Ukr7 – The Crimea & Odessa trip #1: Introduction

Sitting here now, in this stormy autumn weather, with a mug of coffee and under the warm blanket, I have no doubts that our trip to Crimea and Odessa is and will be one of my brightest memories from the whole stay in Ukraine. These regions simply  h a v e    t o    b e called real trademarks of Ukrainian turism and there would be no mistake in saying that whoever’ve been to Ukraine, if haven’t seen any of them, have seen just a small part of what this country keeps on offer.

So far I didn’t really believe that I could find places like these in Ukraine. I saw Kiev and Donieck and thought that’s the highest peak. Everyday life in Luhansk lowered my expectations pretty much; even though I was aware that cities differ, I wasn’t quite prepared for the fact that the differences may be so extreme. What I saw during a short period of our travel, especially in Crimea, corrected my way of thinking. This region is trully a pearl of Ukraine, no wonder they keep mentioning it all the time.

I was discovering these beautiful places with Monika and Jarda, both friends from my internship,  for around a week. I will always think warmly of the time spent in their company, as being on one path often brings people together, despite varied matters that may arise during the travel. And there were even more people we met on our way, special and unforgetful.

We started our journey on Thursday the 4th of August. Just before this date we had to pack all that was needed and move the rest of stuff somewhere – 2 days before the trip it had occurred that interns’ flat would not be rented for us anymore (big applause for AIESEC Luhansk here, as most interns were supposed to stay for about 3 weeks more). Thanks to Pasha my bags waited for me safely in his flat, he also borrowed me a backpack, which proved to be very useful on the way. Just by the way, I am absolutely proud of myself as I managed to pack myself FOR A WEEK into one middle-sized backpack and a small purse. Well, to be completely truthful I have to admitt that it was basically due to the Mediterranean climate, as the weather is warm and stable most of the time. Still, it was quite a success for someone like me!

The plan of the trip was:

  1. Depart by bus from Luhansk on 4th of August, arrive into Simferopol in the early Friday morning;
  2. Stay in Crimea for 4-5 days, see Simferopol, Yalta, Sevastopol, Bakhisaray and maybe something more;
  3. Move on to Odessa for more 2 or 3 days, see the city, and then return to Luhansk on the morning of August 13th.

Actually, the whole idea of the trip came from the interns conference in Crimea that was supposed to be held there at the beginning of August by AIESEC Simferopol. Even though the conference was cancelled, we decided to organize the trip on our own. I did the whole internet and couchsurfing research on my own, as it was not much time left and Monika and Jarda had still been at the camp. It was just then that I thought for the first time that there is so much places to see and we have so little time for it.

I guess this is the place to say a few sentences about the Ukrainian transportation system. The cheapest and most comfortable way to travel around the country is to take a train; the great invention are long-distance trains, equipped in convenient wagons with sleeping places. In Poland we rarely use them, because an average journey lasts from 5 to 8 hours by train, but here, when we are talking about distances like 15 or 20 hours, it is a very reasonable invention. The only trouble is that on big occasions (such as summertime in Crimea) all tickets get sold out long before the departure date… even a month or more before no single place can be found in the whole train, taking into account also all 3 classes of wagons!

     That, on the other hand, seems highly unlikely in my country, as – whatever bad we can say about Polish railways – as long as there is a strong demand for connections and clients with money in their pockets, they will try to handle it. Here, there is no other option but to use a services of private companies, so usually simply take a bus. What’s the problem then? The price of the bus ticket is doubled compared to the average price of the train one and you are offered a normal sitting place (the absence of toilet or air-conditioning in the bus is not even worth mentioning). And actually I have to say that a long-distance bus tickets (Luhansk-Simferopol and Odessa-Luhansk, both around 280 UAH each) were the biggest expense in my budget from the trip.

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~ by jumikao on September 30, 2011.

One Response to “Ukr7 – The Crimea & Odessa trip #1: Introduction”

  1. Ups! A new post at the blog)) Didn’t think that it gonna happen! Respect to the author)) Keep working!

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