We woke to rain but considered ourselves lucky that the rain came on a day we would spend mostly in the bus and we had enjoyed good weather when we were hiking.  The road to Zugdidi was narrow, winding and bumpy and we progressed slowly.  Often we had to stop for cows in the road. We admired a huge reservoir behind a dam that generated much of Georgia's electricity.

We drove past acres of hazelnuts and got to Zugdidi for lunch.  I found a street vendor and bought two kilograms of hazelnuts.

We drove past Georgia's main port called Poti and eventually arrived in Batumi.  In Soviet times Batumi had been a busy resort attracting many Russians.  When I was last here there were very few tourists and not much to do other than swim at mediocre beaches.  Now there was an elegant walkway along the shoreline, a large ferris wheel, a modern glass building offering 360 degree views of the city, a strange sculpture that rotated as two figures merged and then separated, bicycle and scooter rentals, dozens of shops and many other attractions..  It was a dreary day but the rain stopped long enough for us to explore the city for a couple hours. I rode on the ferris wheel and went up the glass building (called the "Alphabet Tower" because of the Georgian letters surrounding it) to admire the view.  I found a shop where I could buy a nut cracker for my hazel nuts.  But it was not a great day for pictures.

The view from the ferris wheel and Alphabet Tower.

We appreciated our modern hotel and dinner restaurant that contrasted with our more basic accommodations in the mountains of Mestia and Ushguli.

The next morning we got back in the four wheel drive vehicles we had used to get to the mountains of Svaneti and headed for Vadzia.  click here

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