2000 "memoirs"

    We are going to Crimea again. Natalie is going too, at last. There were some difficulties which prevented our trip but all of they were successfully gotten over by our common efforts. We packed up our rucksacks, prepared the food for train and start, at last,  to the Kursky station building. Believe me, this station is most incoherent from nine Moscow railway station buildings. You never can find what you seek for at once there! And train goes immediately after another one  there. We were very happy to find our train in time and placed in our compartment for four people. Our fellow-traveler was the man more than 55 y. o.  who was traveling with his wife and son in the different compartments. They simply bought their ticket too late.  Maximum period from buying tickets to start railway trip is 45 days in Russia. If you go to the book-office for 46 days before trip you cannot buy tickets. And If you go there for 45 days before trip the tickets have ended yet! (Joke like true)
Natalie went to buy the returning tickets for 45 days and didn’t buy them. Next day I had to go to the book-office. I took the list of all trains that go to the all Crimean towns. When I asked for tickets on the best train from cashier I heard that there were not any good tickets on that train. Than I said I have a big list of trains and have enough time to see places in all of them. After that tickets were sold to me in two minutes. And there were enough good places. Our single railway’s compartment (first class) has four places – two bellow and two above. It is closed with the sliding door. You can only lie on the upper places . Class deluxe has two places with the common toilet room for two adjoining  compartments. Such carriage has 18 places for passengers. First class has 36 ones, second –54 and third –81. Last two types haven’t single compartments. Our carriage was enough old and hadn’t the air-conditioner. Thanks God the weather was not too hot that time.
    You can choose from two activities in the train – to sleep or to eat. (Joke). Storage of food is better to take from home because of the prices are too high in the restaurant-carriage. Also you can buy any meal on the railway stations where many people sell different food. There is a single income for most part of those people. Someone is very hard to find good job in the provincial Russian towns and cities. Mike very liked the cabbage cakes and Natalie and I liked the new boiled potatoes with dill.
Also you can watch views through the windows, but mostly you can see only the trees that grows along the railway. Sometimes you watch the opened space with roads, villages, churches, large fields, etc. When train goes through the Ukraine nearer to Crimea it pass the great area of the water – artificial water reservoir. Another shore of it almost not seeing in some places. And you can see the same water  from another side of train, but it divided to single parts by ground crests. And there are many fishermen there in the boats or on those crests. Our train goes on the same crest with several bridges on it. Then train goes away from artificial sea and continues its running to Crimea.
After hour and a half you can see the water space again. But it is real sea with the salt water. Crimea joins with the mainland by several narrow stripes. Shores are very indented and sea very shallow here. That sea has name Azovskoe. It joins with Black Sea by narrow strait. Going there you can see the dried-up salt on the ground. Further the steppe Crimea begins. Land there is flat plain without water supplies. It covered with dry yellow grass. But you can see many fields with artificial irrigation systems. Many different vegetables grow there. After next hour passed you can see the mountains far from the train. Sometimes they like clouds at the horizon. But our train turns towards west and mountains stay behind us. We go to Evpatoria which situated in the west plain part of Crimea. it was 10 a.m. when train arrived to Evpatoria, but it was too hot after the cool Moscow.
    So we arrived in Evpatoria – town which is situated at the western part of Crimea.  This town is one of the largest towns of Crimea. About  100.000 inhabitants live there. ( About 350.000 inhabitants live in capital of Crimea – Simferopol. This city is the largest one in Crimea.) Evpatoria is situated at the low cape – height of place no more than 20-30 meters above sea level. Inflows and outflows here is almost imperceptible and sea here is very quite in the good weather. Waves is very low at summer. Of course, the autumn and winter storms are strong here and height of waves reaches several meters.In the Soviet Union’s time Evpatoria was the children’s resort. Children with the diseases of the nervous system got the treatment and good rest there. Resort buildings are coming in decline after the disintegration of the USSR - as about all life in the countries those were previously republics of the Soviet Union. Previously the Evpatoria’s sand beaches was very famous by their sizes and white cockle-shell’s sand. But now the beaches reduce every year. That process had the beginning since the channel was dug into peninsula for some naval forces’ object at lake Donuzlav. Sand is transferred from beaches to the channel and lake makes them shallow. Then sand is deleted from channel and lake and is sold… for construction needs though that sand is worse for construction. Each year the process is repeated. Now the waves reach buildings at the quay during the winter storms. Though the huge underground stores of the excellent water is situated near Evpatoria – the water moves to the town twice a day – from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m. This situation is connected with the shortage of money to pay for electricity.
