My vacation came at last. So, we are going to Crimea another time! Because
we were there last year we have not problem how we would plan our rest
this year. Tickets for train were bought beforehand. Natalie decided that
she would stay at home this year. There were several reasons to act this
way. Traditionally July is a month of hard work for Russian bookkeepers
(as January, too). Another cause was that we spent too much money for
Mike’s entering in the University. Thereby she said: “I stay at home
Well, we prepared our rucksacks and early morning on July 10th went to Cursky station building. If you will set out from this station some day – remember, that it is very muddle station. Local trains and long-distance ones start from the same platforms and it is too difficult to orient here. We could find our train that went to Evpatoria and occupied our compartment for four people. Our neighbours were man and woman who go to Evpatoria too. They were good people – therefore our travel has started well. Weather was cool and cloudy – first day after fifteen days of devil’s heat before. We were going to Evpatoria about 28 hours with two custom check-ups – on Russia’s border and on Ukrainian one. Each check-up lasted about 40 minutes. When custom-officer saw our rucksacks he did not see further and went to next compartment – our rucksacks are very old. Mine one was … 24 years old! On the each stop you can see many people who sell different food for passengers - cold beer, boiled potatoes and crayfishes, cucumbers, vodka, and up South they also sell fruits.
Such way of selling is a single opportunity for inhabitants of many Russian and Ukrainian province’s towns to earn some money. Both state authorities here and there are bad if people have such life, I suppose. I hope that new elections in parliament this year and president’s ones at next year will change our life towards good way.
We arrived Evpatoria about 11 a.m. (there is the time difference between Russia and Ukraine –1 hour). It was 12 a.m. at Moscow. And it was very hot weather there – 35 C! Our relatives met us here and we came to they flat – about fifteen minutes from station to they block of flats. Here we have a rest and dinner, went to swim in the sea a little and next early morning started to Simferopol (capital of Crimea) by local train. We were going to go to South Coast then. Simferopol is situated in the centre of Crimean peninsula – therefore it is easy to reach any point in Crimea from there.
We were going to Simferopol about 4 hours. We had seen the mountains those were rising from behind the horizon in the last hour of our way. We recognized the Chatyrdag (Tent-Mountain). At last we had arrived to Simferopol near midday. There had become too hot yet.
Simferopol is the biggest city in Crimea. More than 350 thousands people live here. It is situated at the hollow amongst the low mountains. It has the airport where can land any aeroplanes, railway station and bus station. There are many factories, theatre, University in the city. There are many trees on its streets. They call such towns as “green towns” here. Trees defend the many-storey buildings from sunbeams. Temperature here may reach more than 45 C in shadow in the hottest summer days.
When we arrived to the station buildings we saw that it was repairing. Authorities wanted to make repair before the tourists’ season begins, but couldn’t end it in time. All those things are the tokens of our hard times.
Two Gypsy’s women attacked us when we were going from railway station to the bus one. One of they had begun to tell me about my previous and future life. For unknown reason I couldn’t go away from her. And only she said word “money” I had awaked up. We went away from Gypsies and could to save all our money. If you give some money (or simple get money from pocket) – you may lose all money you have at yourself.
You can go to any part of Crimea from bus stop by any transport from taxi to … trolleybus. Trolleybus goes from Simferopol to Alushta, Yalta and Sevastopol. If you have enough money – you can take a taxi or a private car. So, to go to Alushta will be cost about $5 per person (to go by trolleybus – cost about $0.75 - $1 per person). But usually you must spend much time for buy tickets because of the big turns to the book-offices. We don’t want to spend much time to stay there – it became too hot there. Thereby we found the private car to Malorechenskoe and … we waited for about 20 minutes till our driver was finding the fellow-travellers. This way we paid only $10.
Why we had chosen Malorechenskoe? Because we thought that the waterfall “Jhur-Jhur” is situated near from that settlement (10km). We were there on excursion last year and want to see at it once more.
The road from Simferopol to Sevastopol was old ordinary mountains’ one until the 60th. There were many turns and serpentines on it. And new road was made in 60th. It is wide and has only several turns. Construction of that road was very expensive and now its maintenance needs big funds too. The road climbs from Simferopol through the Main Ridge of Crimean Mountains, cross it at altitude about 800 meters and then run down to the sea towards town Alushta. Road turns to the right here and then it goes to Sevastopol along the South Coast of Crimea.
Alushta, Little Lighthouse, Partenit, Goorzoof, Ai-Daniel, Nikita, Yalta, Sevastopol – names of the settlements and towns that are situated along that road. They sound as some kind of music. From that road you can see Bear-Mountain, cliffs in the sea that have name “Twins”, Nikita’s Botanical Garden’s entering arch, sea at the left side under the road and mountains at the right side above the road. Plateau that is situated behind the mountains is mostly more than 1km higher than sea level. It is very nice to go along that road by trolleys and watch all sightseeing around you.
