Crimea Chronicles

Welcome to my Epic Crimean Adventure™!

Are you curious about Crimea? Contemplating a vacation there? Wondering why millions of Russians (and some Ukrainians) go to Crimea every summer? Heard of the place for the first time ever in the 2014 news bulletins and wondering where the heck it is on a map? You’ve come to the right place for the answers to all of the above.

Crimea. Image credit: Nations Online.

Crimea. Image credit: Nations Online.

On this blog you will find the do’s, the don’ts and the how-to’s of Crimea travel, as experienced by a Crimea newbie over the course of 18 days. You will be overloaded with hundreds of photos from the region’s cultural sites and natural wonders. You will learn what to eat and drink (spoiler alert: EVERYTHING), when to go, and what to bring back with you. What you won’t find here is 1) politics and 2) pictures of shirtless President Putin on a tank, so if that’s your thing, you will be disappointed.

There. Feel better? :)

There. Feel better? 🙂

Without further ado, let’s get you started!

Why would you want go to Crimea in the first place? I went to ride horses, write a novel and have an adventure, but you might want to go for the wine, palaces, museums, mountains, sea, sand and sun.

Wow, I’ve already convinced you to give Crimea a try? Please feel free to email me about the essentials you should know about Crimea (I will update this page with them in the future): when is the best time to go, how to get there, where to stay, what to bring with you, how much it will all cost you, and what kinds of amenities you should – and should not – expect when you arrive. But just so that you go in with your eyes fully open, here are some not-so-glamorous things about Crimean travel (along with some highlights, but we’ll get to a hella more of those in a second).

Before we settle in for a journey through Crimea, let me ask you something: are you hungry? If you are, here are the kinds of deliciousness you’ll be able to enjoy if you were in Crimea right now – in its restaurants, at farmers’ markets and while wandering around. Oh, you weren’t hungry? Well, after checking out those posts, you will be!

And now for the main course. Please join me on…

Day 1, as the road from the airport in Simferopol – Crimea’s capital city – takes me to the sea and the village of Novy Svet, cutting across many varied landscapes;

Novy SvetDay 2, as I get used to my very, um, “rustic” accommodations and being woken up by birds at 5 am;

Cabin in the pine grove of Novy Svet, CrimeaDay 3, as I embark on my first Epic Adventure, get stuck on a side of a mountain, but eventually make it to an elusive, exclusive – and technically closed to the public – beach, beloved by a Russian Tsar;

Tsar's Beach and Bay

Day 4, as the writer in me gets awakened by pink sunsets and red wines, both served at my favorite beachside café;

Day 5, as I voyage across the Black Sea on a pirate ship, accompanied by dolphins;

Sailing Novy Svet Black Sea 4Day 6, as I cuddle with a baby tiger AND a baby lion, and watch two big lions duke it out over a lady lion at the Taigan Safari Park;

Lion in the Taigan Safari Park in CrimeaDay 7, as I go on a 30-kilometer horseback trek into the mountains near Sudak, and share some salacious Crimean folklore about fornicating aristocrats;

Crimea Sudak Panorama 2Day 8, as I venture out to Yalta, Crimea’s resort capital, to check out the whimsical Swallow’s Nest castle and ride a funicular that is in essence a free-swinging bucket;

Yalta Swallow's NestDay 9, as I introduce the three main ways one can ensure a pleasant stay in Crimea (spoiler: Massandra wines, Novy Svet champagnes and Koktebel cognacs);

Champagne tasting in Novy SvetDay 10, as I visit the colorful Bakhchisaray Palace of the Crimean Khans of the Ottoman Empire;

Bakhchisaray Palace interior

Day 11, as I hike up to Chufut-Kale, a medieval mountain fortress and cave city;

Ancient temple in Chufut-KaleDay 12, as torrential rain takes over my vacation, giving me an excuse to drink more wine and do more writing;

Process StoriesDay 13, as the rain of Day 12 sabotages trips to Mount Ai-Petri and Livadia Palace;

Novy Svet beach in the rainDay 14, as I jump into the Waterfall of Eternal Youth at Dzhur-Dzhur and get a bit rage-y with winy hikers in bedazzled outfits;

Rapids of Jur-Jur. Pool that washes away the sins.

Rapids of Jur-Jur. Pool that washes away the sins.

Day 15, as I think that I have been suddenly transported to the underground Kingdom of Moria (but in fact am still standing in the main chamber of the Mammoth Cave);

Emine-Bayir-Hasar - The Great Hall 1 - CopyDay 16, as I resolve to buy the charmingly weird Vorontsovsky Palace for my country home;

Vorontsov Palace exterior Asia Minor palace - CopyDay 17, as I get soaked in a downpour while on a boat to Crimea’s Golden Gate and Kara-Dag volcano, and have to save myself from imminent demise in the hands of the elements by consuming copious amounts of Port in Koktebel;

Kara-Dag 4Day 18, as I catch some fish as I sail off into the sunset, and say goodbye to Crimea.

Sunset on the Black Sea

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8 thoughts on “Crimea Chronicles

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