When you approach to Evpatoria along the railway or highway (they go near each other) you can see the sea on the left and salt lakes on the right. There are huge grey stacks of salt near those lakes. Streets of Evpatoria have many tall trees – such as platans, acacias and lianas which rise along the walls of blocks of flats. It is the defenses from summer heat – the temperature reaches above 40 C in shadow in July and August. And there are many sunny days here at summer. The air here is dry as on about all territory of Crimea. Main street in Evpatoria goes far from sea and parallel with the shore. It is crossed by the street which goes from railway station building to the center of quay. Many little summer shops are concentrated along this street, especially in its part which is situated between the main street and quay. You may buy all necessary there – from meal to winter wear. There are many currency exchanges at the same street and near the big supermarkets and outdoors markets. They changes the US dollars, German marks and Russian rubles. Currency of another countries you can change only at the bank.
Several bus’ routs go through the town. But the main transport is the tram. The trams go along the streets through the all town, but don’t reach the quay. Tram’s rails end for one quarter before quay. The excursion tram exists here, which runs on town and you can even order the meal and have it during the excursion. Magnetic tape tells you about places tram passes.
When you reach the end of the street following to the sea you appear on the quay. Through the 100 meters on the right you can see entrance to moorage for excursion boats. Boys and girls like to jump from it into sea. Couple of private yachts are there too. The territory of sanatoriums begins further on the right. It includes the beach and garden around the building of each sanatorium. Beaches are protected with metal trellised fences extend from moorage to the town seaport facilities. I think those beaches have extent more than 1km. There are enough conveniences on those beaches such as tents and plank beds, cabins for changing wear, showers and toilets. But quality of those conveniences is far from the European ones. At the each entrance and along all the quay you may buy meal and drinks. Also the inhabitants go through the beach all the day and offer meal and drinks – bottles of cold beer or sweet water, cakes with the different stuffing, salted withered fish and boiled shrimps, etc. If you want you can order the hot dishes and they will bring it straight to your place on the beach. Many people earn money for all year such way. The beach for tourists who arrive here by the cars is directly behind the seaport. It is equipped with places for car stop and tents, has a reservoirs with water and toilets. Tourists spend all time on that beach – they sleep and have a rest into the tents. This beach has a name “Golden beach” – such inscription is on its gates. There are so called “wild” beaches behind “Golden beach”. Such beaches haven’t any comfort – you must bring all you need with you.
There are many tourists firms in the town. Their clerks sit straight on the same street I have mentioned above. The cars drive very seldom in that part of street which comes from main street to quay  – it is for people going to beaches. Of course, all the traders and clerks sit at the shadows of the big trees those grows along the street. Mostly such firms organise excursions for 14-16 tourists, sometimes only for 8-10 persons. But the excursions for 25-35 person have place too. Choice of the trips is very various – from visit the vine store with tasting vines to hiking walk through the Grand Crimean Canyon. You can visit all famous towns and palaces, caves and steppe reserves, sea bays and cave towns, etc. Cost of the excursion may be from $1 to $10 (US) for one person. Firms give enough comfortable buses to go far from Evpatoria and (as I consider) very good guides. We heard their tales with the great interest, at least.
    Anybody arrived Crimea more than three days must get the registration and pay money for it. Cost of registration depends from if you have relatives there or not. If not – you have to pay enough more. We paid about $2 for person because have an uncle and aunt there. (We saw my aunt-cousin Nina last time – alas, she has died in the end of November).
We were at Evpatoria only two days, were swimming at sea and having the sun bathes. Natalie and Mike had too much ones – therefore they had burnt a little. I bought on the bus station tickets on bus from Evpatoria to Simpheropol next day after arrival. You can reach any corner of Crime no more than 3 hour from Simpheropol bus station . You can use the bus, taxi, trolley or local train for that purposes. If you have enough money and haven’t any patience to stand at the queue – you will use the taxi. It will be cost maximum $30 (for all family). If the taxi driver would find the fellow traveler – you can save some money. ($30 US is our total family earn for about two days of working.)
When you are in Evpatoria in summer season – you must made all your businesses before midday because of the terrible day’s heat.  It is better to be at sea and sit under the shadow after 10 a.m. Therefore we start our trip to the South Coast at 7 a.m. We went to bus station with our rucksacks and take our seats in the bus to Simpheropol. There were many people at the bus station in that early time and all of they go by buses to different places of Crimea and also to another regions of Ukraine. And I saw the bus to Moscow at the timetable.
