Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Swallow's Nest: Symbol of Yalta

The Swallow's Nest might be the most photographed sight of Yalta, in all of Crimea in fact. It truly is magnificent. Care to join me for a look around?

Last Wednesday, our tour bus stopped here on the main road for a glimpse. The next day while the physicists were busy with their conference, I hiked there on my own. It's 800 steps down, down, down and then way up to reach the castle and it's well worth it. Did I mention one young lady started the trek in 3-inch strappy sandals? But when I saw her at the castle, she was carrying her shoes and walking barefooted. More about her later. I'm getting ahead of myself.

Wednesday evening, we sailed past Swallow's Nest. The castle is perched atop a 40-meter cliff jutting out into the Black Sea.

At the base is a boat dock. Rock climbing, anyone? This neo-Gothic chateau was built in 1912 by an oil magnate, Baron V. Steingel. Imagine he climbed a rock or two getting this project pulled together.

Thursday at the Swallow's nest. That's me and believe me, I did not hike this wearing 3-inch strappy sandals. Not sure that I even own a pair nowadays. . .

Up close to the castle, it's not all that big, just 10 by 20 meters. There's the Black Sea in the background. Just don't look straight down: I did and my tummy did somersaults.

Looking east of the Swallow's Nest in the distance is Yalta.

Inside the castle is an Italian restaurant. Here's a shot through the window.

The Swallow's Nest was built in 1912 and survived a major earthquake in 1927. The quake left a major crack in the cliff but it wasn't until 1968 that the site was restored and renovated.

Here she is, the barefooted princess, strappy heels in hand after 800 steps. Still smiling though. Wait until she's 50-something. I'll bet she'll be wearing something sensible like lace-up oxfords or tennies. I'd bet the castle on it.

The cat of the castle, perfectly content. Can't blame him really.

One last parting shot before hiking back. Out of curiosity, I turned around. And behind me, I saw. . .

Ladies-in-waiting. Honestly. Could you help with a good caption for this view. . .

Your majesties! Have you taken leave of your sensibilities?

I don't have a thing to wear. Not a single thing.

1 comment:

Charity said...

Just beautiful, Eileen! The castle looks like something out of a fairy tale. You won't catch me making that kind of hike in sandals, though. I don't think I would have even at 20!

After all the travels you've been on, you need to compile your photos and write a book about Russia for tourists. You have a talent for capturing the scenery as well as aspects of everyday life that make it endearing.