But we do not go that way this time. We turned to the left when Alushta was in several miles forward and went to Malorechenskoe along real old mountain road. You couldn’t find any straight part of the road – only turns (turn to the right and immediately one to the left). When our driver was asked about how many turns has that road he said: ”Only two – left turn and right one”. It seems he was right.
Before we turned at the real mountain road we saw the mountain Demerjee (Blacksmith from Tartaric). The old legend exists about that mountain. I tell it to you anytime. There is the “exhibition” of stone figures on that road and “valley of ghosts” is situated here too. And you can see stone’s “Head of Quinn Katrin II” from both of those roads. This stone likes as human head with the big (king’s) stand-up collar. Some words about “valley of ghosts” – it is valley on the plateau of m. Demerjee. When there is a fog on the plateau – those figures begin to “move” in the fog and look as living one. At the west slope of the mountain you can see the tracks of many landslides - the stone’s chaos. The village was buried last century under one of them. At last we passed the mountain road and went to sea. Only ten minutes – and we had arrived in Malorechenskoe.
When we get off the car many people came to us. Mostly they were the old women who offered they own home to rent. Some of those people sell the Crimean goods as dried lavender, bottles of vine, decorative seashells and another ones. We refused from sellers’ attendance and became to choose from home rent offers. By the way, if you want to rent home near the sea (two steps from home to sea wave) you must pay much money than in that case if you will go to seashore 1km. So prices for rent - US$10 for one-room flat without master per day (you may use the shower, bathroom and kitchen when you want); $3-4 per day for bed, outdoor shower and place for preparing food (if home near the sea), the same price is for saving car in the home yard. And places far from the sea may cost from $1.2 to $2. We paid $2 for each person. And we occupied one room in the three-room flat on the first floor of 3-storey house. Toilet and shower were outside home. Shower was the tank set horizontally on the roof of little shed. Tank’s capacity is about 200 litres and it dyed by the black dye. After 5-7 hours water heats into it from 18 C to 35-37 C under the sun beams. Almost all days are sunny in summer season here. Day mean temperature in July is more than 30 C here.
Malorechenskoe is situated in valley that rounded with mountains on the North, West and East. Of course the seashore is situated on South. Beaches here are pebbly. And the moorage is situated here for sea cutters and little ships. If you go to the East along the sea shore (at the sea waves) you reach the natural beaches with the big stones in the sea. Width of the beach here is no more several meters and then mountain’s foot begins. Here you can see and catch little crabs. If you want to bring the sea bath here you must be able to swim – too many stones on the sea bottom. But here it is possible to watch some sea life – the crabs, seaweed and little fishes those swim in the water. Water is very transparent here and has light green-blue colour. Water becomes black colour and waves break on the stones with the big amount of white foam when wind blows from sea or little storm comes. When you come to the end of the beach you reach the cliff that come down in the sea. There is no way further along the sea. We found the hole in the cliff. It was on the ceiling of the little cave and there was the rope tied there. But hole was not very large and we did not go through it.
Weather on the South Coast of Crimea is hot and sunny from end of April to beginning of October. Rains were very seldom in period from June to September. All ten days we were in Malorechenskoe were hot and sunny too. But several days clouds went from North crawled down from mountain tops along the slopes and then run away in the open sea towards horizon. When you are at the foot of mountain and watch up – it seems that clouds clutch by top and don’t wish go away. Also it is very interesting to watch shadows from clouds crawled along the slopes. And it is delightfully when you get in the cloud shadow in the hot sunny day.
The sea at the South Coast of Crimea is enough deep without sandbanks near shore – therefore waves were here most part of time. Swimming in sea here is very dangerous when wind has force three or more. You must swim good if you want to do in such storm. But you can jump in the waves near the shore. Many people do it and we did too. When wave comes to you closely and it top near you – you jump up and wave carries you a little towards shore. General thing you must do when wave carried you – is to cry or squeal as loudly as you are able (Smile). When big wave comes from sea the water from your foot go away and you must run to shore (beach) as fast as you can if you don’t be able to swim. Big wave can carry you in the sea. And if you are able to swim – you simple go towards the wave and jump on it when it come to you.
Along the central part of beach is situated cafes and little restaurants and also tents where they sell any food – cakes, ice-cream, cool-drinks, beer (in bottles or tins), fruits. After you have swum in the sea and tanned it is splendid to sit in the little cafe and drink good cold beer or have a good lunch. But you must have much money to do it every day. (Smile) Good lunch here costs about $4-$6 for person without hard alcohol drinks. On the street that comes from main coast road to beach you can buy dry wine. If you buy only a one glass of it (about 150-200g) from each seller those stay along the street – you must have a very strong health to reach the beach. The flavor of wine is good – all of it made from Crimean grape. You can sea here wines made from different kinds of grape – red, pink and white. We drink the glass at supper almost every day. They say that grape dry wine is very usefully for health (if you know your measure, of course).
