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May 29 - June 6 Sevastopol in Crimea (Ukraine)

  • May 29, 2012 · 10:00 PM

Having been to  September 17 - 24 Sevastopol in Crimea (Ukraine)

http://www.meetup.com/AAA-London-Group/events/22305591/

last month, I already want to go back there. Many of you wanted to take part but could not due to the trip was posted up only 3 months in advance and most of members did not have any holiday left. This time we have decided to give a longer notice, taking into consideration  the final tournament of Euro 2012 will be hosted by Poland and Ukraine between 8 June and 1 July 2012.

We would need to buy flights far in advance...

This trip will last one day longer to have the most of it during full 7 days due to late arrival on May 29 and early departure on June 6 so you can not really count those days in.

I had worked as a private tour guide in Sevastopol for a couple of years before I arrived to the UK 10 years ago. I love the nature of the region and its incomparable beauty, would be very happy to show my Motherland and share my knowledge of the area with you.

Crimea is a region in the South of Ukraine. The Crimean Peninsula is connected to the rest of the Ukraine by a narrow neck of land, making it more like an island with a natural land bridge than simply a bit of land jutting out into the sea. The peninsula was the site of the Crimean War, between 1854 and 1856, and gave rise to modern nursing, live war reporting, and the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade and the Balaclava(woolen head garment)..

The full price for this trip is £439, you will need to pay £150 deposit at this stage within a week time after you have RSVPed "yes".The balance should be paid by 1st of  March 2012. 

The deposit of £150 is not refundable but transferable.

“Swallow’s Nest” is a castle, built in the late XIX century near Yalta, in the South of Crimea. Situated on the steep cliff right over the sea, it has become the symbol of the South coast of Crimea and one the of the most exciting point of interests of the whole resort.

Steeped in history, Crimea is a fascinating region to explore, as well as a great place to relax. Across the centuries it has attracted settlers such as the Greeks, the Venetians and the Genoese - all of whom founded cities along the coast and inter-married with the local people. The western terminus of the Great Silk Road was on the Crimean coast. After a long period as part of the Byzantine empire, it was overrun by Chingiz Khan's Golden Horde and remained a Tatar Khanate until annexed by Imperial Russia in the eighteenth century. This rich history is still alive today in its fabulous palaces and historic sites, and in the culture and way of life of today's Crimean people.

Now an autonomous republic within Ukraine, Crimea is busy re-inventing itself after the ending of the old Soviet Union.
Visitors from western Europe and further afield are welcomed in a country which has opened its doors to foreign tourists by reducing visa requirements to a minimum. Citizens of EU, USA, Canada do NOT need a Visa to enter Ukraine.

Whether you want wine-tasting or scuba diving, mountains or sea, to visit the Byzantine ruins of Khersoness, or the fabulous Livadia Palace near Yalta, home of the last of the Russian Tsars - or if you just want to relax on the beach and then while away a warm summer evening in a gourmet restaurant, Crimea has something for you.

The most well-known part of Crimea - the Southern Coast - is located between the Black Sea and the Main Mountain Ridge. The crowning jewel of Crimea, it has a sub-Mediterranean climate, luxuriant greenery and numerous natural features that make you want to stay forever.

We will be based in Sevastopol, the city where I was born and had lived for 33 years.

Sevastopol is an important and historical port on the Black Sea. Founded in 1783 as the base of the Black Sea Navy of Russia, it was besieged by the British in the Crimean War. In the 20th century it was the home port of the Soviet Navy's Black Sea Fleet, and the city retains a significant Russian naval presence.

For years the town of Sevastopol was closed to foreigners even to Ukrainians who couldn't show that they had a good reason for going there to see family or business connections. You had to have a permit, because Sevastopol was the home of the soviet Black Sea fleet, and at the height of the cold war the town was definitely off limits to western tourists. In 1997, Russia agreed to hand over control of the town to Ukraine, and now Sevastopol welcomes visitors.

The population is still largely ethnically Russian and the population's sympathies still lie largely with Moscow rather than Kiev.

