8 Jun 2022

Tbilisi, 8 of June, 2022


Transitions are states of uninterrupted chains of layers that we go across somehow.

The nostos it is, in its more simple terminology, a/the return to somewhere we [used to] belong.

Travelling can also be simplified as a movement that aims at a change of location at a specific time and for a specific purpose.

Recently, after two months of absence, I returned to Tbilisi from Italy.


I opted for a double, quicker, nostos: one back to Italy: a country that feels like an abstraction but is an essential part of myself; the other to Georgia a place in which I am experiencing a long transition on how I experience myself.

In the middle of this two countries there is an important land border that stretches all the way from the Black Sea to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea: we could call it Middle East, Mesopotamia, Babylon: an enormous patch of land that dissolves Asia in Europe and vice versa.

Travelling by land was a way to taste this dissociation from one to the other.

And while many could argue that Georgia shares European values, this was not always been the case, since the Caucasus represents an important arena in which this two geographical burdens do not fully disappear.

\ The first stop from Tbilisi was Batumi.

An adrenalinic ride of 7 hours on a martshutka: a jump into the lushy subtropical forest of Georgia.

\ Four months before, my winter attempt to transit via Batumi was met with a snow storm that doubled the time of the trip, had us stuck in the ice, had us stock in the snow, had us push the vehicle out of those situations in the middle of dark and trafficked roads.

Other series of bad events kept me away from crossing the border and invited me to return to Tbilisi.

\ The spring attempt was smoother and this time Batumi did not look like a miserable city under the pains of the bad weather but as an indulging place from where to say good bye with bitter sweetness.

Crossing the border with Turkey from Georgia is so easy that deceits the traveler into believing that borders are just a mere formality.

The black sea coast does not hide many secrets: Georgian language is still spoken or understood as we move away, and the monotony of the mountainous forest eliminate the idea we are transiting into a new country: only the change of the alphabet is a clear sign.

Crossing the border between Georgia and Turkey is so easy, so familiar, that it difficult to understand why we are so obsess with them, the borders.

It is a fast transition: this side of the Black Sea is nothing but an extreme version of blind urban pollution of the coast: of new and bigger roads, numberless and uglier buildings, fast and unharmonious built mosques instead of churches: everything feels more or less as a grotesque version of a Potemkin Village.

I move: nature has been devoid of its purpose, and urban development feels like an excuse to achieve short term political and financial gains.

\ Trabzon seemed reduced to a touristic attraction, and in my case just a launch platform to other extremes.

\ I spent my night in the quiet mountains of Ugurlu, at the house of an older man who host travelers often, who travels himself every couple months, who has a small garden where he grows plants to sell.

My host, N., does not speak a word of English, but many of German, and uses google translate to communicate important thoughts, and gestures to emphasize others.

Although I only spent one night, he exchanged useful information for my upcoming trip: I was not, however, very enthusiastic of being in a space that remind me of another and in which I could not communicate at all but with my phone at hand.

In the morning, I missed the bus to the City Center but was assured I could hitch hike back to town: the hitchhike never happened, no driver was willing to take me this round, and, as less and less opportunities to hop in a car went by, I walked instead to the city.

I saw how the eco monsters, and the monstrous highways were slowing climbing the mountains almost as if Trabzon was really transforming into just a local attraction in which was not worth to live: many touristic and franchising shops around the center, similar restaurants every hundred meters, a sense of monotonous chaos felt extremely boring and anxiolytic.

It was hot, it was noisy, I was difficult to concentrate on a city that underwhelmed and in which there was no reciprocal intention of properly get to know.

When I reached the otogar, the bus station, few hours afterwards, I did not have to wait for a bus straight to Erzurun across and o top of the mountains: a more vivid border into the most conservative Anatolia and a gateway into Kurdistan: Ramadan started the day before, and I was heading towards the middle east.

I could have not have imagined how recurrent two apparently innocent coincidences would have influenced my whole trip.

To be continued.


#traveling  #turkey  #georgia