So we had some rest at the sea and made several training marches along the sea and in the next village – Rybatchie (Fishermen’s). Last march was composition “pleasant with useful” – because of the currency exchange was closed all time in Malorechenskoe and we needed Ukrainian money. (Ukrainian currency has name “grivna”. Grivna costs about 6 Russian roubles and about $0.25 US. In the big towns or spa you can find currency exchange at the “each corner” and change any amount of money. Exchangers there did not demand any papers for selling or buying some currency. Here in Russia you must give to exchanger your passport to do any operation.) But it was pleasant to go along the serpentine road, watch mountains on the right side and sea at the left one. Also in Rybatchie was several nice cafe with tasty and enough cheap dishes. And couple times we had a dinner there.
Another march had place in the evening - we to another village – Solnechnogorskoe (Sun-mountain’s). It was situated towards west direction from Malorechenskoe. (On the South Coast is three ways – go to mountains (North), go to sea (South), go along narrow stripe near shore (West and East).) The road to the Jur-Jur waterfall begin from Solnechnogorskoe. And it has length about 9km, begins at about 0 meters and ends at about 400 meters above sea level. Therefore you must go there the same way as you go upstairs. And add the heat and hot sun rays when you go there at the day time. It is well that road made from asphalt. That time we went about 1km and were there in the evening.
The road in it beginning from sea is the street where inhabitants’ houses are situated. Almost each house (even the very little one) is adapted to receive many tourists. I suppose that tourists is the main business of the inhabitants. There were two or three little houses in front of which grows the palm-tree. As I know later that was special kind of palm that cannot suffers from little frost. Further, after the end of old part of street you can see the new house constructions. Here house are constructed by “poor” Crimean Tartars’ repatriates. (This people was deported from Crimea by Stalin in 1944 and repatriated in the beginning of 90th). Here the river flows along the road. Upper there is the waterfall “Murmuring” on that river. River flows towards sea (in South direction) in the deep ravine across which set the narrow bridges. We sow even the hanging one. Mountains begin behind the river but slopes here is not very steep and houses stand here and there on those slopes. If you go further along the road you will reach the vineyards in the valley and on the slopes. And there were many fig-trees along the road here. We picked couple fig leaves for some case and went returned home that time. We were ready to go to the waterfall next day. We left the house early in the morning and went along the road towards the Solnechnogorskoe about 2km. Then we arrived to the beginning of the road to village Generalskoe near which the waterfall is situated and turned on that road.
Firstly we went along the main street of Solnechnogorskoe (I described it previously) and then reached that part where we did not go yet. Here road made the turns often and was more steep. There was a vineyard in the each convenient place there. We sow the tractor with the tank sprayed the big vineyard with insecticide. When we went upper along the road we sow the sea behind us. The sea rose a little towards the horizon and we couldn’t say exactly where the sea ends and sky begins. And the village was seen as on the palm. It was situated in the narrow valley between the two mountain foots.
Next turn was passed and we sow the little lake under the road with the grey-green water. There were seen the tracks of withered water on its banks. It seems that lake withers about a half in the summer and fills with water from autumn to spring. Mountains around the lake consist mostly from friable rocks as all Crimean mountains.
We were continuing to rise higher and had seen the mountains in front of us those were covered with forests and had the blue and green colour. There were very hard to rise along the road under the hot sun beams without any wind until we had risen enough high. Light wind from mountains’ tops was here and the little clouds sometimes closed the sun. It was interesting to watch how the clouds’ shadows slide along the mountain slopes. We thanked loudly the “mountain spirit” who gave us some facilitation from terrible heat. And here we sow further mountains on the right side. They tops were sheer and stony without any plants on they. Then road made another turn and went down about half of kilometre. Here we passed some derelict agricultural factory with unknown for us buildings. It looked as the derelict plants which Hollywood likes to show in their hits.
After those buildings last rise began with several turns on it. There were groves of the Crimean pine-trees on the hills along the road. Last turn and we sow the country cemetery on the right side of the road and the little monument on the hill at the left side. Monument was a memory of the Soviet warriors who were born in that village and then were killed in the World War II. Near that place was first house and further we sow the village under the hill. Several minutes later we was at the beginning of the road to waterfall. Here was situated the village shop. We decide to buy some juice in the litre cartoon there and take it with us to waterfall. We took three bottles(1,5 litres each) with boiled water cooled at the refrigerator but we drank two of they since we went along the road. We planned taste juice a little and fill the empty bottle with it. We buy the tangerine juice and began to taste it. We taste it again and again until cartoon had become empty. There was very nice juice and we decided to buy another cartoon. Alas… the one we had bought was last. And we had to buy the cartoon of pear juice. Then we turned on the country road that went to the waterfall.