    Our trip lasted a little more than hour and a half. Firstly bus went through the plain steppe between the sea cost and salt lakes. Then we passed the town Saky where the chemical industry is situated. That industry processes the products obtained from salt lakes – bottom ground, mixed of salts, etc. Further the fields, fruit gardens and  vineyards were beginning. You can see inhabitants from nearest villages who sell the “gifts of nature” – fruits, vegetables, water-melons. The best water-melons I know - are the Melitopol’s ones. (Melitopol is the town is not far from Crimea at the continental part of Ukraine.) The area is beginning to change since we come nearer to Simpheropol – the hills are appearing and then you can see the output of white and yellow stones on the hills. And then you suddenly see the mountains standing far at the horizon.
    Soon we arrived the Simpheropol. This town lays on the plain which is rounded with hills. Those hills consist of limestone as all mountains in Crimea. We saw the hills, which are preserved from erosion by making the terraces on their slopes and planting the pine-trees on they. Simpheropol is a big town and has many different industries – from confectionery products to mechanical engineering plants. Simpheropol has Simpheropol State University and several similar educational institutes, several theaters, bus and railway stations and airport. Town transport are represented with  the trolleys, trams and buses.
    So we arrived to railway station’s square. Here are also situated the trolley station but those trolleys don’t go along the city’s streets – they go to Alushta, Yalta and Sevastopol – towns on the South Coast of Crimea. I never saw in another regions that trolleys go from one town to another – I always thought  that they only for usage in the towns and cities. That trolley rout crosses the Main Crimean mountain ridge along the road which was constructed in 60th. This road is enough good and beauty but it needs many money resources for its maintenance. Trolley trip to nearest town – Alushta (and first point near the sea on those rout) spends about two hours. Taxi passes it from 50 minutes to 1hour and 10 minutes and cost only about $10 for person. Because of the great queue for trolleys tickets we had to take the taxi. Then we started trip through the city towards highway Simpheropol – Alushta. There are many interesting places on that highway. This is the Cold gorge – place where the temperature of air is lowest than in all places around it – in the any season of year. Difference may be about several degrees centigrade! Another sight is the Kutusov’s fountain – near the place where Kutusov lost his eye. Legend says that water of that fountain saved Kutusov’s life. You can see also the trace of the great stones landslide (which destroy village in 1928), Valley of Phantoms and “Head of Katherine Great” on the west slope of the mountain South Demerdgy. And about all time you drive along the highway – you see the mountain Chatyrdag (it another name – Tent-mountain because of it shape likes the huge tent). Legends and history meet you at each kilometer of highway.
    Then, you can see the sea below and town Alushta at the bottom of the mountains after next turn of the highway. But we don’t drive to Alushta – car turns to the left and starts to dodge among the mountains. As our taxi-driver said this road have only two turns – left and right and doesn’t have any straight lines. Thank God we must drive only 22 km to our destination – village Malorechenskoe (“Little river”). You may imagine that serpentine because the distance along the straight line is only 9 km. At last, road lowered directly to the sea, we went through the village Solnechnogorskoe (“Sun Mountain”), crossed the hill and drove to the Malorechenskoe.
    Because we came in the peak of the season – it was very difficult to find the free apartment. Firstly taxi-driver drove us to the place we stayed last year. But both rooms were busy for several days, at least. Then we started to drive along the streets and find the room. After approximately fifteen minutes we was awarded – lovely women agreed to give us the room for more than fourteen days. I had another plans and wanted to visit several places in Crimea but Natalie decided that will be better if we would spend almost all vacation here. Further events showed that she was absolutely right in that decision!  
    Owners of the room was the pair about the similar age as we and they had two children –girl and boy of thirteen y.o. Difference of age between them was only ten months.  Husband Anatoly worked as engineer at the local vineyards facilities and his wife Svetlana worked as seller at the shop before the crash of the Soviet Union. Now they hand over the rooms for people having a rest, grow the fruits and vegetables for selling, hold the hens for eggs. Anatoly also drives their own car as taxi-driver and has a foreman’s duty of the group of the such taxi-drivers. They keep their yard and rooms in cleanliness and work in the big kitchen-garden. Children help mother to keep all facilities. Those activities is the single income for all family. In several last years they built two-floors house for rent. The south side of that house adjoins to the similar house on the neighbour’s plot and has blind wall. Two rooms (each for two peoples) of ground floor has doors and windows into yard. Also garage (on the right side) and outdoor kitchen (under the roof on the left side) are situated on the ground floor too. First floor has three such rooms (for three peoples) with the doors at the gallery. Windows and doors look at the north and it is very pleasant because the hot Crimean sun looks into the room only after five p.m. and hides soon behind the mountains. There is the kitchen without walls but under the roof at the left side of first floor. Stairs is set from ground to the middle of the gallery. The gallery is protected by a handrail. Owners had just finished to furnish two rooms of the first floor when we arrived there. Third room wasn’t furnished yet. In each room you can see couple of pictures which owners' daughter Nina painted. She has a big talent in art, I suppose, because pictures were very beauty and Nina never study to draw from teacher but only herself. Also she paints flat stones with any views of the Crimea – parents sell those hand-made articles at the local market. They also get some income for family. Parents send Nina this year to study at the artist’s school in Kiev (capital of Ukraine).
