Our first few days in Batumi were spent walking around just getting our bearings. As we learned when we first arrived in Batumi, it’s not all that easy to get around on foot. There’s an excessive amount of tourists here during the summer, and traffic is horrendous! Crossing the street, here, at a crosswalk, can be a dangerous undertaking since many of the drivers will not stop. They’ll simply weave around you as you are trying to make your way across. It doesn’t appear that there was any plan for the massive building construction going on all over the city, and it makes finding your way around even more difficult.
We did manage to find two great restaurants, near our apartment, that offer superb Georgian wine and cuisine, for 20 USD, for two people. We frequent either the Sazandari or the Manzinai restaurants, each evening, for dinner, finding it more convenient than cooking at the apartment without an oven. Since the food portions are very large at these restaurants, the entrees are placed in the middle of the table, along with extra plates, and are meant to be shared. Our favorite typical Georgian dishes include, Khinkali, which is a dumpling that contains meat, potatoes, or cheese, barbecue pork, chicken, lamb, or veal, grilled vegetables, Caesar salad, served with local cheeses, and Khatchapuri, which is a cheese bread that resembles a pizza. I also really enjoy the green beans with walnuts from the Sazandari restaurant. When I first ordered the dish called Pkhali, I was expecting sauteed green beans with walnuts. When the server brought the dish over with three mini casseroles, covered with tiny, red, berries, I thought there had been a mistake, but she assured me it was what I had ordered. The green beans are ground up into what tastes like a pate. It was delicious!
There are plenty of open-air markets stands all over the city that offers fresh fruits and vegetables. We go to the ones closest to the apartment where we can buy our eggs and bread for breakfast, and our favorite fruits such as, peaches, apples, grapes, and blueberries. The first time we visited one of the market stands, I noticed a green, pointy, fruit, with a round bottom, that I had never seen before. I asked the clerk at the stand what they were. She didn’t know the name for them in English, but she googled it, and the next time we went back, she told me that they were figs. I had never seen fresh whole figs before, but apparently, they grow on trees, here, throughout the city. I bought some from the stand, and when we got back to the apartment, I had to google how to eat them. I didn’t know if I should peel the skin first, but after watching a video, I learned that after removing the stem, you can eat the whole thing, seeds and all. In the past, the closest thing to this delicious treat that I ever had were Fig Newtons.
Churchkhela, a famous dessert on a string, is also sold at the market stands here. I enjoyed it so much the first time I tried it, that once again, I turned to Google to learn how it was made. Walnuts or hazelnuts are threaded with a needle, on a string. Flour, sugar, or honey, and grape juice are mixed on high heat. Next, the strand of nuts is dipped inside the mixture and coated. It’s ready to eat after drying for several days in the sun.
The stoney coastline is beautiful here, and we like to lounge on the beach on our days off from the gym. We usually rent two chairs for $3.00. Chair pads and umbrellas are also available, but we usually don’t bother with them. The umbrellas are flimsy, and the one time we did get one, we got burned anyway. Now we go to the beach later in the afternoon, when the sun is a little less intense. I like to bring a notebook to the beach to write in, or my Kindle when I have a good book to read. Sometimes my husband and I just like to chat and dream about our next destination.
Most days we like to have breakfast at our apartment, then we head to the gym at about 1:00 pm. We started at the Aspria Fitness Center, on a Sunday, two days after we got here. We didn’t want to wait too long to resume our workout routine, because when we do, it’s harder to get our stamina back. We’re pretty happy with the new gym. They don’t keep it as cool as the sign says they will, but the equipment is good, and by going for two days, then taking a day off, we get a good workout.