Krym presents an abundance and diversity of food, cultures, climates, and trails. While some signed and mapped routes exist in the Karpaty, Krym has a well-connected system of routes. Signage is good, and camping is recommended (perhaps required, technically) at designated sites called tyristoyankas, complete with tent sites, a tyalet, and often a spring. The climate, ranging from subtropical to maritime continental, is as diverse as the foods and cultures.
Some footpaths, like the one above, are rugged and remote. Others cut right through touristic centers, such as between an ancient cave city and an Orthodox monastery, complete with a variety of vendors on alongside the trail. From the first signs of red and white back in Holland, there are more similarities than differences to all the footpaths we have seen in Europe. Incidentally, we have been teased by rain, or the chance of rain during our time here. In many ways, our summer begins and ends in much the same way.
Vendors line the steep, rocky path near the cave city. “Molodets!”, they shout, cheering us up the intermittently technical ascent.
The climate ranges greatly from the azure coastline along the Black Sea, where a narrow subtropical zone exists,
To a semi-arid continental climate further inland, much like parts of California, featuring chalky soils of fragmented limestone. Sloping sedimentary strata gently rise to dramatic cliffs. White oak and beech trees are abundant.
The Tartars have left an historic impact on the culture and architecture in Krym, although the population was violently expunged and relocated to central Asia during Stalin’s time. Many people have returned since the time of Ukrainian independence.
The Soviets have also left an unmistakable impression, with an aesthetic that blends blunt purpose and grandeur– function and form– beyond compare.
Ancient cave cities may be more than a millennium old.
While this Christian Orthodox monastery is also built into the cliffs.
We also discovered a Karaite cemetery, with many graves dating to the 1800′s.
Food is everywhere. Apples on the trail.
Wine in bulk. We fill the 64 oz. Klean Kanteen with wine for less than $10. A semi-sweet red Muscat is our preferred taste after some exhaustive research.
Sounding out Cyrillic characters: Sh-A-R-D-O-Ne. Chardonnay, one of the dryer wines produced in the region. Sweet and semi-sweet reds are the most common.
And a local delicacy of walnuts, strung together and candied in a gelatinous coating. Of questionable appearance.
Both honey and nuts are common, often available from the same vendors, sometimes even in the same jar.
Animals enjoy the richness of the land as well.
While we enjoy the opportunity to live outdoors for a few more weeks in Ukraine.
Our expectations of unending sun are quieted by a brooding sky. Several intense showers come and go, although most often we enjoy great cycling weather. Locals insist that the weather is unseasonably wet and cool for September, a time of year popular with tourists. Summer months can be quite hot.
Our riding pace has been studiously slow, and we’ve covered nearly all of the major walking routes within a small region between Sevastapol and Bakchiseray. While the entire peninsula isn’t even that big, and the mountainous section much smaller, there is still so much to discover here. We are already making plans to come back, with an idea to encircle the Black Sea.