The ugliest Crimean city? Probably Yalta!

During our free day it incessantly rained. Therefore, we felt lucky when on the next morning the rain stopped, and the sun came out a few times from behind the clouds. Full of enthusiasm, we left the rented flat, and at the stairs met the Landlady. Ms. Landlady turned out to be another talkative person, who is willing to help us. She advised us what to see, and where are the stops for minibuses that we should take to reach our destinations.

Rich with advice, we went to the bus stop. After standing for a long time we approached the window and asked the lady in the information when the minibus arrives. In response, we heard that “marshrutka will be here when it arrives”, and an advice to wait a bit longer. It did not take ten minutes, when the yellow minibus appeared on the horizon. We got onboard, and drove towards our first destination.

Flashy Yalta

Yalta was the furthest of our destinations, so we decided to start from it. Besides, we needed an Internet cafe, and we did not expect to find it in other places.

I remember when I was a child, one of my uncles told us on a family meeting that he and his wife had spent their holidays in a holiday resort in Yalta, Crimea. He told it in such a way, that in my mind Yalta has grown to the status of the golden city, and I had started to believe that holidays there could only be afforded by kings. Since then whenever I heard the keyword Yalta I imagined an expensive holiday in a wonderful and exotic place. It was only until that fateful day when I got to Yalta myself, that I realized the awful truth.

Restaurant in Yalta
Ukrainian restaurant Hispaniola, which serves sushi.

It was shocking to discover that Yalta is not made of gold and marble, but gray concrete. They do not even have sand on the beach there, it is just gray concrete, everywhere. On squares one should be cautious, as each of them has a few Arabs bearing on their hands pigeons, with which you absolutely have to get a picture (poor animals). We walked through half of the city in search of something nice or/and worthy of attention – practically in vain. It was just the ugliest city I’ve ever seen. I do not understand now how uncle could possibly have been charmed by something like this. After all, our home town, Kostrzyn, is a hundred times more beautiful!

Some bloggers write almost sonnets on the tender beauty of Yalta. Even more: they compare it with Cannes or Nice. If that’s how Cannes or Nice look like, I guess I do not want to visit them.

Practical monument
Do you recognize this guy?

We found an internet cafe, and went on a last walk along the beach. Our attention was caught by a beautiful stand with polished pomegranates, which was completely different from the others. Unfortunately, we did not know yet what awaits us there…

There are many plants and animals which lure a potential victim with their appearance. Just as they, Arabic salesman lures potential victims with the help of his perfect and colorful stand. As soon as we approached it, the salesman “attacked”, and began his “hypnotic session”. One of our colleagues (who had seen the tricks of this kind in Morocco) instead of helping us in getting out of there, quickly vanished and left us enchanted in the hands of the seller from the lineage of the best traders in the world. We did not even noticed when in our hands appeared three bottles of pomegranate juice and two jars of marmalade. When the shock passed, we estimated how many it could actually cost us. It turned out that we did not overpay, and the product was of very good quality.

Yalta Conference was held at Livadia

Another point of the trip was the Livadia Palace where the Yalta Conference was held. Maybe there’s a logical explanation for why the naming does not reflect the actual state of events. Unfortunately, for me, it is still a mystery why the conference is not called Livadian. For any enlightenment, thank you in advance.

However, putting the theoretical digressions aside, and returning to Livadia, I liked the Potocki Palace and its surroundings. Here, too, the locals willingly strolled through the historic grounds with their families. The most beautiful part of the Palace was the Italian Courtyard.

Livadia, where the conference in Yalta was held
Potocki Palace from the front

Palace of the Potocki family Liwadia
Livadia Palace, from a slightly different perspective

Swallow’s Nest also did not disappoint me – it is a very beautiful building. Of course, it is a place commonly visited by tourists, too. And the fact that there are plenty of tourists makes it also full of other people, for example: Arabs, this time with monkeys. They caught me when I was doing pictures. Being luckless, they quickly left my side – I’m not a monkey lover. Had they approached me with an elephant, in addition, with a guaranteed opportunity to feed it with a watermelon, I would have acted differently.

Swallow's Nest in Crimea
Swallow’s Nest

Over the Crimean coast in Alupka we spent one more day – we used it to hike in the nearby mountains. Unfortunately, the weather was not good – the mountains were hidden in a dense fog, it was constantly drizzling. Finding a hiking trail was difficult, but the locals willingly helped us in getting on the correct path. I stated this many times before, but I’ll do it again – the people of Ukraine are really wonderful people. Really really.

Before we left the Crimea and went to Kiev, we visited Feodosiya and Koktebel. About my adventures in these places I will tell you in the next week, so feel invited!

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