After road crossed the river it became to go up to the forest reserve. It was very hard part of the way – about one mile. The heat, straight sun rays, no any wind and ground with road-metal created some difficulties. After 20-minutes’ way along that road we reached the fence of reserve with the small house at the gates and the table with the book-officer at it. (At our places you can go to almost any forest without paying, but in Crimea almost each forest or any places of interest (sightseeing) are requiring payment ones). It seems that ticket to one person cost about $1 there. We bought our tickets and came into reserve. Then we went up along the forest path over the ravine. This ravine had very steep slopes with beeches forest on it and the river on its bottom. You can see big stones here and there on the slopes and routs of the trees those hang over the surface of slope. There is the work of the rains those washes off soil from the slope. There are many fallen trees there – more than you can see at our plain forests. Here is not so hot – trees defend you from straight sunrays and light cool wind blows from bottom of the ravine.
Then we arrived to the big glade where were several natives those were selling different goods. You can buy fresh she-goat’s or cow’s milk, comb-honey, some kinds of “home” cakes, fruits and Crimean dry wine (white, red or pink) from big flacks. Also they sell different souvenirs made from wood or stone, withered herbs (medical or aromatic) and herbal teas. In general, there are simple goods for any taste. Sellers spent there all the daytime and met you with the inviting to watch and buy their goods. When we had passed the glade we picked up the scent of the fry meat. There was the little outdoor cook-shop where “shashlyk” was making. (“Shashlyk” – is the some kind of the roasted lamb meat that cooks on the spit). There were several wood tables with the wood benches under the shed made from broken trees’ branches.
We went about 150m from “Shashlyk” and then had heard the noise from waterfall. Path went down and soon we reached the foot of waterfall. You must speak loudly here to hear each other. Water falls from height about 15m (50ft.). The mountain rock in this place harder than one around and water couldn’t to wash off this rock. The temperature of water is only 8 C! But some people went under the fallen streams and take a natural shower. You also can drink that water – it is clean, cool and fresh. We crossed the river near the foot of waterfall, climbed up on another slope and continued our way up. Most part of the river before waterfall flows in the narrow deep ravine with the steep slopes. Bottom of the river forms the row of stone steps along the long distance – cascades. It is very interesting sight to watch for upper part of flow. In general, the sight of the flown water will charm anyone, I suppose. On the bottom of the river (its depth mostly no more than 1-1.5ft.) lies the stones and you can cross the river in the some places simply jumping from one stone to another. (And when you stand at the centre of the flow you feel cool and want not to go away in the hell’s heat. Mike said that standing there is the same to stay in the room with air conditioner). Sometimes the trunk of the fallen tree forms the “bridge” from one bank to another one.
We continued to go up from waterfall. That part of river visited by tourists too for some reasons. Firstly, path here is not so difficult for ordinary tourist and here exists several sights. There are the bathes and guide will tell you story about each one.
Here is the legend about one of the natural bathes. “One day many-many years ago one old man went to the mountains for fire-wood. He had to rise far up in the mountains and he was very tired. And when he had seen the mountain river’s bath he decided to wash in it. This bathing refreshed him and he felt himself very well. When he returned home with the fire-wood his old wife refused to admit him in their house. She couldn’t recognise him because he had become very young. Old man understood that it was the work of the magic bath and explained to his wife what was happened with him. She believed to him and wanted to go to the bath too. Young old man told her how to go to the bath and she started there for the youth. One hour passed after another but old woman did not return home. The young old man went to look for his wife and found at the bath the very little girl. His old wife had a bath too long.” I tried to have bathing there, but water was too cold for me and I only washed the face and feet a little. Also I drank the water – it was very fresh and cold.
And, at last, the path of the ordinary tourists is ended near the last “legendary” bath. Further the river flows between the two cliffs with enough steep slopes. Right cliff is bald stone that with the seldom trees and bushes on it. It surface is covered with splits. Several ones go horizontally and it is possible to go along they towards another side of the cliff. Natives do this walk very simply as I should go along the sidewalk. But for us that walk was as a little mountaineer’s exploit. We climbed about 7ft upper and then went about 160ft along the split clutched the cliff surface and little bushes those grew there. The water flew under us in the narrow stone riverbed with the noise. The surface of water was about 30ft lower the split we went. But upper the last bath were very splendid places and we met only two or three groups of people there. Officers of the reserve said to us that there we can meet the wild goats and find the cave. Unfortunately, we did not see neither goats nor cave. Though the walk was itself very fine. We sow many little springs flew into the river straight from the slopes. Of course, the river was becoming narrower while we were rising upper. We sow river flew through the stone chaos. Imagine for you - the big stones (15-20ft height) fallen much time ago from slopes. They are covered with moss and a little grass and river flows through it with the big difficulties. Path to the upper part crossed the river from one bank to another and then returned back. Sometimes we had to climb along the steep slopes to rise upper, sometimes we went as along the plain. There was not so hot when we rose enough high and trees hid us from sun with their branches.
