Day 36, Canyon and shashliks

6 Jun

The Autonomous Region of Crimea is a very diverse, fascinating piece of land. It has several types of people : so far, we’ve met armenians, russians, bulgars, tatars, moldavians…and only one ukranian, our current host. Many landscapes : flat lands, highest mountains in Ukraine, cliffs, canyons, beaches, big forests, small villages and party towns. And different climates : from continental to humid subtropical in the southwest, due to the influence of the Black Sea.

Yalta from the top

We entered Crimea from its capital city, Simferopol, and cycled west towards Backshysarai, a small town where we met crimean tatars (coming back from Uzbekistan) who cooked delicious lamb sashliks on wood fire for us. A first taste about what we’ll eat in Central Asia.

The plan for the next day was to cross the canyon and mountains to reach the south coast in the city of Yalta, where we’d meet our host. The ride slowly revealed the beauty of Crimea, as we could see the canyon from far away, and its big cliffs on both sides of the road.

The 200 meters deep canyon

We choosed the scenic road rather than the fast one and started going uphill at about 2PM, on the way to some well known waterfalls in the area.

Living on the edge

We didn’t know what to expect next, beside that we’d had to climb a little further to get to the other side of the peninsula. But we certainly didn’t expect to be on our way for a 25km uphill ride to get to the top, and reach 1200 meters altitude in a few hours. Obviously, the ride took longer than expected, and we arrived at the top just on time for a beautiful sunset.

That was tough

Star Trek station on the top of the mountain 

As we couldnt reach our host by phone, we decided to stop for more sashliks (already addicted to them!), this time cooked by a very nice armenian family. And possibly camp on the top if we couldnt contact our host.

Shashlik time

But Matvei called us back at around 8PM, saying he’d be waiting for us in Yalta. We got back on our bike for a mountain downhill, thinking it would be fast. Again, the ride took much longer than what we thought, and we quickly started riding in the dark. It had a videogame feeling, as we had 30km of downhill, with main goals being to avoid all the holes in the road, and go faster than the dogs chasing us. Nico’s bike got some damage in the game, as he fell after some 10meters drift in a thin layer of sand, before loosing control of the bike and eject himself from the machine. Luckily, no injuries, and just a few scratches on the bike.

A crazy downhill time

Good memories

Getting to Yalta took us a few hours and we finally reached its coastline at about 10.30PM. The city center is full of clubs, restaurants, and entertainment options for kids and adults. The city is a popular touristic destination, mainly for russians and ukranians.

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One Response to “Day 36, Canyon and shashliks”

  1. Alexandra Panasenko June 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Crimea seems to meet you with some trials, guys… But it’s worth that 🙂

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