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September 20, 2002

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We explore Sevastopol, a closed city until 1996, off limits to any foreigners because the USSR Black Sea Fleet used its harbor as home. The British, French, and Turks besieged Sevastopol for a year (1854-1855) during the Crimean war. The Germans demolished the city again during a 250 day campaign in World War II. Monuments stand all over the city as reminders of these battles. The harbor, long and thin, looks like a river. We ride a ferryboat across it, past the Russian fleet which still uses these docks as a base. When Ukraine gained independence, they claimed 162 ships out of the Soviet Union's 622 ships (Russia kept 420) and leased port facilities to the Russians. We rub shoulders with black clad Russian sailors and camouflage green Ukrainian sailors as we walk around the city. It's a pleasant stroll because many streets offer a harbor view as they wind along the water. The weather has been cloudy, intermittent showers, chilly at night. We planned to go to Moscow tomorrow but all trains are full, so with the help of a local person (who noticed we were having trouble booking tickets without speaking Russian) we bought two tickets to Kharkiv where we will spend one more day in Ukraine.
The village home where we spent the night is for a sailor; a hatch leads to the shower and a ladder serves as the front steps.
Jill watches the Black Sea Fleet on a ferry ride while a Russian sailor wonders if she's a spy.
These pillars are either war monuments or fancy places to tie up your boat for a day.
Bring your dictionary, a drawing notepad, and a map to the ticket booth, you may be able to order a train ticket. If it's to the correct destination is another matter.