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Ernst's Velotouren

Bicycle tour 2008 - 2013
First stage Switzerland - Thailand
Part 3: Peninsula Crimea, June 2008
After 25 days of cycling and roughly 2800 km I have reached the very north of the peninsula Crimea. Along the coast of the Black Sea the Unkraine is much more modern and developed. There are many more shops with a good assortment, gas stations selling beverages and even some working industry. But there is also much more traffic what sometimes spoils the pleasure of riding bicycle.
Picture: Welcome to the Autonomous Republic Crimea.
Picture: Administration building in Krasnoperekops'k (I never was able to pronounce this name correctly). Huge squares and socialist architecture from Soviet times are dominating the pictures of the cities.
Even in big cities there are mostly just a few and very expensive hotels to find. And as I am not able to read well the russian letters (I don't know how "hotel" ist written in Russian) I prefere to camp somewhere out in the countryside. I am able to ask in the cities for a hotel but unfortunately I cannot understand the answers at all. No way! So camping is preferred and it is really a pleasure to begin each day with the beautiful chirping of the birds.
Picture: Happy in my own home. For breakfast I eat bread, cheese, bananas, yoghurt, orange juice and a big piece of chocolate. I am still too lazy to cook, and prefere to eat every few days "borshtsh" (a traditonal soup) and some salad. It would have been good to learn at least some Russian before the take off.
On the peninsula Crimea many farmers sell their delicious fruits along the streets.
Picture: There are growing many different fruits in the mild climate of the peninsula Crimea.
In the south of the peninsula is the huge Crimea-mountain range. The highest peak is the "Tshatirdag" with 1527 m. In the south the Crimean-mountain rage rises sharply out of the Black Sea and fades in the north into dry plains.
Picture: In the northern part of the Crimean-mountain range.
Since I did not enjoy riding on the very frequented mainroad to Simferopol I decided to take a small side road to Jalta. The quiet road guided me directly into a valley but soon it started to climb higher and higher through beautiful forests into the mountain range.
Picture: On small side roads towards Jalta
The road climbed from 60 m below sea level up to a height of 1196 meters. On the peak a beautiful view to Jalta and the coast of the black sea opened to my eyes. Of course I enjoyed then the 20 km long descend down to the city and the seaside.
Picture: A beautiful view to Jalta and the coast of the Black Sea.
Jalta itself has a long and moving history. The town was founded in the 6th century and was ruled during the centuries by many different civilizations. The place became internationally famous through the conference of Jalta in 1945 where Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin und Franklin D. Roosevelt decided over the destiny of the post-war Germany and set the new world order. In present days Jalta lives from tourism and becomes also more and more discovered by Western Europeans as a beautiful holiday destination.
Picture: Classical music on the sea promenade of Jalta.
I rested for a few days in Jalta before I took off through Russia into the vast, endless and dry plains of Kazakhstan.
Picture: View over the roofs of Jalta at dawn.
Picture: Bicycle maintenace in the hotel room. Now the bicycle is again in a very good condition and the hotel room has no visible damage so that the next cyclists will still be welcome.
Picture: The city beach of Jalta.
From Jalta I was riding along the coast to Alushta, Sudak and Feodosiya. The side road after Alushta was a good choice: Just a few cars on the road, beautiful views to the Black Sea and the surrounding mountains, and several times each day I had the opportunity to take a refreshing swim in the sea. Beautiful! But the many and steep ascents in the hot sun were hard. So despite the beautiful mountain landscape I was happy to ride into a huge plain after Feodosiya.
Picture: Church at the seaside near the place Malorichenske
Picture: Endless sky, vast sea, steep mountains and beautiful beaches
The culture is obviously changing as further I get to the east and the first mosques appear in the villages.
Picture: A little mosque in Sudak
During the communist time of the Soviet Union whole cities were built around big factories. The cities are unbelievable ugly and shops, banks and bars are all integrated in the same kind of buildings, so the workers don't need to leave the city anymore. Today those places are marked with a high unemployment rate.
Picture: The city Primorsky close to Feodosiya.The whole city is made of the same ugly buildings.
I left the Ukraine over the strait of Kerch, which connects the Black sea with Azovskoe Sea and reached the village Novorossijsk on the other side, the first Russian place on my way.
Picture: On the ferry to Russia
Next page / Part 4: Russia