Category Archives: Black Sea

LOVED RUGS AND LOVE DRUGS – Istanbul

Unbeatable value!

Irrepressible value!



Turkish Viagra comes in a little jar. A silhouette on the lid depicts a toddler with an oversized member pointing skywards. ‘APRODISIAQUE,’ declares the label, ‘For Man and Women (sic)’. At 2 euros a jar you won’t find a better offer in your junk email and you won’t find a more interesting place to buy it than in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.
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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: SEA – the Black one aint black

Dawn on the Black Sea.

Dawn on the Black Sea.

It’s been while since I undertook a Weekly Photo Challenge. Real life and real work have played merry hell with my blogging time.

Just a few weeks ago Mevrouw T and I were for the first time in our lives on a ship out of sight of land, cruising the Black Sea. The ports we visited – Istanbul, Nessebar, Odessa, Sebastopol and Yalta – were the primary attraction. But there was much to be enjoyed in simply watching the water slip past.

Opinion is divided on how the Black Sea came by its name. One theory is that the ancient Greeks called it the ‘Black Sea’ to contrast its wild, unknown shores and waters with the more familiar ‘White Sea’, their name for the Mediterranean.

We found it anything but black; rather colourful really.

We were the guests of Travel the World and Compagnie du Ponant.

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VILLAGE SNAPSHOT – Safranbolu, Turkey

There was time for a bath on a hot day. Wish we'd done it.

We could have done with a Turkish bath on a hot day. Some of our more enterprising fellow travellers managed to arrange it.

Preserving historic villages hasn’t been a high priority for the Turks. Life is a struggle for many and restoring old buildings is expensive. It’s usually easier to knock down the old and replace it with something cheaper.

Which is why Safranbolu is a welcome exception to the rule. Continue reading

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FASHION CRIMES ON THE CRIMEA – Sebastopol and Yalta

Romanov2

There is plenty of history, most of it tragic, around Sebastopol and Yalta. The Peninsula was hotly contested in the Crimean War with absurd loss of life on all sides.

These days they’re still squabbling to establish beachheads, but only for sunbathing purposes. It’s hardly what we spoiled Australians would call beach at all; just a strip of pebbles by flat, uninviting water.

But if the beach is unappealing, there is plenty of fun to be had on the promenades. Continue reading

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BALLET BUFFS BEHAVING BADLY – Odessa, Ukraine

One of the world's great opera theatres.

One of the world’s great opera theatres.



‘Are you sure you want to go there?’ asks our cruise ship’s excursion organiser. ‘It’s a bit of a weird show, look, it’s got skulls in it. And maybe you won’t like the music. We can get you tickets to a Ukrainian folkloric performance instead.’

‘No thanks. We know Stravinsky and we’re prepared to risk the skulls.’

I don’t envy Vanessa her job. Probably there will be complaints if the production is too avant garde. With skulls. But if you play safe in the middle of the road you may get run down by a bus. Continue reading

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NESSEBAR or MESSY BAR? – Bulgaria

Nessebar, Bulgaria.

Nessebar, Bulgaria.



‘Some people call it not Nessebar, but Messy bar.’ Our guide Stefan is almost apologetic. And indeed the first impression is not promising.

Was UNESCO being overgenerous when it handed this little Bulgarian peninsula a World Heritage listing? Continue reading

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WE ENTER UNCHARTED WATERS – 5-star cruising

Ever passed these luxury cruise ships and wondered who travels on them? This time it's us.

Ever passed these luxury cruise ships and wondered who travels on them? This time it was us.

Regular readers of this blog understand that Mevrouw T and I are two to three star people, seldom treated to five star anything.

So although a chance to glide around the Black Sea in luxury French ship l’Austral and get paid for writing about it was an offer too good to refuse, we also feared we would feel uncomfortable among the smart set.

We need not have worried. Continue reading

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