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The Crimean southern coast has many attractions which draw tourists in all seasons. With advent of fall, the number of tourists and holidaymakers drops sharply, crowds thin and disappear and you can enjoy the sights of autumnal glory in the blissful quiet.
Mykola IVASHCHENKO was there in the off-season to enjoy the colors and take photos.
There is something of a fairy-tale land in the Crimean southern coast, particularly when it gets rid of hordes of holidaymakers. September and the first part of October are often referred to as “the Velvet Season” and there are still quite a lot of tourists hanging around. But in November the Crimea is almost free of tourist invasion.
That is why my wife and I chose to go to the Crimea in November. Our first destination was Bakhchisarai, the former and ancient capital of the Crimea. And we did not plan to stay in fancy hotels or rest homes — we prefer what is called in this country “wild tourism” — in our case, it is the tent in a backpack that provides a ready accommodation.
Leaving our child and the pet dog — not without some remorse but hoping for the best — in the care of my dear mother-in-law, we hopped on the train (and there were no problems with tickets, and no line in the booking office either!) and off we went to the Crimea.
Upon arrival, we took a bus that was to take us to Ai-Petri, the mountain which is one of the central tourist attractions of the southernmost tip of the Crimean peninsula. In fact, our primary destination was not Ai-Petri itself but a place known as the Grand Canyon located in the vicinity of the mountain.
Before the dark came, we found a nice place for our camp in a valley that was strewn with yellow leaves. The moment the day gave way to the night, the temperature dropped from comfortable 18 Centigrade to rather cool several degrees but still above zero. There was a murmuring brook close by to add to the magic, and by the camp fire Kyiv with its bustle and hustle and worries was entirely forgotten.
We woke early into the morning glory, and after coffee, we broke camp and went on to take pictures — the multicolor autumnal panorama, stones in lichen by the brook, reflections of the sun in the water were ideal targets!
We kept on walking and taking photos as we went. The path took us to a waterfall, known as The Silver Strings. The water falling in many thin streams does look as the strings of a magic harp. We kept walking uphill, past cottages of a hotel which even has a helicopter pad. We spotted two tourists and evidently a gamekeeper talking by the roadside, and as we passed them by we heard that they were talking in English.
The unexpectedly warm fall brought crocuses back to life — and they bloomed! Their blooms formed a wonderful color scheme against the gold of the fallen leaves. As we climbed higher, the views opening up were getting to be progressively magnificent.
I am sure that even people basically indifferent to nature could not help succumbing to the views that opened up as we reached a spot of a particular advantage for taking photos. The photo-friendly spot provided a view of a church, The Church of Christ’s Resurrection, which stands on the tip of a rock cliff and no matter from whatever angle you looked at it, it welcomed photograph taking. The intensive blue of the sky, the blue-greenish-purplish shades of the sea, the riot of colors of the forested mountains and hills were truly overwhelming.
We pitched camp again when the evening began to crawl in on us, and in the morning we continued our hike. We took a bus to get to the Botanical Garden in the outskirts of Yalta, quite a few miles away from where we were. We knew that the Garden displayed its vast collection of chrysanthemums. What we saw exceeded by far all our expectations — there was a majestic display of flowers of all shades of colors. There were quite a lot of people milling around and enjoying the magnificence of the autumnal flowers. Those who wanted to could vote for Best Chrysanthemum of the show.
On the way back to Kyiv, we could not help telling each other that we couldn’t have spent those five days better.
The great display of chrysanthemums in the Nikitsky Botanical Garden in Yalta.
The waterfall Silver Strings is one of the most visually impressive waterfalls in the Crimea.
The Church of Christ’s Resurrection stands on the tip of a rock cliff.