Freedom Hostel: Batumi

Unbeknownst to me prior to arrival, there happens to be a network of Polish-run hostels throughout the country Georgia. One of these was my hostel in Tbilisi (Why Not) and another is in the city Batumi, called Freedom hostel. Naturally, that is where I stayed during my visit. There was only one problem. I foolishly took a taxi from the bus station to the hostel, and as it turned out, the driver had absolutely no idea how to get to the place. We drove in circles for nearly an hour, narrowly avoiding several head-on collisions, before ultimately getting to our desired destination on a small, secluded dirt road. Thankfully, the driver and I already agreed on a price before I got in the cab so I didn't get over-charged.

 A royal welcome.

A royal welcome.

After that ordeal, things got exponentially better. The hostel was a comfortable place with a relaxed atmosphere and a nice balcony outside the main room, but that aside, the staff (just like Why Not) was awesome! Shortly after arriving, I was greeted by a very tall, bearded man who introduced himself as Tomek. He said he was the guy who runs the place and offered me an invitation to join him and some other guests who were all going to a nearby pub that evening. Naturally, I complied without hesitation.

It turned out to be a small, cozy local spot, just a couple minutes walk from the hostel. As we entered and Tomek walked through the door, the bartender's face lit up with joy. Tomek then went over to talk to the people working, and within minutes, we were served drinks and treated like we were family. Before we could even finish a round, they would have another at the ready (no swill for us!) It was a great feeling that continued on to the stony beach ad lasted well into the next day. This time, though, Tomek and the staff bought large jugs of beer for everyone and we all hung out outside the hostel and told travel stories together until the early hours of the morning.

From the second I arrived until the moment I left, I felt right at home and I couldn't recommend it enough. Fair warning on two things though. It is a difficult place for taxi drivers to find so make sure you negotiate a price before you go there or else they may just keep running the meter up on you. Also, these guys party hard. Not like the yelling and in-you-face hard, but the breakfast beer type of hard. It's all great fun, but if you're not prepared, your body is gonna really feel it after a few days. That said, the hostel is still amazing!

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