I am writing this from a hostel in Sevastopol one day before the supposed end of our hike. The weather and an unfortunate encounter with a Crimean military base in the forest “I am telling you to go back” meant we decided to retrace our steps, hitch hike to Sevastopel and sleep in a BED one day early. Bliss.
We started our trip by flying from Moscow to Simferopol with fears we were going to be banned from ever entering the Ukraine as a result of our apparent support for the Russian annexation of the Crimea. This has not amounted to anything that we are aware of (unless they’re watching us).
Here’s a rough map of where we hiked:
And so we began by taking the longest trolley bus…in the world?! I want to say in the world…it was long. It had 62 stops. It was old. We eventually arrived in Yalta and got a very old taxi ride to the start of the trail.
Then we walked, a long way. It was mostly incredibly hot and we got very sun burnt. I often swayed between “wow look at this amazing landscape” and “get me off this mountain NOW!!” Without the app “maps me” we would have been lost forever. We talked about water, and rejoiced when we found questionable wells covered by rusting metal panels.
We found the most incredible camping spots:
We enjoyed some breathtaking views:
Reaching a collection of strange cafes by a highway after 5 hours of scrambling about on the ridge burning alive. A very friendly man forced (I was willing) me to try every food on offer with such enthusiasm that he poured a spoonful of rice into my hand and gave me a pickle.
Finding a high end restaurant at 10am and ordering grilled veg and chips after pointing at ourselves and saying “sorry” numerous times whilst sporting intense sun burn and general unsociable appearances.
Another high moment was discovering a sachet of chicken seasoning from a previous pack of noodles and mixing it with instant mash (SMASH if you will-circa mid 90s school dinner ice cream scoop flashback)
And the best was waking up this morning and having a cup of tea (made for me) on top of a rock looking down on the coastal settlement pictured above.
Trekking about in the forest for hours in the rain and mist to be sternly told (in Russian) by the military that we couldn’t go any further, then falling down on the way back to the beginning of the trail.
Running out of Haribo- and then fantasising about finding huts that sell all the sweets in the world for hours afterwards.
Not being able to communicate or understand anything being said, but feeling overly triumphant when recognising that S means C in the Russian alphabet (that’s about all I know)
The Crimea has it all, mountains, forests, beaches and very friendly people. No one speaks English. All in all an amazing 5 days in the wild, and the company wasn’t bad either. Being told “you have snot on your chin” is a bonding experience, right?
Photos by @mtthwcp (instagram)