I would like to take you on a journey, almost a secret journey, because most people do not know of the place we are going to! This is for sun, for sea, for fresh fish, and for exploration into a changing territory.
We often fly through Istanbul, and onwards, with the same airline. After a bus journey, we arrive on the shores of the Sea of Azov, a vast shallow sea, set mystically to the north of the Black Sea which joins together the range of countries from Georgia, to Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania, with Turkey to the south.
Our destination city is Berdyansk, home to a fishing port, spectacular local produce markets, new and delicious restaurants, seafront fairs and fun for all of the family; not forgetting the nightlife on the beach fronts and a variety of hugely differing styles of beach which you will not find in any other single resort.
Here, the language spoken is predominantly Russian, alongside the similar Ukrainian. Increasingly, English is also used for essential words.
The sand beaches, with the temperature over 30 degrees most days, are the places to be. Choose between the open natural bay or the long finger shaped island which stretches 20 kilometres into the sea. Here can be found beach bars, entertainment and seafront restaurants.
Back in the town, away from the bustle of the seafront, are the meat, fish, vegetable and general markets. Markets are morning places. Head there at dawn for the best deals and an extravaganza of foods, people, noises and smells.
Fish is a local specialty, always brought fresh from the Sea of Azov. One of the most favoured fish is the unusually named Flat Fish. This fish really is flat with two eyes looking upwards; not so surprising when you think of the very shallow sea!
For the long cold winters, historically, fish has to be stored. This is done, and enjoyed all year, by sun-drying the fish with salt, itself dried from the sea on the flat lands. Some bars will serve a small salt-dried fish with every drink.
Winter is another local specialty. The temperature drops to minus 20 or colder most winters, with the amazing facility of then being able to walk on the frozen sea!
Let’s go back to the summer sea, for a new experience, the mud bath! On the northern side of the city the land levels almost to the sea, with inlets of still water just a few centimetres deep. Here develops soft, warm sea mud, a thick dark substance therapeutic for many ailments. Walking in this slippery mud up to knee depth is slow, while more enthusiastic people fully wallow in the mud, which then slowly dries on the skin while minerals are absorbed. People will be seen walking in various styles of mud to eventually rinse in the open sea.
Visiting this city is a relief and relaxation away from the fast pace of our lives. Jump into this amazing sea, or take the winter option, and walk on the sea instead!< Back