    Also the shed remade for habitation stands at the middle of the yard. It has two rooms – one for two persons and another for four ones. All people, which stays there use the kitchen on the ground floor. There are refrigerator, gas stove with four burners, sink with the bucket for dirt water under it and two 40l tanks stand at each kitchen. All village has not sewerage and the water supply works only several hours per day. Water is submitted here from the mountain river without any pumps! We paid for our room $6 per day.
Owners also live here at the house  of three rooms and outdoor kitchen. There are many grape vines, several peaches, pear and quince trees at their yard. And I saw here how the pomegranate grows first time. There are two palm-trees near the gates - both of they were planted when the children were born. Only single grade of palm-trees may grow here in Crimea.
Kitchen-garden occupied with the red hot onion (kind Yalta’s), tomatoes and cucumbers. Toilet and shed for hens are situated at the far right corner of the yard.  Svetlana said us that she and Anatoly will build the bathhouse and another toilet this winter – for more conveniences for people which stay here. And prices for rooms will rise after that. It seems they have a circle of people who go here constantly and get habitation for new people with caution. People we met there was good and enough benevolent. Even the inhabitants of Western Ukraine which never likes Russians.
    We was lucky got this room – it weren’t any problems with Mike’s asthma there. And we spend splendid time. The strong downpour had begun at the evening that day we arrived. And Natalie was very upset with that circumstance because we have enough rain at Moscow and it was no necessity to go so far and have the same weather we had at home. But Svetlana said us that next rain during this season of the year will be no earlier than three year will pass. She was absolutely right and when the thunderstorm was at the mountains – even one drop doesn’t fall on the village.
    The sea beaches near Malorechenskoe stretch for about 3 km between the cliff ends. Artificial beaches are strewed by fine shingle and are divided by breakwaters near the settlement . The mooring for small passenger’s ships is situated here too. You can buy the ticket for sea walk here. The walked boat make couple tourist’s voyages per day. The width of artificial beaches here are about twenty five meters. Then the wide quay is situated. There are many snackbars, cafe and small restaurants there. Behind the quay the buildings of sanatoriums stand into the parks with different beautiful trees. Anybody can pass through those parks towards the road which goes along the coast and divides settlement on two parts. Place where the settlement is situated is a valley between the mountains and inclination is not very big here. At least, you would not feel any weariness when you will return from sea to your place if you will not go very fast, of course.  Buildings of hotels and sanatoriums are situated at the ends of the artificial beaches and at the middle there is main street with the houses of “aborigines”. There are many little shops there which sell different goods for visitors from food and drinks to pictures and sea souvenirs. You can find couple of snackbars here where you can get the homemade dinner – enough taste and not so expensive as in restaurant. We had the remarkable dish “solyanka”  (the kind of hot tasting thick soup of vegetables and meat) there. We like this dish very much but cook it at home very rarely. Upper, behind the road the most part of settlement is situated. You can find the couple of sanatoriums, little bank, settlement market, park with the ruins of the “house of culture” (building where concerts, theatre performances, dances, solemn assembles had place in time of the USSR. Now people who sell the fruits and vegetables sit on its stairs) there. Also there are book shop, post office with the telephone cabins, drugstore (pharmacy) and four food shops there. In general, the settlement looks as place where live poor people. But many  families has own car here – in the USSR car was the attribute of the prosperity.
Right (west) part of the artificial beach ends with the cliff, on which you can climb straight from beach. If you go to the east you pass the end of artificial beach and then continue your trip along the narrow strip of the beach. You have sea on the right hand and mountains’ foots on the left hand. Between the sea and the foot sometimes no more than 2-3 metres. Stones on the shore are bigger than on the artificial beaches and you can see many large stones at the sea near the coastal line. The mountain’s rock is enough friable along that beach. Therefore the waves during the hard storms and rains destroy those mountains bit by bit. Sometimes the clods of ground with the trees tears off from the mountain body and fall on the shore. When you reach the east end of beach you see the chaos of stones and behind them another cliff. The stone of that cliff more firm that one of the coastal mountains. Because that waves couldn’t destroy cliff - it blocked the overland way to the next beach. Several years ago there was way further through the cave hole into the cliff’s body on the east end of beach but then it was filled up by stones’ landslide.