Sevastopol  together with Kronstadt and Gibraltar is one of the most famous naval citadels in Europe. It is a good jumping-off place to see some of the sites from the Crimean War. There is an amazing museum called a Panorama, which depicts the siege of Sevastopol (from the Russian point of view) with a display a little like a diorama, but much more impressive - there is a huge circular canvas of about 2000 square metres as a backdrop, and then lots of props such as cannons and models of redoubts in the foreground.

In the west of the city, there are well-preserved ruins of an ancient Greek port city of Chersonesos, founded in the 5th century BC. The name means "peninsula" reflecting its location and is not related to the ancient Greek name for the Crimean Peninsula, Chersonēsos Taurikē ("the Taurian Peninsula").

Balaklava is a former closed military town near Sevastopol city, now is a district of Sevastopol. It is famous for its snake like shape harbor. You can not see the entrance from the open sea.

We plan to go to the once secret harbor at Balaklava with its maintenance bays for submarines built inside the mountain (if you're a scuba diver, one of the local centres offers a dive through the underwater tunnel into the maintenance cave, now no longer used.) Balaklava is equally famous as the base from which the British, French and Turkish allies launched their siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War.

The Balaclava helmet, cardigan and raglan sleeve are originally from here. In Balaklava it was the heroic and useless attack of Light Brigade... The bloody war which began with the farewell waving of queen Victoria's hanky and finished with late regret of lord Sinckler...

Almost the entire population of Balaklava at the time worked at the Base, even family members could not visit the town of Balaklava without good reason and identification. The base remained operational after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 until 1993 when the decommissioning process started and the warheads and low yield torpedoes were removed. Then in 1996 the last Russian Submarine left the Base, and now you can go on Guided tours round the Channel System, Base and small Museum, which is now housed in the old weapons stowage hangers deep inside the hillside.

Few places on Earth have so many diverse hiking opportunities in such a small territory as Crimea. A multitude of micro-climates and micro-ecosystems and an abundance of roads, trails, and historical objects makes Crimea a very interesting place to explore.

We plan to visit and hike the most popular places around Sevastopol and along the Southern Coast of the Crimea. There is also visiting historical places in our agenda as well as checking out the best beaches and old  cave towns.

The detailed plan of this trip and accommodation details (we can rent a flat or a large private hotel just for our group, members will stay in rooms for 2-3 people) will be sent to members later. It will depend on amount of people willing to participate.

The price of £439 includes:

all accommodation,

all breakfasts and packed lunches, 2 dinners - one of them is "sashliki" - Russian barbecue,

transport on arrival/departure days and the days when we go hiking or sigh seeing out of the city of Sevastopol,

guided hikes,

Russian speaking guide - Misha .


The prise does NOT include:

flights,

entrance fee to the museums, castles and so on,

transport on Marshrutka or local taxi,

5 dinners (usually £7-10 for 3 course meal with wine).

Money: The hryvnia, sometimes hryvnya or grivna  is the currency of Ukraine. £1= 12.5 Grivna. The best way is to bring Euro to Sevastopol, it is easy to exchange it in any banks. UK pounds are not that popular and the exchange rate is not good at all.

Flights: The current price for a return flight via Kiev to Simferopol on OPODO £[masked] .

The recommended flights are:

Outbound: Tue 29 May 12  - 1 stop(s)  -  Duration: 07:30 Ukraine Intl. Airlines Departing: 12:20 Tue London Gatwick Terminal S Arriving: 17:40 Tue Kiev Borispol Apt, Ukraine Terminal F Ukraine Intl. Airlines PS 502 - Aircraft type - 734 Baggage allowance: 20 kg More info

Economy

  Connection: Change plane and terminal  17:40 Tue - 20:25 Tue   Stop-over duration: 2h45

From: Terminal F, Kiev Borispol Apt (KBP), Kiev, Ukraine

To: Terminal B, Kiev Borispol Apt (KBP), Kiev, Ukraine

Ukraine Intl. Airlines Departing: 20:25 Tue Kiev Borispol Apt, Ukraine Terminal B Arriving: 21:50 Tue Simferopol, Ukraine Ukraine Intl. Airlines PS 61 - Aircraft type - 735 Baggage allowance: 20 kg More info

Economy

  Inbound: Wed 06 June 12  - 1 stop(s)  -  Duration: 06:20 Ukraine Intl. Airlines Departing: 07:05 Wed Simferopol, Ukraine Arriving: 08:25 Wed Kiev Borispol Apt, Ukraine Terminal B Ukraine Intl. Airlines PS 62 - Aircraft type - 735 Baggage allowance: 20 kg More info

Economy

This flight uses e-tickets What's this?

