I once asked Dylan, the Enhlish guy I met at the start of my trip, what it was like to go running after riding 5,000km around the UK. “Its weird” he said. You’re heart and lungs are ok but youe legs feel really strange. It kinda made sense and today I discovered that the same is true for walking. I decided to explore Zatoka by foot and had to give up because I was walking like a freak. I have actually forgotten how to walk like I used to walk or perhaps I’d developed muscles in cycling places and this was interfering but whatever the reason – it was weird. Dylan was correct.
Zatoka seems to have been an unexpected winner from the Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea. Despite being end-of-season the place is still full of families enjoying time here on the towns sunny and sandy beaches.
However, while business is obviously good, Zatoka also seems totally unprepared for its new found fame. Almost everything is small, outdated, cheap and disorganized. Waiters and waitresses are still rude and ineffective (even allowing for the fact that this is Ukraine and it is end of season) and the whole place seems a bit overwhelmed. This is somewhat understandable given that nobody expected a Russian invasion but still, it’s quite a contrast to Kyiv, Lviv or even Izmail which have quickly adapted and reinvented themselves as fairly attractive places to visit with relatively good service. So it will be interesting to see how Zatoka develops over the next few years now that it’s one of the few summer beach resorts available to Ukrainains. It has a prime location, good transport connections and 46 million native customers who love their weeks on the beach as much as anyone in the UK, so it should do really well but if it’s to survive the hordes in the years to come, some pretty serious redevelopment, innovation and modernization is required.
Maybe I’ll cycle back here one day and check.
As for my day off, I had so much writing to do that my day on the beach turned into a day in a cafe. One one hand this is a shame but after 8-10 hours of intense sunshine every day for the past month, the tought of soaking myself in UV rays has slightly lost its appeal.
I rested, ate watermelon with a spoon (I’m still trying to finish it before I leave) and wandered around the network of markets and street vendors selling dried fish and sunglasses.
The food and service was poor all day, but I’m happy to be heard because it’s all low-key and cheap.