A Travellerspoint blog

Day eight - apartment nightmare

An example of the pitfalls that travellers can fall into when booking accommodation

sunny 28 °C

After a quick breakfast we headed down to the bus station, two minutes away from the guesthouse. The other guests, a party of fourteen Polish people, had already left. Just before we left Nick got a message that the apartment we had booked wasn’t available until Friday even though it had been confirmed. First disappointment of the day.

We took the advice of our host and took the next bus heading to Khashuri. It’s only a 30 minute ride and a lot of buses go through there to Gori and Tbilisi, so more choice. Apparently, Khashuri is a bit of a transport hub. The Marshrutka we were on was a real bone shaker held together with gaffer tape but the driver managed to squeeze everyone on including our three big cases. The transfer to the Batumi bus at Khashuri was easy as there are always people around who seem to act as touts for the different buses, directing you to where you need to go.

We went straight from one bus to another trading the ancient bone shaker for a new van. Although the journey would be around 5 hours, including a stop, it was at least going to be a comfortable one. We think the bus had come from Tbilisi as there were some families travelling from there to visit relatives on the coast. There were several children on the bus, we couldn’t imagine doing such a long journey with young ones crammed into a vehicle with no toilet. One of the young boys could speak English and told us he was travelling with his grandmother to Batumi as it was school holidays. We hadn’t really been aware that we were in the Georgian holiday season as it hadn’t impacted on our visit so far.

Just outside Kutaisi we had a lunch and comfort break before carrying on to the coast, dropping people off and picking others up en route. Although there is a danger that you might not be able to get on a bus, the practice of only going when full, seems to be better than running a timetable of half full or nearly empty buses. It was interesting trying to work out what some of the interchanges between passengers and the bus driver was all about. There were a few occasions when the exchanges were terse and argumentative. We have no idea what was being said. Generally speaking, Georgians seem to be quite even tempered but we did witness a blazing row between two bus drivers before we had set off at Borjomi that looked as if it could come to blows. No idea what that was about either.

As we travelled we sought out other accommodation and found what looked like a perfect place with two bedrooms in Gonio - a town south of Batumi. However, when we got to Batumi and after running the gauntlet of the taxi drivers who circle like vultures at the bus stop, we discovered that the other apartment we had booked also had issues. Two problems in one day? This had never happened before with booking.com. We were offered alternative accommodation that was supposedly better than the first. We got a taxi driver who wasn’t trying to fleece us like one of the other guys, and we set off for Gonio. When we arrived at the apartment, it was on a housing estate of six storey blocks with no amenities nearby - far from the tourist area so no restaurants or shops or anything. It just did not feel right - we spoke to the apartment owner and told him that we did not want to stay there. We have no idea what the apartment was like but the location would not have been good for us, particularly as we would have to walk through an area that didn’t feel safe.

The taxi driver took us to an area called Kvariati which is at the southern end of Gonio. He knew a hotel but only one room was available. We were starting to feel a little stressed by then. We left Lindsay on the beach with the suitcases so that Nick and I could search unencumbered. We saw a sweet looking place close by called Villa Dolly - it looked very small so I was sceptical but they had two rooms available, both en-suite with a shared living area and balcony. There was even a washing machine we could use. Always a bonus for me.

Relieved at finding somewhere to stay, we sorted ourselves out before going out to explore and look for eateries. We were glad that we managed to find somewhere quickly as a lot of places aware already sold out because it’s holiday season according to booking.com. The beach - 3 minutes away with lots of cafes and several small shops strung out along the road, selling most of what we needed.

Nick and Lindsay went for a dip while I tried to get some mugs from our hosts. There is a kettle in the room but no cups - very odd and none were forthcoming. We managed to find a work around with the coffee jug and a couple of glasses in the bathroom. We had an evening meal in one of the restaurants close by. I had what I thought was going to be mushrooms with melted cheese but which turned out to be cheese and mushrooms in a wrap that was probably fried as it was incredibly greasy. I couldn’t eat it all so brought it back for the next day - we do have a fridge so all good. I also did a wash which was satisfying as the underwear stash was running low. I opted for bed rather than a stroll - totally exhausted after the stressful episode with the accommodation.

Posted by Cath_Greig 10:41 Archived in Georgia Tagged beach kvariati villa_dolly

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