    Most people have a rest at the artificial beaches, but you can meet enough people along all so-called “wild” beach in the morning and after 4 p.m. At the afternoon sun is too hot and people prefer to go to the homes or cafes and wait there when sun will become not so terrible. Some people live on the mountain slopes in the tents. Some of they prefer swim and have the sun baths absolutely nude. They don’t shy another people who pass them. May be they are right but we were a little shook of that. And another riddle for me was where those “tenters” take the fresh water – may be in the little river that runs into sea near the end of artificial beach. But it is too far from their places – sometimes more than 1,5km and has a very dirty water!
    When we went to beach for long time we preferred to go to the “wild” beach and have our own place there. We built the bath from the big stones there and cleaned the way into sea take off the big stones from this way. We had to do that because the stones were very slippery from little seaweed. We bought the big umbrella which saved us from day’s sun. Sometimes we sat in the water and swam about a hour! There was the big stone far in the sea where the depth was about three meters. When you reached that stone you may stand on it and water covers only your knees. From there you can watch the life of the sea. I saw big fish near the foot of the stone and two big crabs. The sea water here more clean that at the artificial beaches where too many people swim. There are many seaweed are thrown out from sea onto the shore after storm and create the pillow there. But many fine flies appear there after several hours. And smell of that seaweed is to hard. But some people use this seaweed pillow as the plank bed. It is too dangerous swim at the sea when storm has strange more than 3. You try to swim towards shore but waves carry you away. We also liked to go to sea in the evening – the sea had splendid colours when the sun had sat behind the mountains. And when the dark fells onto the coast you can watch the moon’s road on the sea surface. There was the man with the telescope each evening on the mooring. For some pay he gave to watch the Moon and planets into telescope.
Natalie prefers quiet rest but Mike and I cannot to sit on the same place during long time. We were lucky – people who came in couple of days after us  were the great mountain hikers (as amateurs, of course).  They told us about several routs and we decided to realize part of it. Firstly we chose rout which let us to reach the Jur-Jur waterfall without paying any entering money. (This is the favorite Russian action – to get any thing for free when it really costs some money. Now such action is called “Khaliava”.) It was about ten km to the enter into resort where waterfall is situated. Natalie preferred to stay at home and swim into the sea. She only saw off us to the edge of village where the road through the valley started. That road was enough picturesque. It passed the vineyards, peach and pear gardens and village Generalskoe (General’s).  Some problems had appeared when we went through the vineyards – grape was about ripe and vineyards were guarded with watchmen and dogs.  We had got permission to pass through the vineyards only first and second times. Other times we had to use another way. 
    We had to start our trips early in the morning because the terrible day’s heat. If you go along the asphalt road at the midday – it seems that you go on the heated frying pan! All vineyards and gardens are situated in the narrow valley between the mountains slopes. The most widths of valley was a less then 1 km. The road through the vineyards twisted between the rows of vines and rises up a little. The grapes in the rows are very different – you can see the red, white and black racemes on the vines, some berries are little and another are big – more than one inch.   Going along it you have to cross the little river several times. In some places that river flow under the shadow of various rich south vegetation. Water here is enough clear for drinking and cold though the temperature of air is more than 35 C! At another places river turns into the narrow brook and sometimes it totally… disappears, leaves only the stony bottom after itself . I think that water flows under ground surface. 
    We were going about a half of hour and had reached the cabin where was two watchmen and dog. But it was small one. The big dogs guard only at the night time. And thief which would be caught with their teeth would be very unhappy. We asked watchman how can we go to Generalskoe and he told us about the road. Soon the vineyards had ended and we saw that the road was crossed with the deep ditch. There was the measure against the grape’s thieves who use the car and bikes. There was the great peach’s garden behind the vineyards. It had  wire fence around itself. Peach trees did not astonish us very much – they were enough low trees with the spherical crown. Unfortunately, the crop of peaches was gathered and we didn’t see the peaches on the trees. The road had became more abruptly when we passed the peach garden and went along the pear one. For unknown reason we didn’t see any pears there – may be we were too far to see them. But the withered poplars near the road will remain in our memory for long time. It was the splendid view! Several hundreds meters along the abrupt road and we came on the asphalt road near the village Generalskoe. There was the cemetery on the right hand. It was situated on the ledges of small mountain. The ground  is very stony there and you can see the layers of stones mixed with ones of ground on the slopes. This stony layers like the halvah and stone is very easily to divide into the thin plates. 
