In Australia, international borders are very uncomplicated. Once you reach the ocean, the country stops. Over here, things are a lot more complex. Armenia has closed its borders to Turkey, Russia has closed its borders to Georgia, and Azerbaijan has closed its borders to Armenia. Within Georgia itself, there are three autonomous regions – the infamous South Ossetia, as well as Abkhazia and Adjara (spelled Ajaria on the map below).
Image from newzar
We weren’t able to visit South Ossetia, as the borders are still closed and it is not considered safe. However, we were able to spend a lovely day by the Black Sea in Batumi, the capital of The Autonomous Republic of Adjara. Our guide told us that they manage all local politics and issues internally, but international decisions are still made by Georgia.
This is the most popular holiday spot in Georgia, with a long stretch of (grey pebbly) beach lined by cafes, restaurants, and apartment blocks. We ate our lunch in a bungalow, looking out across the water appreciating the cool breezes that mitigated the heat. There is a million-dollar statue of Medea holding Jason’s Golden Fleece in the main square, and we wandered through the park watching children running through fountains in the bright summer sun. Happily, this state seems to have found an equilibrium that permits autonomy of its inhabitants while allowing integration with Georgia.