We also could to prevent the fire in the mountain forest. At the place where the big stones blocked the river’s way somebody put the cigarette-butt on the broken top of the withered beech trunk. And this top of trunk had begun to smoulder. Some sparks had fallen on the withered leaves’ carpet under the beech. Those fallen dry leaves had begun to smoulder too. We had picked up the smell of smoke far from that place and very bothered. The reserve’s services had just told to us about the mountain fire at the highest part of reserve. Because of the very steep slopes there that fire was put out only from helicopter and it cost about half-year budget of reserve! Then we sow the smoke, which rise into air from top of beech trunk and from the ground under the beech. We got our bottles and cup, were filling their with water from stream flowed between the stones and poured out on the trunk and the ground. It was very fine that it was not big wind that time! After this “exploit” we can appreciate the severe, gloomy beauty of those place. Twilight those was given from the closed trees crowns, mighty grey trunks of the old beaches, big stones and the streams flowed through they, dark-green moss on the stones’ surfaces, cool wind and loud noise from the flowing water. Fantasy!
After the “heroic fight” we continued our way upper. Soon the river divided on the two riverbeds. We turned to the right. Sometimes we had to cross the river because it was impossible to go along the one of the banks. Sometimes the river flowed through the narrow gapes and we had to climb on the slope and then go down to the bank again. But this way and that, we were rising upper and upper to the top of the mountain along the riverbed. We met the group of three persons; one of they was the professional photographer. He set his camera in front of the little waterfall and made the photos of it. He was very busy to do it and we had a conversation with his guide. He told us about the photographer who is very important person in his sphere of activity, that photographer is from Kharkov (Eastern Ukraine), that only one from hundred photos can be considered good. Photographer, his wife (who was walking at the opposite slope) and guide came here from the mountain pass that is situated at the road Simferopol – Alushta and spent the night near this waterfall in the tent.
Then we went further and climbed at the 10ft cliff. We were going upper and upper but we had not had enough forces and time to rise at the top. We turned back when it was no more than 200meters to the aim (of course – 200 meters vertical along very steep slope). May be somebody of us will do it next time we will go to Crimea.
The reverse way was lighter than direct one, because of we were going down from mountains. When we reached the place we had mountaineer’s “exploit” we crossed the river and found that the way there was lighter (on our sight) than one along the right bank. Here it needed simply to go down from 15ft cliff with the wide ledge in the middle of it. We did it clutched for trunk and roots of the tree that was on the cliff and used the splits in the stone surface. Further way was simple walk. We sow here the beginning of the water supply that feeds the village with water from upper part of the river. And the conduit, which goes to Alushta through the mountains and had no any pumps at all its length! Also we sow the tree on which were tied hundreds of coloured shreds. But we had known what it means another time and at another place. I shall tell you about this custom when time will come for that.
Thus we had swum in the sea, had drunk dry wine (and bought several bottles for home), had gone to waterfall and upper part of the river twice. And we had also another interests in Crimea. We decided that another Crimean ”pearl” was waiting for us already. We started to Nikita’s Botany Garden. And early at the morning we were going to the bus stop. The bus went from next village to Alushta through the Malorechenskoe. We weren’t single at the bus stop – there were several people. I very liked when one man said for his friend that he start to walk from mountain top along the river to the waterfall. We went that way (but from down part to upper one) and considered that that march was a small mountaineers’ exploit. We had become very sad when heard it!
When we took a bus we had found too many people here and we didn’t get free seat. After the next bus stop the bus had become like tin with the preserved fish. We sow through the bus window steep slopes those rose up or fell down. That was real mountain serpentine-road. You see the road under you for 100ft and ten minutes later you go along that place. About 1114 miles along that road and we came to Alushta. We got off and went to the trolleys station. Usually we consider that trolley is only an urban transport and it work only within the city or town. But at Crimea the trolley runs from one town to another and along the mountain roads. I described you the way from Simferopol to Sevastopol previously. Trolley goes that way for more than 3,5 hours. And if I should very big boss I should forbid to drive along that road any transport expect the electrical one. Air and ground must be clean.
We take the trolley where were not many people (it was too early yet) and started to Nikita. To go by bus at early morning is fine because it is not too hot in that time. And to see at the morning sea is fine too. When we reached Nikita we became to find “dealers” who can help to rent the lodging. We did not plan to stay here more than three days; therefore it was the serious problem to find lodging. We found one woman-“dealer” with the car and went to find luck. After hour’s searching we were offered the lodging near at the sea. That was kind of the private yacht-club (it seems that its name was spillway). We were told that one of the apartments belongs for singer Sofia Rotaru (in the USSR of 70th she had the same popularity as Madonna have now). The pebble beach was situated straight under the window and it was single merit of that place. We had known it soon. One room with the kitchen on the balcony and outdoors toilet and shower cost $15 per day. It was very expensive for that apartment, I think. But we were near the Nikita’s garden. We went there next morning. And that day we slept and walked along the sea and bought the meal for cooking in the shops. Unfortunately, we were not told that near was situated the sewage disposal plant. We had known about that fact only at night when we caught the terrible smell. God bless, the wind blew in that direction only the first night! But we left that place after two days staying here.
