Marching Through Sevastopol

Trip Start May 12, 2006
Trip End Jun 03, 2006

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

I pulled a neat trick at a restaurant last night.

Picked one off the street at random that looked good and ordered 100ml of vodka and a plate of pickled vegetables. Vodka arrived with a plate of cold meats which I had instead. Ordered a chicken/truffle dish in champagne sauce for the main course which was delicious and asked for the check. It came to 40 hua (about $8). I left 50 and headed off down the street. I made about 4 blocks before I felt a hand on my shoulder. My out of breath waitress had caught up to me and explained in sign language that the bill had actually come to 70 hua. I apologized profusely feeling like a total idiot, dug another 40 hua out of my wallet and we parted company.

I just can't seem to get away with anything in this life.

Up this morning at 7 and after breakfast headed up the hill through a park to the Panorama, a permanent exhibit on the Crimean War that Yvgeny had recommended. It's housed in an enormous rotunda (destroyed by Nazi bombing and reconstructed in the '50s) and features a magnificent 360 degree painting of the seige with lifesize set pieces in the foreground, the muddy trenches and earth works, soldier's huts, the mortar-smashed rooftops and the detritus of battle.

Then back down the hill through the park and onto vul Lenina which winds its way above the South Bay through more parks and promenades to the 1846 sea gateway to the city. Below that point the park meets the harbor and I spent an hour reading and sipping coffee at a cafe looking out over the channel past the lighthouse and into the Black Sea. An eagle-topped monument rises from the water near the shore commemorating the Russian ships they scuttled to block the entrance to the harbor against the British fleet. The hulks are still down there, pushed to the side to clear the channel.

From that point you can walk along the embankment into and around Artyleriska Cove, a lovely blue-green inlet surrounded by a few of the remaining 19th c. buildings and lined with souvenir stalls, beer gardens and restaurants. I followed the water for a couple of miles around to the opposite side where Sevastopolians were roasting their flesh in the sun and diving off the embankment into the clear water. I found a restaurant built out on a small pier, switched from coffee to beer and read for an hour or two under the shade of an umbrella watching the water taxis and tour boats parade up and down the cove.

I meet Yvgeny tomorrow morning for the trip to Yalta with a day's worth of stops along the way.

Oh, and I learned the name of the Ukranian national anthem. How's this for chest-thumping pride and rabid nationalistic fervor? It's called "Ukraine Has Not Yet Died."
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