    Connection: Change plane and terminal  08:25 Wed - 10:00 Wed   Stop-over duration: 1h35

From: Terminal B, Kiev Borispol Apt (KBP), Kiev, Ukraine

To: Terminal F, Kiev Borispol Apt (KBP), Kiev, Ukraine

Ukraine Intl. Airlines Departing: 10:00 Wed Kiev Borispol Apt, Ukraine Terminal F Arriving: 11:25 Wed London Gatwick Apt, United Kingdom Terminal S Ukraine Intl. Airlines PS 501 - Aircraft type - 734 Baggage allowance: 20 kg More info

Economy

Transport: We will use a local Marshrutka in some cases. The word Marshrutka is a colloquial term that comes from the name Marshrutniya Taxi, translated into English it means routed taxi. This form of transport is so popular, not just in Ukraine but in all former Soviet states, as they are only slightly more expensive than public transport but are so much quicker and convenient. One journey usually costs £0.1=2-3 grivnas.

Conditions: You will need to have travel insurance and provide details before travel. It is strongly recommended to have this in place at the time of paying the deposit or the flight.

Visa: Please check with the Ukrainian Embassy if you need a visa to travel there. It is your responsibility to obtain all necessary travel documents, including visa. It is also essential that you take out travel insurance that covers hiking activities up to 1500 meters.

Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sevastopol

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimea

http://www.tryukraine.com/crimea/hiking.shtml

http://www.holidaysincrimea.com/Activities.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfYqKBPN1DU

For those who understand Russian this is a good movie to watch: "Dikari" 2006, we will be swimming and hiking there:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNwxLDrP0u0&feature=related

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  • Dharmender

    Kick ass time in a fantastic country - with so much culture, history, beauty and nice people. Would definitely recommend this trip as done with Misha

    Net Placebo!

    June 10, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    A fantastic adventure in a really historically rich and scenic place. So glad had the opportunity to enjoy this; thanks so much Misha for organising the trip so well and for all the delicious food you and your Mum cooked. Great to travel with such a fun and friendly bunch of people.

    June 8, 2012

  • Kevin

    I am still buzzing from the high of the holiday.

    On the downside, back to London, back to rain, back to reality (sigh!)

    June 7, 2012

  • Timbo

    This trip was just the best ! (despite being injured). Great bunch of people, great fun, great locations - just can't rate it highly enough. Thanks Misha for the great organisation, Alena for the surrogate tour-guiding, Olga for taking care of us, and special thanks to Gill and Patrick for keeping me supplied with pain-killers ;0)

    June 7, 2012

  • Gillian

    Wow what a trip - fantastic time, great people, many jokes and an altogether brilliant experience.

    Many thanks Misha for organising and for being so patient with us - your efforts were much appreciated! I look forward to seeing all the pictures!

    June 7, 2012

  • Fatiha

    What a fabulous week in the Crimea!!! I loved the hikes, the sea, the mountains, the food. Thank you very much, Misha for another excellent week, Lena for the translations and your patience, Olga for the succulent breakfasts, Dharmender for Rama Rama :) and everyone else for the great company!

    June 7, 2012

  • David D

    Probably the most complete and full packed vacations in a very long time!,we had it all!, fantastic food, sightseeing, hiking, culture, swimming, beaches, boats, submarines, caves, night train journeys and a fantastic group of people :) We need to keep exploring the rest of Crimea and Ukraine! :)

    June 7, 2012

  • Patrick

    My first non-UK AAA trip, and hopefully not the last! Well organised and lots of fun, I especially enjoyed the Mikhailovsky fortress, the breathtaking mountain views and the Black Sea swimming. Thanks so much to Misha and the group for making this a great holiday! :D

    June 7, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great company, friendly and very nice people, loved the hikes with amazing views and swimming in the open sea near Balaklava!

    June 7, 2012

  • Kevin

    Wonderful group of people, wonderful weather, great food. Loved the experience. Thanks Misha, for organising such a brilliant trip

    June 6, 2012

15 went

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Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

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