    Village has about thirty houses with the little gardens. Most part of houses are old but you can find several new big ones. There were the fields and some agricultural buildings at the edge of village and another garden upper the village. But the farm and economy don’t work now. People here get their income from selling the fruits, milk, vine and another goods for tourists who come to watch the waterfall. Some people works as foresters, another as vineyard’s workers in the economy which is situated in Malorechenskoe. Village has two grocery shops, which also selling the soap, washing powder, etc. We bought the paper boxes of  pear and tangerine juice there. And each time we were there we bought the some halvah. The road to the official enter to waterfall started at the first shop and we went along it last year. But now our way was through the village and along another road through the mountain forest. 
Firstly we went along the ground road for lorries.  Then it turned to the right and we went along the hikers path. Soon we were near the waterfall at its right side. The tourists’ groups which go through the “booking office” come to the left side. Four hundreds meters after the waterfall river flows into the narrow gorge with the very abrupt and high slopes. The beeches grow on those slopes. Many of them have several trunks (sometimes up to seven ones). The cool air rises from the bottom of gorge and we very liked the view of flowing water. Slopes upper the waterfall not so high and abrupt and river created the cascades. Imagine the stairs made from many big stony steps which covered by the dark-green moss and cold transparent water flows on their surface. We had gone to the “devil’s bridge” where river flows through the narrow crack cut into the firm stone. The rocky crests made from firm stone abruptly rise on the both sides of river. And you can go further only along the narrow eaves which goes ten meters upper the river surface. Then the long and picturesque way upper and upper along the river waits you before you can climb on the plateau. We didn’t went further and returned to the glade below the waterfall where we bought the couple glass of wonderful milk and cabbage cakes and then returned to the home the same way as we came there.
    It is needed to have a couple days for rest after the mountain hike, at least, for us. The way up was enough hard for me but I  have great pleasure when it was ended from beauty of places where I have reached. After the first hike I had the pain in my legs – they hadn’t such efforts long time before that walk. Therefore we had slept till midday at the next day and went to sea only after four p.m. We waited for next hike with the great impatience – we would reach the plateau and have a look to the sea and the steppe Crimea from height of 1km! We went again through the vineyards early in the morning and reached the village Generalskoe in two hours. Here our way laid through the village and further along the ground road. On that road we saw the couple of fountains. I had known only in Crimea that fountains not only the jet of water but also the water that slow flows down from one bowl to another. Image the rectangular plate which stands vertically. In the upper part of that plate is situated the pipe from which water flows down into the little bath which is situated on the plate too. Those fountains are intended for ordinary purposes – to take some water into the jar or bucket and slakes thirst of the tired travelers.
    Road  wasn’t the straight line but it twisted along the slopes. Firstly we passed the old garden which was neglected for many years.  Then we crossed the open surface of the grassland. Of course, the grass there was withered and very rigid and prickly. And sun was already very hot and it was enough difficult to rise upper here was enough difficult. After crossing the grassland we reached the beech forest, at last. The crowns of big beeches were closed above the road and created the cool shadow there. It was the bliss to reach such forest after the terrible heat under the hot sun. Under the high beeches there was some bushes and little trees. Sometimes we met the Kizil (Cornelian cherries) trees with the red oblong sour fruits with the big oblong stone which likes a little the date fruit’s one. Many from bushes and little trees are prickly. Sometimes the road run horizontally, sometimes it rose very abruptly. We twisted with the road and rose upper and upper with it. Then we reached the place where was the enough dirty pond with the cane on its bank, the glade for tourists tents and place for fire. Here the road branched into two ones. Our rout was upper on the left and right road went down.
