Given this politically charged situation, why recommend Crimea as a travel destination? I’ve been here five times so far this year, and believe it is a picturesque, hospitable country that more Westerners should experience, even if some are initially squeamish about fueling the economy of a disputed territory with their tourist dollars.In an age when Instagram junkies have overexposed much of the planet, Crimea stands apart for unspoiled authenticity enjoyed by few, save Russians and travelers from the former Soviet bloc. (It’s estimated that of the 6 million people who visited Crimea last year, 85% were Russian.)
Mr. Jeff Opdyke, you need an urgent visit to Room 101 to face "justice" and reeducation. In the same time, come to think about it, the largest group of tourists at Russia's World Cup of 2018 was precisely from the United States. I don't think Room 101 has such capacity and productivity to "accommodate" such volume of attitude adjustments. Opdyke, however, gets it right:
I’m convinced that Yalta is the Santa Barbara (or maybe La Jolla) of Russia. From certain vantage points, it hints of the Hollywood Hills.Yalta, a compact city of almost 80,000, squeezes in between the Black Sea and a looming mountain range. Boutiques, clubs, restaurants and hotels line a wide, leafy boardwalk along the shoreline. Of course, a statue of Lenin stands sentinel, and a mural of a seafaring Vladimir Putin reminds you which country now owns the peninsula.Here, families and tourists stroll, relax, dine, shop, listen to crooning buskers and bands or pop down to the gravelly beach for a dip in Black Sea waters warmed by the summer sun.Pedestrian-only Pushkin Street presents its collection of coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants. Street artists hawk paintings that are generic at worst, good at best.
In general, ridding off debilitating Ukrainian "heritage" of corruption, decline and rot will still take some more time but it is clear that together with Black Sea coast of Caucasus (Sochi, Tuapse et al), stunning Crimea also is becoming (or rather--getting back where it was prior to 1991) Russia's wonderful tourist, resort and spa destination. I lived there, I know, not to mention the fact that the Black Sea Fleet and its ships and subs was my primary practice destination during my naval cadets 5 years. But, let's start our stop watch before complains (mostly from Ukrainian diaspora) are filed against L.A. Times and all might of American state apparatus comes down on their news paper. But speaking broadly--Crimea is an exhibit A of what happens when Russia prevents war. Looking today at a third world shithole that Ukraine is, under US and EU patronage (well, direct control, actually) one will be struck and astonished by a dramatic contrast between a dumpster which Ukraine is and an incredible revival of not just Crimea but Russian South in general, including Kuban and Don.
Here is how Russia "destroys" "annexed" territories. All Ukrainian leading "experts" in bridge-building told that this cannot be done. Sure, in Ukraine it cannot.