European Cruise

Istanbul-Turkey Varna-Bulgaria Odessa-Ukraine Sevastopol-Ukraine
Ephesus-Turkey Rhodes-Greece Limassol-Cyprus Cairo-Egypt
Athens-Greece Kusadasi-Turkey Santorini-Greece Messina-Sicily
Naples-Pompeii-Italy Rome-Italy Monte Carlo-Monaco Marseille-France
Barcelona-Spain Cadiz-Spain Lisbon-Portugal Paris-France
London-England People Ship General Items


Sevastopol, Ukraine. Britain, France, and Turkey invaded Ukraine in the Crimean War because they wanted to control of commerce in the Black Sea. Itís too bad people canít live their lives without outsiders wanting to grab more. There are many monuments here, for war heroes and lost soldiers from the Crimean War and World War II. The Germans killed 27,000 people in Sevastopol and took 30,000 more back to Germany to use for hard labor. The Germans destroyed many monuments that were rebuilt by Sevastopol and Ukraine in the early 1960s. On our tour this morning we saw a huge (5,000 sq ft) 360 degree panoramic painting with a diorama in front of the painting. The combination was fantastic. They were blended so well that sometimes it was difficult to determine where the diorama ended and the painting began. This exhibit is a memorial to the Ukraine soldiers who fought during the Crimean War first assault on Sevastopol.

Sevastopol was, and is, a base for Soviet Union, Russian, and Ukraine submarines.

Food. Ah, wonderful, delicious food. For lunch, how about chicken-broccoli on rice, then lots of fruit. Letís top that off with a fruit/pastry dessert, followed by a sunday (vanilla fudge ice cream with chocolate chips, chocolate and marshmallow toppings, and whipped cream. Oh no, they also have macadamia nut cookies. Okay, a few of those also. What do you thinkÖ. should I walk a few laps around the ship? You know, one could get spoiled here.

Yesterday while we were on the tour, at the building for the panoramic painting/ diorama, several men and women needed to use the toilet. The guide showed us the direction to the Water Closet (WC) (toilets). Thankfully there were separate toilets for the men and women. At the entrances to both the men's and women's toilets, we were surprised that there was a women collecting $1 Ukraine currency (20 cents in $US, because $5 Ukraine currency = 1$ US). None of the men or women on the tour had Ukraine currency. I gave the WC woman $1 US, and said 5 men should be able to go in. In very rough, broken, English, she said "no". I insisted again, with the same reply. Eventually she let one additional man in, with my dollar. It was the same situation on the women's side; two women were let in with $1 US. I decided to let the over-payment be a donation to the local economy, and a tip to the woman who has toilet cleaning as her job.

There are three other couples at our dinner table. One couple has been married 41 years and the other two couples are on their second marriages, with a length of about twenty years. One of the couples lives in Perth, Australia. The wife's parents came from Ukraine, and she has cousins in Ukraine. This couple was with the cousins in Odessa, Ukraine. In Sevastopol, Ukraine, the couple took a tour bus to Yalta. The guide spoke in Russian, so the Ukrainian wife (from Australia) couldn't understand the guide. The wife asked the guide to speak in Ukrainian. There was almost a riot on the tour bus, with great hostility from the other people, who were Russian. Eighty percent of the people in Ukraine are Russian. The wife then found out that the tour bus would not return to Sevastopol until 10pm, but the ship was leaving at 5pm. After much arguing about money that should be or not be paid for the tour that wouldn't be taken, the guide called for a taxi to come and bring the Australian couple back to Sevastopol. When the taxi arrived, the driver announced, in Russian and broken Ukrainian, that he wanted to be paid in Ukrainian currency. The Australian couple told the driver that they had only British Pounds and Euros. The driver said he would drive back to Sevastopol with an empty cab, but the Australian couple explained that that didn't make sense because if he didn't bring the couple he would make no money, so the driver took the couple. While coming back, the Australian wife asked the driver why more people didn't speak Ukrainian. That sent the driver on a tirade that lasted the entire trip back to Sevastopol. Russians feel that Ukraine belongs to Russia, and is not really an independent Ukraine.

The next day we are in the Aegean Sea, and going through the Dardanelles.
This morning we sailed through the Bosphorus, also known as the Istanbul Strait. The Bosphorus is the strait that forms the boundary between the European part of Turkey and its Asian part. This is the world's narrowest strait that is used for international navigation. It connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, which is connected by the Dardanelles to the Agean Sea, and thereby to the Mediterranean Sea. The strait is 18 miles long and about 4/10 of a mile wide at the narrowest part. There were always several freighters around us, and numerous in view. The strait is a busy shipping waterway.
Again, WOW. What pretty sights, and so close to the ship.

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