Days 42-43 : From Black to Azov sea, from mountains to flat lands

14 Jun

Huge contrast compared to the past days : it’s flat!!! And really flat. We are on our way to Kerch, the last city before Russia, where stands the boat that we hope will bring us to Georgia (otherwise we’d most likely be stuck, as the abcasian border is a tricky one for westerners). There is one national road, 80 km long, where we can push to 25km per hour average. It’s been a while we couldn’t get to that speed. There is no shadow, but we go fast enough to refresh ourselves with selfmade wind. We cycled up north, and decided to reach the Azov sea to spend the night. We went through small villages, then found a nice place to stop and watch the Ukranian team, which was playing against Sweden…and won!

Flat lands

Our camping spot in Shcholkine

Ukranian gangster after the game

The place, Shcholkine, was much bigger than what it looked on the map, and the street that lead to the beach is surprisingly full of clubs and restaurants. And the most surprising is that we actually found a place with alternative music that fit our tastes…for one of the very first time since the beginning of the trip. The DJ was playing dubstep, drum and bass, breakbeat and jungle for a handful of nice people who became our party buddies for the night….a long, long night 🙂

The next day started late, with a slight hangover. The temperature was above 30 degrees and we had to cover about 80km to get to Kerch.   While eating and rehydrating, we met one of our party buddies from the last night, Valery, who told us it would be much shorter to cycle along the sea shore to get to Kerch, that the road was good for bikes even if it wasn’t tarmac. We thought it’d be shorter, chiller, and nicer, so we went for it…but after a few kilometers we realized that the path wasn’t that great for cyclists, as the thick layer of sand made it impossible for us to cycle for a few kilometers.

 Valery our party friend

 Path is no good!

After struggling for some time to pull our bikes in the sand, we found a way out and got back on some ridable roads. Not tarmac either, but at least we could cycle. At 6PM, we still had to ride 50km so had to rush to avoid cycling too much in the dark. Halfway between forest and countryside, we stopped to get some water in a small shop, and ended up in the middle of a hippie gathering with rastas, anarchists, punks and also few people that looked more normal. Absolute surprise to find those guys here! They welcomed us to spend some time with them at the festival, but we  declined the offer as we had to get to Kerch on the same day. After some research, we found out that this Rainbow Gathering is a worldwide community of utopists who live together in peace and love for a month in the nature, far away from consumerism and mass media. True that this area is ideal for that hippie lifestyle.

 Those are not hippies

Few kilometers afterwards, we got back on the main road and can finally speed up. We enjoy the scenery as much as we can, as we are aware that this is our last cycling day in Crimea.

As for many other places, we feel that could have spent several extra weeks exploring the area, but the boat is waiting for us in Kerch…at least we hope so 🙂

Cycling Crimea has been a fantastic experience and we’d definitely recommend the peninsula to all of you.

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