Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Day 6 - Sudak - Feodosia - Kerch – 190 km
We woke up around 9, had breakfast and get ready for a new day on the road.
I Sudak is located the Genoese Fortress. Because it is very well preserved, Sudak fortress apparently is often used as a background in historical, adventure and fantasy films. Also a 7 km from Sudak there is the famous beach at Novy Svit Beach. Did not managed to see it.
Indeed the Sudak fortress looks very impressive, and after breakfast we took the bike there and made an impromptu photo shooting of the bike with the fort as background but did not went up. On our way there we passed a police check point (it is going to be relevant).
After taking pictures at Sudak fortress we were returning when one of the policemen at the check point made us a sign to stop. I did. Previous to the trip I received some advice as how to manage such encounters. So, I get of the bike, take my helmet off and with a big smile went to the officer extended my hand and greeted him while stating my name. He was surprised, but recovered fast and asked for documents. No problem officer. He looks at them and then asked me in bad English: Adrian, did you drink? Who, me? Can't you see I'm riding? I answered. Yes, yes, did you drink last night? Yes, a couple of beers. He then took me to the car, where his colleague was waiting. Same questions again. Same answers. He the proceeds to open an anti alcohol test kit. He asks if I'm ok with that, and blissful me says yes. It was the same kit they use to have in Romania many years ago, basically you had to bow in a vial until a plastic bag attached to it was full.I blow. The vial turns a little green. Not good. Adrian, big problem says the second officer. Then start rambling in Russian and English about how he must fill a report, take the bike, put me behind bars and so on. Ok, this is not good. One thing I know is that if you have the slightest chance of being in trouble: do not let them write anything on the record. In my poor Russian and gesturing large I explain that there is no need for a report and that we are actually friends. Maybe there is a way to settle things here and now. An emergency fee.
Digression: last night I had 2 or 3 beers and 2 glasses of vodka. We went to bed around midnight. After I slept for 8 hours and had a good breakfast. But during the night I did not drink any water since I did not like the taste of the one from the tap, and forgot to buy bottled. Even if it was almost 11.30 by now in my mind I thought that maybe, only maybe there was still a chance that some rest of alcohol might be still in my blood. At home, I would have made a huge scandal and demanded analysis of the blood sample at hospital. Here I did not know the language, did not have the time, and maybe I was in default. And in this case if I start arguing with them, and do all the above, and with a chance that analysis of the blood sample at hospital can show residues of alcohol, I did not take my chance.
A snapshot made by Oana, I'm inside the police car
Ok, name your price. He writes down on a notebook: 500 USD. I started laughing, namely for two reasons: one he has a price and this means that from now on we are negotiating, and two the price was so ridiculously high from my point of view that he clearly expects to bargain. Having my lesson learned, I do not have my money in my wallet and I show him something around 100 grivnas. Not good enough. In the end, after explaining to him that these are not my money, but my girlfriend's emergency money, we settle for 50 USD. From my point of view, it was a fair price if I was in default. I would have paid the same amount home in a similar situation. Of course is possible that it was a set up and it was my turn to fall for the trap. But maybe there was a possibility that there was still some alcohol in my blood. One thing bothers me still: after giving him the money (the show was over), he looks at me very serious, shows me his wristwatch and explains me that now I must go to the hotel and sleep for another 4 hours before I drive on. I asked him if he is aware of any other police check point on the road and he says no. Off we go. I took the chance and did not go to sleep but carry on riding, but only after stopping to get cola and a lot of water.
Anybody similar experiences?
Right after Sudak one can found Cape Meganom (44.793357, 35.080161). It is said to have great views. We were not in the mood for it, plus we must leave something to see for next time.
One thing about Crimea: this was on a rush, since we were on a schedule. I would like to go back there and stay for a week or more in order to see all the sites left unseen and to ride all the back roads around left un ridden. It is a beautiful place.
On the road from Sudak to Kerch is Koktebel, a small village known for its factory of vintage cognacs. Probably you have seen already pictures like this:
From the same spot
The next small town is Feodosia. The city was founded by Greek colonists from the VI century BC. Oance, it was the largest trading port on the Black Sea. Now Feodosiia is a resort town with a small port and with ruins of Genuezsk fortress Kafa. We stopped only to find an ATM to get some money. Also I found my stickers with UA, so from now on the side cases will look better.
From there on the road to Kerch is pa lain flat road. But we had a tip. So, somewhere after Fonta we took left on M17/E97 towards Zalotoe. As someone said it in an earlier RR here, Between Zolotoe (45.424655, 36.079786) and Kurortnoe (45.473503, 36.337917 ) is one of the most beautiful, serene place in the Crimean Peninsula. The detour Zalotoe – Kurotov is a nice light off road ride on the shore of Azov Sea with splendid empty beaches. At one point the road goes down on the beach and we decided to make a stop to take a swim and eat something.
We ride along the shore until Kurortnoe where we made one last stop for water before Kerch. A few km after Kurortnoe the asphalt begins.
We booked a room at Hotel Meridian located right in the center. We got a very nice room for 400 Grivnas, and you can put the bikes behind the hotel in a guarded parking.
As I went to look for a gas station Oana took a shower. After leaving the gas station I notice that my speedo is not working anymore. After as check at the hotel it aprears that the cable in broken. Few minutes later in the room, a call from reception lets me know that gas is pouring from my bike. A fuel pipe is broken. For this I had a spare and 15 minutes later it was done with many apologies to the parking manager (guard) for the stains and smells left there. Not a good day for science today isn’t it.
On the other hand Kerch was a pleasant surprise for us. It looks a lot better than we had expected. After a shower we took a walk in the Pl. Lenina where of course a Lenin statue was present. In the square lays the Church of St John the Baptist which dates back to 717. This Byzantine building is Ukraine’s oldest surviving church. We decide that it was time for some exercise and we climbed to the soviet war monument and the ruins of the ancient city of Panticapaeum. We were supposed to be gratified with some nice views.
There are 432 stairs up the central Mithridates Hill. The view from the summit was as good as we hoped for and we admired the ruins of Panticapaeum.
We missed the Turkish Fort of Eni-Kale with its four pointed capsule-like turrets and Tsarske Kurgan an empty 4th-century BC burial ground, thought to be the grave of a Bosporan king. More for next time.
Coming down we found a nice restaurant (Fishka) where we enjoyed a good dinner and some beers. Sorry, one beer.
After some shopping in a local supermarket we went to sleep sin tomorrow we would wake up at 5 for the ferry to Russia.