Kyiv (aka Kiev) would be our last stop in Ukraine. The capital city helped eliminate some fumes from our travel weary minds. Mind you, it was still an exaustingly jam packed day. Everyone was looking forward to sleeping in a real bed after two nights on trains. But the city is nice, well organized, lots of […]


Odesa Opera and Ballet Theater You’re probably familiar with the spelling, Odessa. Once Ukraine gained independence from Russia, they fiddled with the spelling of things to break free from the association. But the reality is, half the time you see Odesa spelled with one ‘s’, and the other times with two. It’s really confusing. This […]

Nikitsky, Hansaray, Uspensky, Çufut Qale

Yalta Conference 2.0

This is our group shot for the trip. After this, standing in front of ruins, a cathedral, or a coastline seemed pointless. Nothing would compare. A bit of backstory: Other Chris (3rd from right with sword) saw these photobooth vendors set up with clothing racks full of outfits along the Yalta promenade (an outdoor entertainment […]

The Black Sea, & Winery

After the palaces, it was time for lunch, a stroll down the promenade, and then a winery. Mind you, all this is happening in one day—a ton of stuff getting packed in here. Lunch was fairly solid this day. The borscht was somewhat flavorful, the setting enjoyable. Outside the restaurant was the Kodak kiosk above. […]

Vorontsov & Livadia Palaces

Vorontsov Palace was a very pleasant surprise. Located at the foot of the mountains in Alupka on the Black Sea, it was built by a prince for his summer home. It’s surrounded by a 100 acre park which provided a nice stroll leading up to the residence. It didn’t hurt that the weather was downright perfect. […]

Soviet nuclear submarine base, Balaklava

The harbour city of Balaklava is a part of Sevastopol, and home to a retired Soviet nuclear submarine base. At one point, everyone in the city worked at the heavily fortified facility. A few years after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the base was shut down and later opened to the public. Carved […]

Chersonesus Taurica

St Vladimir’s Cathedral sits centrally in the ancient Greek ruins of Chersonesus Taurica. This part of the tour happened during the part of the day when a shower and nap would be nice. At first the Black Sea is obscured and the foundations of the city are all you see. But turn the corner and  the […]