Day 7: Sudak/Novy Svyet, Ukraine

by - August 31, 2012

I left you as we headed for Odessa station to get the train to Simferopol.  The journey was full of drama - as we walked along the platform we passed a darkened carriage which appeared to contain cages.  On closer inspection there were hands grasping the outside of the cages and shaded faces grinning behind - it turned out that the last carriage of our train was a prison carriage.  Having never seen such a thing before, we were all a little unsettled.  We were further unsettled in the early hours of the morning when the train pulled up next to a junk yard containing a burning car which exploded just as we passed, shooting a fireball into the air and making the carriage shake.  We assume that it was arson that had got out of hand.  Anyway, believe it or not, the journey was actually fairly comfortable as we didn’t arrive in Simferopol on the Crimean peninsular until about midday so had plenty of time to get up at our leisure.

The remains of Sudak castle
As we had lots of stuff to see in the Crimea and not a lot of time to see it, I had arranged for us to meet up with a local tour guide called Sergey Sorokin who was to drive us around.  While it did take the edge off the whole ‘independent travelling’ thing, given the choice of spending a bit extra to see everything and missing things on the cheap, I would always spend the extra.  Sergey picked us up from Simferopol train station and we headed due east to the town of Sudak on the Crimean coast.  The town is famous for its 14th century Genoese castle, an important stop on the silk road to China.  It stood for a century as one of five Italian outposts on the Crimea, before it fell to the Ottomans.  The remains of the castle are fairly substantial and the views over the coast are really pretty.  The town has a beach and is popular with locals and Russians, though the tourist season is currently coming to a close as the school year is about to start.  We had a bit of lunch in the town before heading onto our next location, the cliffs around the town of Novy Svet.
The view from Sudak castle

The coastline around Novy Svet
Novy Svet itself is nothing much more than a Russian beach resort, but the surrounding cliffs are supposedly the most beautiful stretch of Crimean coastline.  We parked up and then walked around 3.5km along a coastal path.  The weather has been fantastic up until now and we were able to get photos from Sergey’s favourite viewpoint.  Despite doing the same walk countless times, he got his camera out as he said that the conditions were just about perfect.  Apparently a few years ago the beaches in the area were totally unregulated and were at risk of being totally obliterated by holiday makers.  Things have changed a lot in Ukraine, particularly in the run up to Euro 2012, as an influx of European tourists makes the country re-think its tourist industry.  The beaches are now protected and there are western signs all over the place which is to our advantage.  We had done a lot of driving to get to Sudak so we now headed back west on a two and a half hour drive to Yalta where we would be spending the night.  On the way back we stopped at an amazing church perched on the hill that had been set up as a memorial to all the sailors that had died along the coastline.  It was a great place to watch the sun go down.  We got to Yalta late and essentially crashed at the hostel where Sergey dropped us off.

Church to the lost sailors, Crimean coastline

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