six years later, we’re happy to say that Batumi – again, as a tourist destination, as the city itself is thousands of years old – seems to be coming into its own. It’s like the city has outgrown its awkward teenage years and has emerged as a place with a ton of charm.
The Batumi boardwalk was really lovely, and, unlike our first trip, very busy. It’s great to see so many different types of people using a public space: from tourists (like us) enjoying the view; to families, teaching their kids to ride bikes; to the elderly, exercising or just sitting on a bench, talking with friends. With views like this, how can you not want to spend your time here?
Thank you, Batumi, for the lovely, relaxing, beautiful time.