People from the easter part of Europe has heard how older people with nostalgia talking about the Crimea. Mountains and canyons, rocks and warm water of the Black Sea, springs and waterfalls attracted millions of people from the former Soviet republics to the Crimea, a summer paradise during the Soviet era. That is how Crimea got the title of the pearl of the Black Sea.
Today, the Crimea is a little different. But nostalgia for the old days still attracts elders, while young people are also looking for entertainment here. Curious people are going to Crimea after listening to stories about a time machine that makes you to feel like 20 years back to the past as soon as you get off a plane, train, or car. However, those who are looking for the usual luxury of the Western European resorts, may be a little disappointed after tasting Soviet exotics. So, what to expect before going to the Crimea?
SPA of the Soviet Union
The richest people have already set up summer houses on the Crimean Peninsula in the 19th century. In the 20th century, Crimea began to be famous for its water treatments that attracted people to treat various diseases. In Soviet times, about 10 million people came here during the summer season. The great climate, sunbathing and temperature that rise to + 25-30°C on average in July. What else was needed for a great beach vacation when people from the former Soviet Union had not even heard of the Maldives in the 60‘s?
Stuck Between Past and Present
Although the Crimea has lost its popularity since Ukraine regained its independence, it is now gradually being rediscovered. Some people come here to remember the old days, while others are looking for Soviet exotics. Still, some young people are disappointed and shocked to see the Crimean everyday life now: poor-looking restaurants and kiosks, loud Russian pop music, travelers dressed in sportswear, abandoned, unattended parks and streets littered with rubbish, and a bright Soviet mentality make the are seem sad.
People from Western Europe sometimes experience a strong cultural shock, especially if they are not well familiar with the history of the region. Old buses made many years ago in the Soviet factories are still running in the Crimea and spitting sunflower shells just on the sidewalk in the city is normal. It is a surprise and give a smile for travelers when the return in the store can sometimes be given not in money but in candies if the cashier does not have small coins. Also, many restaurant menus have a page that lists how much the plates, glasses, or even tables and chairs cost in case you accidentally break something.
Another Soviet legacy in the Crimea is trolleybuses. Trolleybus is available from the Crimean capital Simferopol to the seaside resorts. Everything would still seem normal until you realize that the trolleybus trip will take about two hours! The 86 km trolleybus route is the longest in the world and stretches from Simferopol to Yalta.