We got up early next morning and started to the Nikita’s Botanical Garden. We were there at previous time last summer twice – firstly with excursion from Alushta and then we went there by trolley. Therefore we had known some information about garden. Its excursion part is terraced at the mountain’s slope, which gets down to seashore. The serpentine-road from highway Simferopol – Sevastopol to the seashore winds near its southeast border. Several little settlements are situated between the south border of the garden and the sea. We had stayed in one of they.
We went at the bus-taxi stop near the seashore and take the little bus. It was driving about ten minutes along the narrow serpentine-road and arrived to the gate of the Garden. We bought tickets (about $1 or $2, I didn’t remember exactly) and went into the garden. Of course it is possible here to buy individual excursion through the garden but such excursion costs more than $10. And you can stand at the place you are interested with and wait for the any excursion comes here. Such way you can get information you are interested free for paying (Smile).
When you come in the Garden you meet at once the brushwood of the beautiful plant – oleander. It is a bush with the big pink flowers. The leaves and branches of it are very poisonous. The bushes of wisteria grow near the oleander. We went along those brushwood and then turn to the right. The square with the basin with the very blue water, roses’ flowerbeds and the little monument of Steven (founder of the Garden) is situated here. And also Lenin’s bust stands opposite the monument of Steven. Why it was set here? Lenin never was there.
But that time we were interesting another thing. We were going to the building where was little museum and the tasting-hall. Buying $5 you get the three 30g’s glasses with different Crimean wine and one with Crimean herbal balsam. Another tray with six little bowls with several kinds of jams made from exotic fruits, preserved fruits, olives and mix of honey, Greek nuts and a little of the herbal-tea. Also they brought the cup with the mineral water to drink it after each new tasting. We liked the port and bought here the bottle of it to bring home. Also we bought three little bottle (about 0,25l) of the balsam. We drink it for one-half teaspoon each day. It is very useful for health.
After visiting the tasting-hall we went to walk and see the trees and plants at the upper part of Garden. There we liked two places – one with the grove of bamboo and the very old tree – the yew-tree (berries’ yew-tree). The wood and skin of it are very poison. They say that Russian tsar Ivan Grozny (Terrible) had the cup made from that wood and treated that cup to those people, which he wanted to kill. Not far from yew grows the Canadian maple – guest from North. It seems that it didn’t fell itself well here – in place where few water and hot summer. Several dozens steps along the one of paths of the Garden and we had come to the building where one family from Donetsk (miner’s town at the Eastern Ukraine) demonstrated the exotic animals, such as snakes, chameleons and another of such kind. They solve several tasks together – make money for living and saving their animals and have a rest and home at seashore. Around that building set the flowerbeds with the chrysanthemums. But one can see their beauty more lately – at autumn (September – October).
Then we continued our walk along the upper paths where excursions don’t go. Here we saw the tree that was twined round by lianas and the yellow snake, which very fast crawled straight near our feet. We went further and had come to the field where grow unknown little trees. I think that it was the nursery garden of the trees. They said that there was a peach garden there but we couldn’t find it. So pity, because the peaches were mature that time!
Then we returned to the next terrace where was excursion rout. Here we sow the cedars and pines of different kinds. It is very useful to sit under the cedar because its needles secrete some matter that kills any bad microbes. The Italian pine-tree was very interesting to look. It grows always with the 60-degree slope in the southwest direction. It also has name “drunk pine”. We had known that only four kinds of cedars exist in the world, and many ones of pines. And the tree (with the very tasty nuts) that has name “Siberian cedar” here in Russia is the “Siberian cedar’s pine” – only pine, no cedar. Next interesting tree was the “strawberry-tree”. It sheds its skin every spring and stays “naked” all the summer. A fruit growing on this tree has taste, which a little like strawberry.
Then we went to see sequoias-giants. Someday the guide said that this tree sheds off part of its branches when the climate or another nature conditions become bad. We sow the traces of lost branches and we were told that those branches were fallen in 1987 when Chernobyl accident had been happened. Those trees are very young but look as very big ones.
After we have a look at sequoias we went downstairs and came to the fountain’s cascade with water plants and golden fishes in the cascades’ baths. The some custom exists in Russia – if you want to return at place you have liked you must throw several coins into the water (a river or a sea or a fountain, etc) and you will sure to return there anytime. We did that thing, of course. Then we went along the cascade and came down in the lower part of Garden. The palm lane, famous pavilion, several basins and lower enter into Garden are situated here. Those palms are the single kind, which can exist here. In the basins set buckets with the different water plants, which grow here, exclude winter. In that season they are hidden from bad weather into the glasshouse. Unfortunately, we couldn’t to have a look at the “Victoria-Regia”(huge water-lily) – some cretins had broken the window in the glasshouse and it was lost.