    We were told about the way to the plateau and that place was first point we could to recognize. We had the short rest there and have a little snack. Don’t drink much water or another liquid till you would reach to the plateau! That water very prevents to go up in mountain. Further way was very hard for me and I gave the our single rucksack to Mike. Sometimes I had to have the rest after fifteen steps along the road. One of the causes of such difficulties was my excessive weight. But when the gleams in the trees’ wall appeared we forgot all troubles and admired the views from mountain slope to sea and valleys below. Then we reached the place where the road forked into two ones again. We went along the left one and reached soon the mountain’s meadow where were stacks of hey and road climbed in the abrupt mountain. We had appeared again under the hot sun. About a half of hour we climbed from the bottom meadow to upper one. The grass there was more fresh and green than it was below. And there we found that we didn’t reach our aim – the plateau. Above the glade we saw the about vertically stony walls. We crossed the meadow towards its upper edge and learned that edge was steep and had big height. At the opposite edge of meadow the forest started. There the little cabin stood under the trees  and there we learnt another thing – how somebody could use the trivial plastic bottle. You cut the bottom of the bottle, tie it on the tree (bottom up) and fill it with water. To turn on or turn off the cover of bottle you adjust the strength of the stream. I think that it was unusual wash-hand-stand. (Another using of the plastic bottles was demonstrated to us by our neighbors – they cut the upper part of the bottle and use it as box for fruits which they take in their mountain’s trips.)
    We were very disappointed that we didn’t reach the plateau and decided to go along the road which started here at the forest. Soon we came to another fork of roads and turn to the left. At last we reached  the glade where was the group of tourists and they showed us the way to the plateau. After the half of hour we reached our aim at last! We were on the plateau. Its south part brakes abruptly towards the sea and it was very terrible to come nearer that edge – the height of the steep stony slope here is more than 150m! Towards the north part we saw the stony dome. There were the geodesy sign on the top of that dome. When we passed the dome we saw the steppe Crimea! The air was the clearest that day and we can see the towns and fields around them. But it was time to go home and we had to turn back. The way down on its abrupt parts about the same difficult us one up. I discovered that circumstance when I tried to run down along the road. When we were at the pond we understood that now we knew the way to the plateau. In the village we bought some meal and drink (juice and mineral water) and after two hours were at home where Natalie was waiting for us yet. We were tired but we had a beautiful travel and watched the splendid natural pictures!
    So, it was happened – I had been ill with the mountains’ walking. Of course, when you climb along the road higher and higher and damned rucksack pulls you shoulders down and you become wet and heat becomes more and more terrible and you heart want to jump out from the chest – then you tell to yourself – “it is the last time”. But when you reach the top of plateau and see so far around you forget any troubles you had during the way to top. And when you return home you want to hike there another time.
We went  next walk two days later and again through the vineyards. We met watchmen in the middle of our way through the vineyards and they told us that next time we would have to return home – the grape has about ripened. Of course, another road to Generalskoe exists but it is longer for three km and it is intended for cars. We knew the right rout this time and it spent only two hours to reach the plateau from the edge of village. Though the place on the top was open and sky was clear there wasn’t hot because of the height and fresh wind. We had to put on our jackets and trousers instead shorts!
The Crimean mountains belong to the kind which is called “Kuesta” and it means that one side of the mountain file is very abrupt and steep and opposite one is very flat as about a plain. Flat part of the Crimean mountains is called by Tartaric word “Yayla” which means the pasture for cattle. Most part of the plain surface consists from stony meadows with the rigid grass. Here you can find many useful herbs. Broth from those herbs is very fragrant and useful for health. We were shown the “lemon’s herb” with the yellow dry flowers – it has scent like a little a lemon. Sometimes you can see the little groves of the Crimean pine or another leaves trees on the flat part of “Yayla”. Big forests are situated in the gorges – they grow on the bottom and slopes of gorges. Some places of “Yayla” have the plane surface with the stones and holes on it, another ones look like stony stairs made from mild lime-stone. The hills are situated there too. They say (and map confirms that) that there exist many caves – from very little to very big with the underground corridors which have total length about several kilometres! Unfortunately we couldn’t find any real cave, though we saw the holes on the ground.
Another thing that surprised us was the play of the long grass under the wind on the flat slope. That grass was like the fur of the fantastic animal which was changing its colours and shades when the wind was blowing. We stood there about ten minutes watched that natural show. It would be saved only by videocamera.
Further we came to the lower part with the little groves of the Crimean pine. On the left we saw the far mountains tops and steppe.  It ended the cliffs with the trees on they. The stripes of the skeletons of the trees lasted perpendicularly from the road to the edge of plateau. The big fire are happened there about each summer. It needs many forces and funds to put out the fire there. And those dead stripes are the monument for those fires. And many stony “patches” were everywhere around and road seemed as the strewed with the fine stones. Sometimes we met the karst funnels – they looked as the round holes with the flat walls. The grass in they was more green – maybe some water was under those holes.
