Oh, what a sight: The Black Sea as seen from Yalta, Crimea at sea level.
Looking straight south toward Turkey. Do you see Turkey across the waves? Me neither. It probably has something to do with the curvature of the earth. Not to worry. Let's just enjoy the smooth rocks, the sparkling waters.
But first, a quick geography review. Where in the world are we?
We are in Crimea, the part of Ukraine that dangles into the Black Sea, the red arrow. Of course I'm based in Rostov-on-Don - and sometimes, whenever possible, 90 days out of 180, that's where I am - and that's the yellow arrow up there. But for the moment, we're in Crimea. Okay so we're settled on general location.
Flash back to the Black Sea: Here it is through poplar trees lining the path at a very nice resort that had been frequented by The Party elite over the years. Never been accused of being Party Elite, but we're allowed to stroll around for a bit.
Where exactly are we more specifically? Let's zoom on in closer.
My travel companions and I are on a whirlwind trip from Simferopol (1) the capital of Crimea, south to Yalta (2) and then back via Sevastopol. Care to come along for a few sights along the way?
Starting into the mountains, heading south toward Yalta. Or maybe we took a wrong turn and ended up in New Hampshire.
We. . . we. . . we: Who exactly is this editorial plurality?
Meet my traveling companions. Above from right are Zhenya and Elena, my dear host family here in Simferopol. They're the brave souls who have opened their home to five foster teens in addition to their own daughter. Far left is Ron, visiting from Missouri and in Ukraine for a couple of weeks. He has made many missions-related trips to Ukraine. We decided to escape the house while the kids were in school. So here we are, escapees.
More mountains as we head south toward Yalta. Notice the jagged rocks, the wires and tram lines. All part of the view.
Back to the sea through the poplar trees: The folks above might be descendants of The Party faithful. Wishing perhaps they could turn back the clocks to the glory days, long gone. Imagine they're thinking back to childhood days at this very resort, remembering when they got to stay here free-of-charge because of parents' position in The Party. Imagine they're distraught about the cash they're handing over for staying at such a place. And I have two words for those folks up there leaning over the rail. Don't jump!
Up closer, lovely. No sand here though, just rocks. They're smooth rocks but try walking on that barefoot. Lovely, nyet.
At the beach, we happened upon a gypsy. She seemed nice enough and even posed for a picture.
We asked her to sing a gypsy song from her homeland far away. Imagine our surprise when she warbled through Yankee Doodle for us, free of charge. In the end, we give her a few coins just to get her to quit the singing.
Moving right along. . .
We left Yalta and the gypsy woman, heading west and through magnificent rocky cliffs and landscapes. Take my word for it - we wanted to get photos. But that requires persuading the driver to stop the vehicle and. . .well, we did stop once to get the view above.
How about you dear blog readers - ever been to Crimea? When and where? If perhaps your family tree includes Party Faithful, please spill the beans. We want the scoop.