Day 12

12. May 2000, Trabzon to Batumi

The route seems to be getting more endurance than speed now. In the morning we continue to drive along the Black Sea through the last of the Turkish cities with tea factories and lots of attention paid to us by schoolchildren and people on the street. The Turkish newspaper "Milliyet" ran a story about Team Busch today so we find time to buy and read the paper.
To cross into Georgia is slightly complicated with a few forms to fill out but a lot easier than expected.
Coming into Georgia, one immediately notices how one is entering a different country: The architecture is different, people are different, clothes and cars are different, churches instead of mosques and even the vegetation is slowly changing into something different. Georgia has strong natural borders through its mountain ranges in the north and south. They are also the cause of the almost subtropical climate in the coastal region of Georgia: Palm trees, bamboo forests, many wild azaleas, etc.
The natural mountain and sea border must have done its bit but communism must have been the main force of separation between the neighbouring Georgia and Turkey. Still there is some Turkish influence in the south-west of Georgia. Many petrol stations claim to be "Petrol Ofisi" with a picture of a red dragon head - a popular Turkish petrol brand.
Also many goods are imported through Turkey and when we end up discussing with a Georgian policeman, he uses some Turkish vocabulary (although we are not sure whether that is part of the language or he was trying to make us understand).
We had accidentally filmed the police headquarters in Batumi and the policeman asked us to erase those scenes: Obvious remains of the Soviet empire. We obliged with his request and he was very polite about it, still they should realize that if someone with bad intentions wanted to film police headquarters, he could easily do so without being noticed.
Batumi is a nice old sea resort with old buildings, most of them run down but some nicely renovated. It seems to be popular with the Georgian "high society" as we see many big Mercedes or BMWs. Batumi is also the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara (part of Georgia), so this night all rally participants were invited by the President of Adjara to a cultural evening in our hotel. The evening provided us with Georgian and Western dance and singing and we were honoured to be received by the President. It was interesting to hear that our rally was the first ever international motor sports event in Georgia. Team Busch also received a price from the Republic of Adjara for the "most travelled family".

TC 51: Trabzon OUT
TC 52: Mahmutoglu
33 122.25 km
TC 53: Batumi IN
33 87.30 km

Overall 37 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

Again, along the Black Sea

An old Georgian fortress

pebble beach in front of Batumi

Many nice old buildings in Batumi, some of them nicely renovated

The port of Batumi

Georgia has its own language, its own religion and its own alphabet (see bottles). This probably has to do with the fact that it is protected by mountain ranges north and south.


On the route, many rivers flow into the Black Sea

Shortly before the border

Batumi, towards the beach

Our hotel, the Casino Praha has probably seen better times

The car of choice in Georgia: Lada in all colours

The colour of choice for clothes in Georgia is definitely black