When you are working with a bunch of kids all day and all night, things happen fast, and I won’t be able to cover it all in my blog unless people want to read many pages each time I post! So this time, I will cover yesterday’s excursion to the Sudak Fortress.
The fortress at Sudak has been submitted to be named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The first written record of a fortress on the site dates from 212 AD, and Sudak as a town became so important in international trade that in 1282, the head of the Surozh Eparate (bishopric) ranked as a metropolitan. In the mid-thirteenth century the population reached 10 -15 thousand, and included Russians, Greeks, Armenians, Tatars, Italians and other nationalities.
The fortress is pretty large. As described on one web site, “The citadel is aligned east-west, and comprises a vallum with three military towers, four curtains, and a complex which includes the consul’s tower and a dungeon.” We also saw something at the very top of a large rock/boulder/whatever you want to call it, and decided to try to climb up there.
This was not the best idea we’ve had. Because so many people climb up the rock (there is no other way to the top), the rock is pretty
polished, and there is no easy way up and down. At one point, we realized we may be on the “wrong side” and perhaps there was an easier way on the other side of a wall. Luckily for us, there was a hole in the wall that was big enough to climb through. Or perhaps not luckily…
Heather decided to go first, and went through the hole. She was wearing a black shirt and denim shorts, which were white by the time she got to the other side. As I was wearing a white shirt, I decided not to chance getting it unwashably dirty, so I removed my shirt before going through the hole.
I am positive that we would have been amusing to see, had anyone actually seen us. But we were already pretty high up, and people were paying attention to what they were doing, not to what we were doing. So I climbed through, put my shirt back on, and we continued. For a few minutes it was fine, and then we got to the rock that basically went straight up. I tried, I really tried, to climb…but it was also polished smooth from use and halfway up I became too petrified to continue…all I could picture was one slip of the foot and down I would tumble. So we went back down to our wall and went another way to look for a path. Surely, Heather said, there had to be a path up to the top?
There was no path. After we discovered this unhappy fact, we gave up the idea of making it to the top. At this point, our mission became finding out how to get back down from this large rock without getting hurt. Seriously – how do these people do it? Are they part goat?
We came upon another part of the castle and were on our way down to it – we would have had to climb over a low fence, but we were willing to do that to be on stable land again, rather than having to climb around on this rock any more. Well, the rather unpleasant man we saw told us we could not do that, and that we had to go around. We went part of the way back up and were resting when we saw people from our group down by that very same area where we were refused entry. After a phone call to one of our translators, wherein we explained our situation, we went back down to climb the fence.
During this time, we saw a man and his daughter go where we had been told no, and climb the fence.
The unpleasant man was arguing with Dima, telling him we had to go around. By this time, I had had just about enough of him so while they were arguing, I went and climbed over – I mean, what was he going to do – physically bar us? We were inches away from a steep drop down.
So ended our attempt to climb to the top…lesson learned.
So we went back down and looked at some of the armor that was on display and for sale. We happened to go to the fortress on a day
where they were having a medieval festival (sort of like a Ren Fest, but not as elaborate), after which some sort of dramatic show started, but of course I was more interested in taking photos than watching the show, so I wandered around a bit and took some more photos, one of which was of myself with the fortress behind me. Unfortunately, the way I took the photo resulted in me having a “fortress hat”. Nevertheless, I am posting the photo…
This was my third full day at camp and my first day of teaching. After dinner, there was a “brain ring” contest, after which some of the kids went to the water park, which has a disco at night. I went nowhere. I was exhausted. Every day from 7:30 a.m. to after midnight, with the kids most of the time – I’m not used to being around kids this much – how do parents do it??
So basically, I am exhausted! It is in a good way but still tired. So I decided to take advantage of my prescribed jacuzzi-type bath this morning and went over. Because it is my luck, the bath house is CLOSED until Sunday – aaaaahhhhhhh!!!
So here I am, half an hour away from my second day of teaching. And wondering what the rest of the day will bring…