In the end, we left our courteous hosts in Koktebel and went to Feodosiya. Genoese Fortress of Caffa interested us the most. Almost in no time we got to the town. From the bus station we started looking for a way to get to the fortress. The map in our GPS was not of much help, but the locals advised us which marshrutka to take, and when to get off.
Our marshrutka, however, did not stop near the fortress. We had to face a walk up the hill to reach it. Fortunately, the road was not boring at all. We passed Mufti Jami Mosque, and were delighted to see the phenomena of Ukrainian architecture, such as pipes running not under ground but above it. We were not sure what could be transported by them, but we assumed that the most logical answer would be gas.
Mufti Jami Mosque
Genoese Fortress’ hard walls
At the time of its prime Feodosiya was one of the finest and largest cities in the world. This was thanks to the Genoese, who, with the consent of the Tatars, created there a great center of trade. The fortress was built to ensure the safety of the entire city and was one of the largest in Europe.
Near the fortress we found people in the middle of their working day, and, again, dogs. The dogs also behaved in a friendly way like those in Koktebel. We suppose that it was so mainly because we had food with us. If ignored – the dogs just left our sides: locals gave them food, too.
One of the 34 towers of the fortress
From Koktebel, naturally, we brought along some of the fine local wine. It was very sweet and obviously with high alcohol content. The day was sunny and warm, so as soon as we finished wandering around the fortress, we sat on the grass and celebrated this beautiful moment in front of the Crimean Black Sea. In the end, those were our last moments in its vicinity.
The place where we tasted the wine
At the gates of Paradise in Simferopol
Another marshrutka ride ended near the airport in Simferopol. Because we did not find free places on a train between Simferopol and Kiev, we have chosen an alternative solution, which was a plane flight. As you probably guessed, it was the largest expenditure in the budget of our entire trip.
Moreover, we spent the night near the airport, in the hotel aptly named “Paradise”. It was a workers’ hostel renowated and changed to a hotel for tourists and people who use the services of the airport. Unfortunately, it was a paradise only by name, but it was clean and warm, so I should not complain. When I went to the bathroom to take a bath, I opened some random door being sure that it will be a shower entrance. To my surprise, I opened a broom locker. There would be nothing unusual in it, if not for the hanging in it posters: half-naked woman, a rooster and a drag queen. Still astonished by my discovery I quickly called out my travel companions, who were also quite surprised by what they saw.
One of our colleagues, well- versed in the Ukrainian culture explained to us that the drag queen is Verka Serduchka, who had the opportunity to show his talent at the Eurovision Song Contest, and is a highly respected star in Ukraine. Some people even consider him a national hero. Still, even our friend was not able to explain the importance of a rooster from the poster compilation.
Verka Serduchka at Eurovision in 2007
Before we fell asleep for good, we had a pleasant Ukrainian cognac tasting. In a few hours we got on a plane, left the Crimea, and landed in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. What I liked the most there? I will answer in the next post on Ukraine.