Day 8-9, Walk in the Crimean mountains

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Day 8, 14.4., Sevastopol

That day, not much was going on. I accompanied L. to the university, took some money. After I was done E. and one of her fellow students came towards me. They had a break, so we walked through Chersonesus having conversation in German.

At the end E. asked me, whether I would be OK to visit one of her German classes the next day, which I happily agreed to.

Apart from that I just walked around and literally asked in every shop, whether they have post cards. But I didn’t have success. At the post office a woman told me – at least that’s what I got from her words – that all post cards had to be exchanged. This is strange, because normally post cards don’t care, which country the region belongs to.

I could have understood if they had been out stamps, because these had to be exchanged into Russian ones. However, back in Yalta I was able to get stamps as well as post cards.

In the end  I walked the long way back to L.’s apartement to say Good-bye and go to her friend A. and her boyfriend O., who is a professional PC gamer.

Day 9, 15.4., Sevastopol, Foros-Tilove

At noon I met with E. to take part in the German lesson. Including the teacher, eight students were present – only girls. But the communication in German was a bit difficult. It was possible to talk with the teacher, E. and her friend R., but the other students rather wanted to speak English. So in the end, when the teacher was gone,  we spoke English, .

I arranged to meet E. and R. on Thursday again for a little tour and went to the bus station from where I took a bus to Foros to start my hike along some crests (map in OpenRouteService.org). I started the approximately 12km hike quite late in the afternoon at 4pm and started hitchhiking back to Sevastopol at about 8pm. But because it got dark at about 9pm, that was not a problem.

The first part of the hike was a bit chilly as I forgot a jacket. But after the first “summet” I hiked out of the clouds into the sun and could enjoy the famous beautiful and breathtaking Crimean landscape – I loved walking along the crests and over meadows.

The way was not really well signed, but with GPS, it haven’t been a problem. But I guess even without it’s possible to find at least the right direction – it was just more comfortable for me, since I started quite late.

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Photos of day 8


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Day 6-7, Chersonesus, Balaklava

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Day 6, 12.4., Sevastopol, Chersonesus

In the morning L. had to visit some teaching lessons for her new job. That’s why I walked through the Eastern part of Sevastopol  without a real plan. In opposite to the previous days in Crimea, the weather was rainy and cold. Only near midday it became warmer.

When L. was finished, we went to Central Shopping Area (ЦУМ) near her university, ate Pizza and met with her friend A. Then we went to Chersonesus (Херсонес) an ancient greek town at the Sevastopol seaside.

But before I had to use an ATM. But like anywhere in Crimea (or better in Sevastopol), only Russian banks were opened. All Ukrainian ones were closed and their ATMs shut down. In front of the Russian banks, many people waited for hours to change their bank accounts and receive their salary (in Rubels).

There were crowds from the early morning till even 8.30pm in the evening in front of e.g. VTB or Sberbank.

During the period of transition the payment of the salary in Rubels is a bad deal for the population. The amount is converted from Grivnas into Rubels according to the current exchange rate (buy 1:3.3 – sell 1:2.8) . In the shops it was reconverted again, but usually to an even worse rate than at the banks (like 1:3.5, even 1:4 in the busses). So in addition to the floating exchange rate this caused another loss of the original value of the salary.

**Average salary 2500 Grivnas (170€, 04/2014) × 2,8 = 7000 Rubels /3,5 = 2000 Grivnas (135 €) ⇒ 20% loss**

In my case only Sberbank had ATMs that I could take money (Grivnas, but that was good) from. But I had to wait some time as well, because usually there were people in front of me, who either didn’t know how to use a cash machine or used it for making a deposit.

Anyway we searched for a hole in the fence to not pay the “enormous” entrance fee of Chersonesus of 35 Grivnas (2,40€). After a tour around the whole area, we found the hole and enjoyed the sunny weather walking around.

In the evening we met some acquaintances of A. and went to a bar. Later we separated and L., her friend S. and me sat down at a playground, drinking some cider.

Day 7, Sunday 13.4., Balaklava

After a long sleep L. and I met her boyfriend and E., a fellow student of hers who’s learning German and wanted to practice it. After the bus ride to Balaklava – in the south of Sevastopol – another friend, D., joined us and we made a tour in a former military area inside the mountains. Submarines and weapons were based there and it was very interesting to see, because from what the guide said I understood as much as a Russian bear would have been a guide. Fortunately E. and L. translated some facts.

Afterwards we walked around the Balaklava bay, passed by lately abandoned huge dachas of former Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovich and climbed up the cliff line. From there the view over the bay and the Black Sea coast was amazing.

In the end D. drove with us to a Tatar restaurant where we ate big shashlik.

D. was only one of many that put a Russian sticker over the national sign on the number plate of their car. It takes time to exchange and re-register the Ukrainian cars/number plates, but some want to help manually.

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Photos of Chersonesus # Photos of Balaklava



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