Georgian Beach Getaway: Gonio
Русская версия To relax a bit after a long travel around the Caucasus, from Mestia we went to Georgian seashore. Before the trip, we read a lot of reviews of different sea resorts, chose Gonio, and did not regret later. Today we will tell about Georgian Black Sea, sun, wine and, again, hospitality.
Marshrutka from Mestia to Batumi started at 7.30 – not too late if one considers that its departure was scheduled to 7.00. The road back was again along the river, this time – down. The dense fog did not bother the driver: he did not even think of driving slower. Just to remind: a week before our visit, a car with a family fell down into the river and was not even found.
Having reached Zugdidi, the driver announced that the marshrutka would not follow to Batumi, as it was half-empty. He offered to return the part of the money we paid which should have been enough to pay for the separate marshrutka Zugdidi-Batumi. But it was going to depart after two hours only, so we were losing a lot of time. Other few passengers were also unhappy with the deal, so, after some negotiation, the driver returned enough money to take a shared taxi for five passengers of marshrutka. That is how we finally went to Batumi. Some passengers got out of the taxi before Batumi: they decided to stay at Ureki beach, famous for its black sand. It also seemed a very cheap place: they immediately found a room (at the market where the driver stopped) for 25 laris for both of them. We went on to Batumi, to take another marshrutka from there to Gonio.
Gonio is situated 15 kilometers away from Batumi, and there is a lot of transport between them. Accomodation in Gonio is cheaper, and the sea is cleaner than in Batumi. The first hotel we tried frightened us off by its 150 laris price, so we decided to ask for the private rooms from the dwellers of Batumi – the choice of those is immense. Very soon, we found a great room for 25 dollars a day only.
This street is opposite “Piramida” hotel.
The owners, auntie Luda and uncle Kolia, turned out to be absolutely amazing, and we made good friends. They treated us as if we were their children, took less money from us at the end, and helped in all other possible ways (for instance, allowing the access to their washing machine, or lending an umbrella for the beach). We totally recommend their place to stay. Once it had a view on a sea, but then the hotels rose in the front. Anyway, the sea is just 7 minutes slow walk from them. With their recommendation you may also go for free to the beach at the hotel belonging to their relatives.
Auntie Luda and uncle Kolia also gave good advice on entertainment. Thanks to them, we discovered absolutely amazing place to eat in Batumi – khinkali house on the crossroads of Lermontov and Pushkin streets. It serves a lot of great Georgian dishes, with khinkali, perhaps, the best. We went to this cheap restaurant every day, sometimes twice.
Gonio is situated not far from the Turkish border, and Turks come here to buy cheap cigarettes and alcohol, so Gonio has a lot of alcoshops. Georgians and Georgian tourists, in turn, go to Turkey to buy clothes and bed linen.
Uncle Kolia showed to us a very interesting “Nikolaev’s road” leading from Gonio to the border town Sarpi and its beach. The road was built during tsar Nikolai’s rule, and the modern highway between the Nikolaev’s road and the sea was built much later. Walking on the Nikolaev’s road, we had a lot of raspberries and saw only a couple of cars and herders.
And this is the view opening from the Nikolaev’s road to the modern highway:
Does anybody know what it is?
The monument to the botanist Nikolai Portanier, who died here tragically (falling down) during the botanical excursion:
A view of Turkey:
There is a mosque on the Turkish side and an Orthodox church on the Georgian:
A beach at the border:
The beaches in Gonio and around are very clean and do not have too many tourists. The only negative side is that the beaches are a bit rocky: if the waves are strong, it is hard and dangerous to swim. Inexperienced, Nastya went to the sea on the first windy day, fell on the stones because of the wave, breathed in water and was quite frightened, and Vitya who ran to save her, tore his sandal. It took us a while to find a shoemaker in Gonio and to repair the sandal; buying a new pair of descent shoes was not possible there either.
We spent four quiet and wonderful days in Gonio swimming and sunbathing in the morning, visiting Batumi during the daytime, then again swimming and drinking wine at uncle Kolia and auntie Luda’s veranda in the evening. Next time we will tell about the entertainment available in Batumi and one of the best places for Georgian food we found there.