The pavilion had become famous after the part of children’s movie “Buratino” (Russian version of “Pinocchio adventures”) was made here. The Italian pine with very long needles grows near pavilion. Near the lower enter you can find many sellers which sell withered herbs, aromatic oils, sea souvenirs, etc. We bought here the videocassette with the video-tale about Garden. (But it had not high quality). When we had left Garden we went to the cactus’ glasshouse where we were looking many sorts of cactuses. The redhead cactuses are artefact plants which made with the aid of genetics and radiology. The red head put on the green body and they live together. Green body give the feed for head from routs. There was a good walk. May be I have told a few interesting about Garden, but it is very pleasant to walk along its paths seeing the different trees and plants or sitting on the bench under some exotic tree.
We also bought in the Garden a few little bottles with aromatic oils (about 10-15 drops in each). Now we use they when having bath. Then we left Nikita next morning after visit to the Garden. We take a little bus and after one and a half of hour arrived to Simferopol’s railway station. 2 hours by electric suburban train and we were again in Evpatoria. But now the heat was not so terrible because we had come there early in the morning. We stayed there until end of our vacations. We swam at the sea, have sun baths, rode on the water bicycle. We had also two very interesting excursions - to the Bakhchisaray and Chufoot-Cale and another through the Crimean National Reserve Park over the South Coast. Bakhchisaray was a capital of Crimean-Tartar’s khanate till the Russian Impair conquest of Crimea in the XVIII century. It is situated in the central part of peninsula at the beginning of the main Crimean mountains’ ridge. That town look like East (Asian) one. It has very narrow and curve streets those climb to the hills and run down from ones. Most part of houses have 1-2 floors. The main sightseeing here is the ensemble of the khan’s palace. Of course, the fast excursion along it was not very interesting. I think that more pleasure would be in a case if I have known more about that palace before visit there. Then I should go from one building to another, look at the garden and fountains, walk slowly through the khan’s harem and find the places I have learnt before. In that case, you can imagine what people lived here many years ago. And after fast excursions with bug number of tourists you have only the pain in the neck (“look to the left, turn to the right…please go faster”). Such type of excursions is good for people who like to say:”Look, I was here or there!”. And we arrived to the palace immediately after hard excursion to Chufoot-Cale - the cave’s town high on the mountains. Our bus stopped on the square in the end of narrow street and we went along the path on the slope of the mountain. Before we arrived to Chufoot-Cale we visit the cave’s Greek Orthodox church, which was built straight into the mountain’s body! It stands at one of the slopes of mountain’s canyon. 83 stairs from begin to the main hall of church. At the opposite slope are situated the economic buildings of the church. They also made with using natural caves and their roofs are the part of mountain slope! This church was closed in 30th by communists and reopened after the Ukraine got its independent.
After visiting church we continued our way to “cave’s town” Chufoot-Cale which is situated on the impregnable plateau where only one path goes. On that path there we met the tree, which was all tied with the coloured cloths. The guide explain for us that such places have name “Aziz”. Three indispensable conditions must be fulfilled for such place – the grove (old tree), the brook and the grave of the saint. Each cloth is the sin which is left here from Muslim. The tourists consider that tied cloth may implement the wish they wished. But the cloth only is left sin and true Muslim must not eat and must pray two (or three) days running! After we had left the tree we went up to the narrow gate in the mountain, which was as a wall. You would not find that gate till you reach to they closely! And the narrow passage-way led from first gate to another one. Here people can go only one after another – the passage-way is very narrow. So if enemies have broken the first gate – to break another one will be very hard for they. And as the enemy couldn’t come in the fortress without hard fighting as tourists cannot come in without paying for tickets. We had then thought that second gate appeared when the tourists became to visit this “cave town”. By the way, only tartars were able to take that natural fortress – only after very long siege and only when the water was ended in the fortress. People lived here from ancient times and built their houses only in caves. We visited very big cave where was home and food store. Some of windows were cut through the stone and straight under they was very deep abyss. When one looks through that window he sees the such mountain opposite with the top plateau covered by juniper forest. May be the path there is able only for mountaineers and people did not live there.
Now only one Russian family is living there – they are the curators of outdoors museum. And the people of Karaims lived here for many centuries. They came here in the ancient times from Caucasus. They were traders and craftsmen. They have their own religion and two their churches (kenassa) were saved from that time. They also stand over the abyss. Another interesting thing there was the well in which the rain’s water was collected. There were made special little ditches those went to one centre where the stone well was. This well served the citizens when the enemy began the siege. In ordinary life water was got from the brook that flows through the gape near the mountain foot. And mausoleum of the khan’s daughter was there in the town. You can only imagine for yourself what a life was in the town and how its “streets” and cave houses looked when the people lived here. Now all there look as stone ruins and no more. It seems that life here was not very light. And it was very hot there in the afternoon.After we had seen the “cave town” we went to the outdoors restaurant, which was situated under the mountain. And the meal was very taste on the open air. The people who cooked there brought water from the brook I mentioned before. Oh, I have forgotten that spring was near the mountain church. Its water is considered saint and useful for health. We drank it and filled several plastic bottles with it. Then we returned to our bus that got us to the khan’s palace.
