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From the 3rd to the 10th of August 2010 the Moscow “Detskij dom” (Children’s home) Foundation together with the Zaporizhian “Happy Child Foundation” held a cooperative walking tour for orphans from Zaporizhia (Ukraine) and graduates from several Russian orphanages. Walking under the burning sun, the group, consisting of 27 children, toured over 50 kilometers, visited cave nomad camps, admired ravines and canyons, and climbed mountain peaks. And, of course, the children could not help swimming in the sea. The young travellers gazed in wonder at the beautiful scenery of the southeast coast of Crimea.
The two groups of children met at the end of the day while making camp nearby the city of Bakhchisaray. The Zaporizhians were already sleeping when the newcomers from Moscow were just pitching their tents with the aid of flashlights. We got acquainted with each other only in the morning while having our breakfast and packing our backpacks. It was time to start our scheduled walking tour.
The first sight we passed by was the historic cave fortress Chufut-Kale (VI-XVIII centuries), which is situated on a high plateau, and from there we went to see an ancient Karaim cemetery. After a little tour along the cave city of Tepe-Kermen, the group walked down into the Kachinsky Canyon. The broiling hot walk made us all feel exhausted, so many of us, without even taking off our clothes, dipped into the Kacha river to cool down a bit. We stopped for lunch at a beautiful lake in Bashtanovka.
The next day the staunchest and most courageous half of the tourists went to explore the Kachinsky Canyon. During the long climb up the steep and dangerous mountain path, we could not even imagine what we would see at the top. We were astonished and delighted to the see the grand and imposing Kachinsky overhang, a town of caves and the font of Saint Anastasia. Walking along the ridge we were astonished to see a cloister inside the cave, the spring of living water as well as hardly noticeable rock paintings of primitive men.
The boldest hikers went to subjugate the other mountain peaks and the rest of the group headed back to the camp. In the evening the male teams of the group started playing an exciting game of water polo. The following morning, shortly before continuing our tour, our group took pictures of this beautiful place.
When we arrived in the city of Bakhchisaray, we could not help visiting Bakhisaray Palace, its burial vault and fountains. Then our group went by bus to the village of Rodnoje and from there we made a walking tour to the Chernorechenskiy Canyon. Our way lay across the ostrich farm where there were also donkeys and pigs. We stopped by there for a while and enjoyed visiting this “zoo”.
Afterwards we made our third camp near the Chernorechenskiy Canyon which turned out to be a magnificent place. Among the rocky mountains there was flowing a blue-turquoise river Chernaya (“Black river”). Everyone, including the grown ups, was wondering as to how the river was given such a name. Although the rough rapids were rumbling, in some areas the river seemed to stop in deep-water creeks. The guys made some breathtaking bungee jumps above one of the creeks. Our guide Serhey Viktorovich told us that there used to be an abandoned military base called “object 221” four kilometers away from our camp. So, our young explorers became really enthused at the prospect of reaching this military objective. As soon as we reached the mountain peak, we saw some unfinished military dormitories. This abandoned base turned out to be really popular among the young people, since we met a group of gunmen playing counter strike with markers and walkie-talkies. We were warned that it might be dangerous strolling around this place, so we went on with our climbing. The serpentine mountain road brought us to that “object 221”. This concrete covered building hid some underground tunnels. For better or worse, depending on your point of view, we did not take our flashlights. Our handmade torches served us for just 30 meters inside the tunnel, and then they went out, and we were covered completely by cold air and pitch darkness (it was plus 40 C outside though!). That was enough for us!
Inside the tunnel of the object # 221
The following day, after putting our tents off, our group went to the Black Sea. In Balaklava we got into a motor-boat and headed towards Capa Aya. Melting in the blazing sun, with our chapped lips and heavy backpacks we set up our fourth camp along a high cape shore. The sea refreshed and cooled us down. The boys had much fun with scuba diving and in turn explored the local wonders of the Underwater World: grottos, cliffs, boulders covered in algae and a school of colourful fish.
In the evening we sent the older children to get some drinking water (there was a great water supply shortage). They came back late since there were many thirsty people by the spring water. At night – the most romantic of us swam in the bright and twinkling sea (like phosphorite plankton).
The following morning our brilliant walking tour chief cook Irina invited us for our last breakfast. Afterwards we put off the “wings” of our camp as its flight was “finished”. Then we started our sightseeing tour around the sea cities. In Balaklava we visited the Submarine Force museum, and such symbols of Sevastopol as the Count pier, and the well-known sunken ships monument, etc.
In the evening we saw our children off on an electrical train to Zaporizhia, and an hour later we ourselves got on a train to Moscow.
The detailed report on the cooperative walking tour placed on the website: www.detikakdeti.ru
P.S. The Happy Child Foundation and the children of the Pology regional shelter for children are deeply grateful to the Moscow “Detskiy dom” (Children’s home) Foundation for its financial support in the walking tour organizing.