Batumi is only 24 kilometers away from the border with Turkey and only about 250 from Trabzon. The roads, particularly in Turkey, are excellent, but still it took four hours fom our scheduled departure, for me to walk into the door of my hotel.
In part, this was due to a Georgian smuggler having to distribute his many ciagerettes throughout the nooks and crannies of the bus I was traveling in. And although customs stopped us some 10km into Turkey, he got away with it.
The industrious little city of Trabzon hasn’t got too much to offer for tourists, let alone something I missed six years ago. But it’s an active little town, not in the least for its popularity with shopping Georgians across the border or because of its role as the gateway to the Caucasus.
Also, where Georgia is more expensive than Armenia, Turkey is more expensive still, not even considering the cost of that forbidden fruit, beer.
Walking around downtown Trabzon is like going shopping in a Rotterdam suburb popular with Turkish immigrants, but with the shops and streets in better shape and the Muslim overtones being much less present. Virtually no tourists, but plenty of well dressed men and women.