Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Crimea: Part 3

Another huge bit of our traveling were dedicated to finding ports. For submarines or boats or cruisers.  It tickled our historic fancy and allowed us to see cities of all sized tucked around the water industry.

 Day 3 Continued: 
The submarine port in the city whose name I forget! 

This was when I realized how far from my village we were.
My entire town could live inside that red and white building. 

The museum was closed but we took a look at the submarine entry point. 

A old wall sculpture. 

Sevastopol Boardwalk. 

Street card game.
These guys heard our English and decided to take a crack at their language abilities.
They showed off their card skills and we taught a few vocab words.
Our job never stops! 

Sasha the piegon catcher. 

A new statue dedicated to the Great War. 
 After our long and final day, we picked up little Anna and cooked a grand fest for her. No one could have known how hilarious Big Anna and Little Anna would be together. Fast, forever friends. 
Little Anna, who is bashful and quite, got a little help from Big Anna to present our evening entertainment. 

Best Friends. 

Sam and Anna creating a 'Sasha' out of magnets. 

She was so proud of her artwork! 

Day 4: Birthday Breakfast! 
Our last morning in Crimea was my 24th birthday.
I ate a lovely breakfast of french toast and chocolate cake!
I am one lucky lady.

The Crimea: Part 2

Our trip continued by visiting ancient castles and the monastery Sasha used to run tours at. The history of the Crimea is so accessible and so rich. We reached the castle below in Sudak after a two hour whiz down the coast just in time for sunset. The girls and I got to go in for free even though the place was about to close for the night. We raced to water line to grab the last bits of light. The guys joined us later as we wandered through the empty, open meadows within. 

Day 2 Continued: 
The castle on first sight. 

Just inside the gate. 

Enjoying our moment of glory. 

Evening sets on the Sea. 

The Black Sea at Sudak. 

Being silly! 

The city of Sudak.
I want to live here for a while. 

Meadow forlicing. 

Realizing we probably should get home now. 
 Day 3:
 Cave Monastery outside of Bahchisarai. 

From the chapel entrance overlooking the current construction. 

One monk making his way up to the cattle area. 

Three local ladies leaving the chapel. 

Looking up at the chapel entrance.
Each stone of this wall represents a different monastery in a different city or country.
The small, dark section at the bottom of each stone is a glass box that contains earth from each site. 

Walking up to the former home of the Kurds. 

Just inside the defensive entrance. 

Inside the possible cave month of the town priest? 

Sam enjoying the built in windows. 

The view for the top and back of the Kurd village. 

I do not remember the name of this village with only entrance point but
I want to live there.

(The blue shadow on the horizon is the Black Sea)

Trees preparing to bloom. 

The Crimea: Part 1

As Spring eagerly arrived in Ukraine, my friends and I set off for a short spring break vacation on the Crimea to visit our Ukrainian training teacher, Sasha. Due to his hospitably, apartment, and bright yellow car, we saw some grand sites of ancient castles tucked away among mountainous sea sides. It was amazing. We climbed a few hill sides, river beds, and switch back roads like true adventurers instead of sunlight famished tourists. Spending days staring at a golden lit Black Sea from high cliffs was a welcomed shock to my small farm, dirt road routine. 

Of course, having my closest friends snuggled in a train car or back seat with me made the trip near perfection. After hours and hours of transport together, we discovered our spirit animals, aura colors, favorite songs, favorite movies, took a lengthy yet incredibly accurate personality quiz, developed new card games, which actor/actress would play us in a movie, picked out future spouses for each other, recited all the food we will eat when we return to America, etc. To say these people are "a breeze of fresh air' to me would be cliche but accurate. Fresh air that wraps all around me to mess up my hair. 

Day 1: 
First sights in Crimea after train station pick up.
Anna leading the way into the forest. 

A short river hike near Bahchisarai, Sasha's hometown. 

Sasha was far too thrilled to be able to yell his favorite quotation "You shall not pass!"
on a real bridge with a real scepter. 

Snow Drops: early signs of Spring 

Branch Battles 

Anna showing off her limbo skills to win the Branch Battle. 

Caitlin conquering a rock and the rest of the forest. 

Our first sighting of wildlife. 

Channeling their spring animals: a baby polar bear and a honey badger. 
Day 2:
Pit stop on the road to Yalta. 

Footsteps of mountain side chapel.
(I was told the multiple locks on the gates are too ward off evil spirits.)

We reached this mountain chapel after a solid 15 or 20 minutes of continuous switch backs.
In the Yalta harbor, I spotted a cruiser from Phnom Penh.
My mind drifted away to warmer, summer memories. 

The tallest ATM yet. 

The dudes enjoying a moment of welcome sunlight. 

We wanted to touch the water since it was too chilly still to get in. 

A little sea dance. 

On the road again to Sudak and its castle. 

Another church pit stop. 
 Caitlin and I got double frames of the same road side stop. 
My photo of Caitlin and Sasha. 

Caitlin's photo of Sasha.