Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sevastopol, Ukraine

Grabbing my robe, I stepped out onto the balcony. At 6 a.m., we have slipped from the Black Sea into the river Churuk Sou. This has been a strategic naval location since the 1700's when Russia chose it for their Black Sea Fleet. Sorta odd, the Russian Fleet is on one side of the river and the Ukrainian Fleet on the other.

Four pilots waited as we slid past many, many memorials and statues on the cliffed banks to the area struggles .... successful and tragic. With delicate hand, we are birthed among war and hospital ships. Holy cow!!! I'm taking shots of the RUSSIAN FLEET ......

No delivered breakfast today; meeting Ed at Discoveries. The group is off for a full day of ruins and Tartar food. We opted not to participate.

A 5 minute walk to Central Park. Ahh, a bank and an ATM. Funny how you can guess your way through the withdrawal process until it comes to the amount. Currencies are like Monopoly money .... it makes very little sense. We have either 50 cents or 50 dollars???!!! The exchange rate was 7.90 to a dollar; well, it sounded really good. Right?

For morning hours, the heat is rising. Thank goodness Central Park is tree covered and strewn with benches. Labored breathing, rubber band legs and I settle on a quiet bench sending Ed off to browse and wander. It was a perfect time to make phone calls with my new global phone. Honest to goodness, there is a busy signal for the voice messages ....RATZ .... "the number you have dialed is unreachable". I give up!

Feeling better, believe I'll browse through the shops. Wandering along, here is a young man with a white and a blue Peacock [I thought they were stuffed until they moved]. For a price, passersby could have their picture taken. The vendors held nothing I would have. So, back to the bench. Watched the birds being posed and the man strolling the monkey on a leash. With Ed's return, he had found nothing of interest. Ambling back toward the ship, we happened upon vendors with stacked dolls and intricately painted boxes. I love neat finds. Ed finally admits his ankles are swollen and hurt. As I become easily winded, we head back to the ship for the remainder of the afternoon. At least I wasn't the last person on board.

6 p.m. and we are off. Again, we sit chatting on my balcony with "bites and libation" watching the pilot boats guide us out of the harbor. The history here seems to have been one of destruction, rebuild, destruction, rebuild. This city destroyed itself and sank their fleet to keep it out of the enemies hands {Crimean War]. Then the Germans bombed them during WWII. Reconstruction was completed in the 1950's. Persistence to exist is powerful. Back into the sea and the weekend in Odessa.

That's enough for today. Just received some fine tea, join me for a cup?

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