Although I'm now home in America, I'm going to keep posting as if we recently had these adventures around Europe. I'll post the dates we actually visited these locations at the start of each posts in an attempt to keep things straight.
The Crimean Mountains
Visited: April 6th, 2013
I've written a few times about how the area around Kharkiv was geographically similar to the farm lands where we lived in Lawrence, Kansas. I'm afraid that doesn't give a 100% accurate picture of the topography we have run into in our travels. During one trip we made our way to the beginning of the Carpathian Mountains in the southwest side of Ukraine and while in Crimea we actually found some mountains. These are a little outside Bakhchysarai and are a pretty impressive change of pace.
On some of the cliffs people could hike up to the cliff wall and actually mountain climb up towards the top.
As a person who doesn't speak Russian, the sign on the cliff would either be telling me about the hiking park or that if a person isn't too careful on their hike they could fall off the side of the cliff.
Into the side of one of the mountains is located the Assumption Cave Monastery. It is said that a monastery existed there as early as the 8th century with the current monastery dating back to the 15th century. The monastery was also closed down during communism and reopened in the 1990's.
Photography wasn't allowed right near the site so I had to surreptitiously take some photos of it without angering the monks. There is also a holy spring at the site and many, many school children were filling up their water bottles for the ride home.