Monday, July 5, 2010



Well, you can tell I'm really behind in my writing when I am talking about springtime!  But I'll do this and then my next posting will be to tell you about some of the important things that have been going on since May.

Spring in Berdyansk was wonderful.  From the end of March through the first week of June the weather was great, just right for walking and exploring parts of the city that we hadn't visited earlier because it was just too cold and we didn't want to get lost in that weather.  We got our outside walking routine started and walked down streets that we hadn't seen before.  Along the way I kept watching various flowers pop out of the ground and counted the days until the tulips began to bloom. 

The Ukrainians love their gardens and the flowers began to bloom in just about the same order as they do in the States.  First came the tulips and daffodils, crosuses and iris.  Red seemed to be the favorite color for the tulips, but there were other colors as well.  The city folks plant flowers outside their gates and fences and between the sidewalks and the road.  No one seems to pick the flowers, maybe there's just an unwritten rule that you leave other people's flowers alone.  The lilacs were gorgeous and their aroma filled the air.  Across the street from the ministry center the whole block was lined with lilac trees that bloomed for several weeks.  Perhaps flowers are so important to folks here because winter is so long and cold and icy, and the flowers represent the end of winter and a period of warmth and outdoor activities.  I took pictures, but they didn't turn out so great, so I'm not putting many here.

As time passed we saw lily of the valley, peonies, roses, and hollyhocks, and tiger lilies----many of the old-fashioned flowers which we don't see very much at home anymore.  I loved them.  Sometimes I would peek through the fences and see that instead of having a front yard with nice grass the houses would usually have the ground tilled and planted with vegetables.  In one yard I saw a big strawberry patch with huge bushes and lots of strawberries just turning red.  By the way, the strawberries in the market were wonderful and so were the cherries which came a few weeks later.  Soon we'll see apricots and local peaches on the shelves too. 


Downtown Berdyansk is interesting and it can be fun.  It begins at the big market with all the fresh vegetables and fruits, and I mustn't forget the dried fish---yum,yum (yeah, right).  In a building next to that market is the meat market with fish, pork, beef, and poultry.  There are lots of stalls selling things you might need in the kitchen----my favorite is the spice stall.  It has lots of spices and mixtures of spices out in the open where you can see them and decide if you want them.  Reminds us a lot of India.  My favorite mixture smells a lot like Indian masalas, but is not nearly as hot in taste.  I use it on meat, or make rice pilau and add some red pepper flakes to give it some bite. 

The market is on the main street called Lenin Boulevard.  It soon becomes a pedestrian mall with shops on either side of the street, very European in tone.  The next street over is Karl Marx Avenue, and on the other side is Workers Avenue.  This is just to remind everyone that Ukraine was once a communist country and still has strong socialist influences.  But the shops and cafes are definitely in the capitalist mode!  Lenin Blv. marches straight down to the sea front where a large statue of the man himself faces the Sea of Azov. 

We were there a day or two after the date of his death in April and someone had put a bouquet of red roses at the foot of the statue.  So some people here still revere him. 

During the winter the promenade is empty outside and not much happens in the shops either.  But with the warm weather the sidewalk cafes open and the streets and buildings are spruced up for the influx of Russian tourists who come to southern Ukraine to enjoy the beaches and sunshine.  The fountains are cleaned and started again.  Of course, the locals are ready to enjoy all this too after being indoors for at least six months.

This shop is called Cossack Cottage (or home).  The Cossacks lived just to the north of Berdyansk and roamed this area during tsarist times.  This is just basically a souvenir shop with various items to attract customers.

The sea front at the end of the promenade is not suitable for swimming.  It is rocky and close to the port which is the main employer of the people of Berdyansk.  There is a wall which separates the promenade from the rocks, but it is easy to get down there and many people do.  They fish and many sell their catch along the streets. 
The beaches for swimming are mostly along a long, skinny peninsula which is close by and dips down into the Sea of Azov.  There are hotels and restaurants all along it for the big tourist season in the summer.

This is a popular picture to take in Berdyansk.  A statue of a worker coming out of the manhole.  Someone always sticks a cigarette in his mouth.

This little girl and her mom were having fun with the cement shoes.  The little girl's name was Sasha, which could be used for a boy or a girl.  It is the pet name for someone whose full name is Alexander or Alexandra.
She was friendly and not a bit shy.  We had eaten at the same restaurant as her parents and saw them afterwards here.  Just couldn't resist the pictures.

Good stopping place for now.  Next I'll write about the bazaar.

1 comment:

Phyllis said...

Berdyansk sounds beautiful, and your new blog layout is pretty, too!