Soon we came to place where the mountain meadow was. People  worked on it and  put the hay into the lorry. Around the meadow were several little stony ridges. On their slopes we found some kinds of herbs – “lemon” herb and “dushitsa” (herb with the small blue flowers, named so from its pleasant scent). The “lemon” herb was in big amount there but “dushitsa” only a little one. We rose on the Southern ridge and had a look around – we saw the mountain of brown stone with the sparse vegetation on it and the path to the top. The path was looked well because it had another colour. We had the dispute about what was that mountain. Mike said that it was eastern slope of the Southern Demerdgy (he was right) and I said that it is another one. Southern Demerdgy is the mountain with the “valley of phantoms” on its south-west slope.
Mike wanted to go there and see it closer, but it was time to return home (we counted the time to turn back previously) and I insisted to turn back. Though we went about a half of kilometre forward to make some photos from there. We returned home when sun had just hidden behind the mountains and drink giant amount of the cool compote Natalie had prepared for us.
    Next time we decided to go through the plateau towards the village “Louchistoe” (radiant or radial) and Valley of Phantoms. We planed to return home with some passing car from Louchistoe. We were got to the “Generalskoe” by car of man in whose house we lived. Further we started on foot. And again rising along the road was very hard. I thought again about that it would the last hiking to the mountains! Couple of hours passed and we came to plateau, had our lunch and started our trip to Louchistoe. That area was like the hills and little valleys between they. There was a ground road, which went from one meadow to another. There were stacks of hay on those meadows. Sometimes we met the people, which made storage of hay or loaded it into a lorry. Also we met the group of tourists and their guide told us about the road to Louchistoe. Those tourists spent night at the tents straight on the plateau and cooked their meal on the fire. But you must be very careful with the open fire – all the vegetation on the plateau is very dry and to extinguish a fire is very hard and expensive, especially if forest burns on the slopes of mountains. Such fire places looks like black wounds on the green surface of forest.
   You can enjoy with the riches of paints 
on the plateau surface. Paints on the plateau are yellow and grey, forests on the nearest slopes are dark green and far mountains and sky are blue and white. You also can see the steppe Crimea and city Simferopol far at the horizon, especially if the weather is clear. We were going along the road and saw the giant limestone steps around; sometimes they were inclined to horizontal. In such places you can imagine the geology history of the Earth and processes of the birth of mountains. Here and there you can see rocks made from firm stone. Especially, there are many such rocks in the valley of Phantoms. I think that mountain there consist from the firm stones and more friable structure. That structure collapses faster than firm stone and slide to the foot of mountain, leaving the stone poles. Wind and water works at those poles then. Poles become like the figures of the people and fantastic heroes and animals after that. They becomes like the living when the morning fog comes into valley.
We came to the crossroads on the plateau. Here we saw the wooden pole with many coloured clothes tied on it and little pyramid combined from stones. One of the roads went higher towards the top of South Demerdgy along the nude brown rock with the sickly vegetation. Left hand way leaded to the forest towards another waterfall. And we continued our rout to the right. Road here was lowered into the forest gorge. We saw the part of Louchistoe, fields under us at the foot of mountain and mountain’s tops far around us. Far on the southwest we also saw the sea and edge of town Alushta. Descent was easy than rise, though it became very hot when we lowered below. We were going along the road, which was like serpentine. Sometimes if we saw it next part under us we aligned our way and lowered straight along the slope. We met the fountain near the road under the rich shadow of the tall beeches. One stream fell from pipe on the top of stone plate into the bowl and another stream spurted up from the edge of bowl. Water was cold and tasty there but smell around the fountain was not so good because of the many traces, which were left by cattle near fountain. Then the road became more abrupt, sun hotter and shadow of trees thinner.
    When we lowered below we met another group of tourists. They sat near the road on their rucksacks and suffered from heat. We advised them to rise upper where cool and tasty cold water wait for them. Soon we were at the foot of the mountain South Demerdgy where we found fields where previously grew lavender. Now those fields are neglected. Further we saw the giant boulders on the fields. They fell from the mountain during the earthquake. Some of them were larger than 3-floors house! The Valley of Phantoms is situated on the same slope to the south from the landslide. We didn’t go there because we were very tired and had no forces to rise to it. We went along the road and came to the street of Louchistoe soon. We crossed the village and came to the road to Malorechenskoe. We thought that we could to get home by hitchhike. But we were going along the road and no car stopped to take us, though we showed the money. So we went about two kilometres before the first car stopped and take us. Driver was the good man who came in Ukraine to living from Russian North several years ago. He got us about the home. But when we went along the road we were awarded by interesting view. We saw the great vineyard and strange thing like canopy in the middle of it. When we wanted to have a look closer and watchman stood on the canopy and looked if we want to steal the grape. I made a photo but my camera hadn’t zoom and photo was not so funny as real view.