Our next excursion was four days later then one to Chufoot-Cale did. We had to get up very early in the morning and took the excursion bus with the first sunrays. It was little bus – for 12 people. We like such excursion, because the guide has opportunity to tell with each tourist. Our bus went along the rout that was well known for us. We went from Evpatoria to Alushta through the Simferopol. We recognised many places we were passing on that road. Evpatoria’s sand beaches, salt lakes in Sakee, slow appearance of the mountains from behind horizon, green streets of Simferopol, road through the Main Ridge where mountains covered with forest, stop at the mountain pass and soon the sea had appeared at the horizon. Firstly we visited the Museum of Nature with zoo-arboretum on its territory. There were many interesting plants and animals there. We sow the family of noble deer and another of moufflons. There also was the griffon in the wire’s cage. I sow that bird first time in my life. Then we sat into the bus and our travel continued. The weather was cloudy that day and clouds were going from seaside. Our bus went off from the town Alushta and became to climb on the mountain along the narrow serpentine. That old road was built in the XIX century as tsar’s road. It rise from Alushta to mountain ridge’s top and then goes through the plateau, sometimes climbs on the mountain passes or twists around the peaks. Mostly one side of the road is above the precipice and another one is the foot of the mountain slope. But there were several places where the road was opened straight through the mountain body. We were rising to the plateau and clouds were becoming nearer. All territory at which passed our excursion is a one of the Crimean National Natural Reserve and also here is situated the residence of the Ukrainian president. Last circumstance is not very good because your excursion (for which you have paid money yet) may be forbidden without any explain. But we were lucky and went through the territory of Reserve about 50 km!
Firstly we visited the trout’s fish industry that is situated on the mountains brook at the height more than 500 meters above the sea level. There were about dozen of the ponds with the flowing water. Places of exit water were closed with the metal nets. As the weather was not good (there was very cloudy there) we couldn’t see the playing fishes and water had a green colour and was not transparent. Two men – workers of the fish industry caught couple dozens of trout, made some measurements and then let out all fishes to the pond. One of the men said us that one fish costs about $20 – it is very expensive price for one fish! Such fish is only for rich people. There was small settlement where live personnel of the fish industry. And women were buying very taste whipped cream with the homemade marmalade. I can bet – you never taste such tasty meal! There was very pleasant place but excursion must be gone on. We came into the bus again and left trout industry.
Then our bus climbed upper and upper along the narrow serpentine. Several dozens of meters the abyss was on the right side and then the road turn at 180 degrees and the abyss was already on the left side. The slopes of mountains were very steep and the routs of the trees (mostly they were beeches) were hanging in the air as snakes. The cloudy weather and dense foliage of trees created the enough dismal and some fantastic atmosphere. Next stop was at the monument that was built as a memory about the Crimean partisans’ struggle against the Germans during the World War II. Those people were very brave and steadfast – it is very hard simply to hide in those forests and they fought against German army there! Here we walk a little along the path that led further on the plateau and then we went by bus again. After short time we stopped again – here was the place where the road went through the mountain’s body. The guide told us that the road here was not ready when the last Russian tsar went along it. In this place was only narrow path through the mountain’s body and the carriage couldn’t be driven there. And tsar and all his family had to go that path on foot to another carriages. The view from that place was very nice. We walked a little here, made some photos and then continued our bus excursion.
We went on the beginning of the plateau around the Roman-Cosh mountain – the highest one in the Crimea (about 5000ft) and had next stop near its foot. The guide said to us that the Alpine meadows around the place we had stopped. And there are many rare and medical herbs but it is forbidden to pick up they. Also the beech, which has seven trunks, grows there. We had seen it too. And we had seen how the clouds were crawling from the slopes and clutched with the peaks. Sometimes the sunray pierced the clouds but clouds hidden it again in the dense grey blanket. And the bus waited for us again. We rose a little to the plateau and passed through the first layer of clouds. They were crawling through the gape from seaside. Of course, anybody knows that the clouds are a water steam, but any time you wonder with that fact when you see the clouds closely!
Next stop was at the edge of the plateau where the famous pavilion is situated. This pavilion has two names – “the Pavilion of the Winds” and another one “the falling stars’ rain of the recollections”. It stands straight above the abyss, which has height about 1500ft. And the place has a height more than 3000ft over the sea level. In the fine weather you can see the seashore very far from there. But we could see only the clouds those were crawling from below, getting to the edge and floating further along the plateau as the fog. There was a little accident with our excursion. The ground for buses was raised a little towards the edge of the plateau (you remember the height of the abyss!) and our driver drove the bus such that its rear hung over the abyss. Most people cried then and I thought (and then said) that it was a culmination of the excursion for which we had paid our money.
Last stop was at the highest point of the Crimean roads – Nikita’s pass(1340 meters over the sea level). The stony sphere was set there. That place was situated among the Alpine meadows and the groves of the Crimean pine-tree. We walked there, breathed with the mountain air with the herbs’ scent and went back to the Evpatoria. Of course, any tale cannot reproduce the impressions, which we had got from that excursion – that can only have seen.