I had not been back to Yalta since before Irena and I were married. In a few ways, it was much the same (the mountains frowning down on the sea, the cypress trees, the vineyards and the church that does impressions of a wedding cake). But really Yalta is now quite a different place. Yes, the beach is still a painful and pebbly Via Dolorosa if you want a swim in the murky seawater. (And, just in case you were wondering, the water in the Black Sea is not actually black.)
|Wedding cake church in Yalta|
What has changed is the atmosphere: pride, progress and prosperity. The dinginess and dilapidation that pervaded Yalta twenty-five years ago, when it was the time of perestroika the Crimea was part of the Ukraine, are all gone. The flimsy food stalls and tatty kiosks are gone. This was on Putin's orders, according to Irena, as was the removal of all the metal fences around the beaches, so that now you do not have to pay to use the beach.
|Vineyards and cypress trees|
|Yes, it's a tough life being a blogger|
|Cheers, my darling!|