Batumi is the second largest city in Georgia, Europe. It is a place so closely associated with the legend of the Golden Fleece that the statue of Princess Medea stands there, yet the reality was that the Georgian people lived in poverty.
Speaking with a Georgian lady, born in 1982 who lived with her family and grandparents, she told me about growing up in her home country. The house had no electricity, the household water was collected from the nearest well, the crop fields were used as a toilet because the outside shed was too scary and even though she had a keen interest in art from a young age, pencils were not available and so her hobby became to draw the people around her using charcoal. The worst times hit Georgia in 1991. In 1999 her family decided to move to Russia in search of a better life.
The city now uses its history to attract visitors.
Georgia has now turned around from those bleak times to become a new, up and coming tourist destination, attracting visitors from across Europe, raising the spirits of the Georgians and making them proud of their country.
Situated on the coast of the Black Sea in the South West of Georgia, the generally mild climate has temperatures soaring up to 40°C in the summer. The warm hospitality of the locals is inviting.
The Georgian gastronomy is tasty and inexpensive. Some specialities are made using the traditional Georgian cheese, nuts or spices with many beef, chicken and vegetarian dishes available.
Development is still underway, including the construction of modern buildings similar, to those of Barcelona. Prices, so far, have remained low compared to other tourist destinations, accommodation can be just a few pounds per night. Russian, English, Turkish and Polish are widely spoken alongside the Georgian language.
Walking around the city and venturing down the side streets is said to be the best way to explore the medieval churches and sites, local shops and restaurants. Many visitors watch the Ali and Nino statue at sunset or visit the exotic flora at the botanical gardens.
Waterfalls, history, mountain walks and picturesque views can all be found at the Mtirala National Park, just a short distance away from the city.