Footsteps of the Cossacks
River Cruise Lines
5 - 20, 2006
adventure began with a drive to Syracuse to catch a
Jet Blue flight to
JFK airport. My flight to Vienna and on to Kiev left at 6:05 pm.
arrived in Kiev in the early afternoon and transferred directly to the
river cruise shown above.
The part of my
first day in Kiev was spent in settling into my cabin
that will be my
home for the next two weeks. There was time to sightsee before dinner.
Lavrinenkov docked at Kiev.
the river, I noticed a lot of river traffic
along with sun bathers on
the opposite shore.
front of the St Nicholas Naberezhny memorial.
This small church is
dedicated to Nicholas Naberezhny (Nicholas by the River),
saint of sailors and others journeying along the river to do business.
It is a beautiful small chapel.
A World War II
memorial near where my ship was docked..
A newly married
couple arrive at the harbor to go to their wedding
reception on one of
the many river boats. There were many weddings
occurring on this Sunday
You could see
the Friendship of Nations Monument from the harbor.
This dull metal
parabola arch is part of the monument celebrating the 1654 unification
Russia and Ukraine.
It is also called the "Rainbow Arch".
to the river cruiser, I was greeted by the lovely crew members.
were serving the traditional native bread and salt along with a drink of
iced tea when passengers entered the ship.
It was fun to be welcomed on
Sunset over the
Dneiper River. Thus ended my first day in Kiev.
found our tour group off to see the city of Kiev.
Our first stop was at
St. Andrew's Church.
One of the many
street sweepers in Kiev doing their job early this morning.
broom made from twigs.
The monument to
Bogdan Khmelnytskiy found in St. Sophia Square.
reconstruction of St. Michael's Zlatoverkhy Cathedral near St. Sophia
New that looks
old! Much of Kiev has been destroyed during World War II.
This is a
reconstructed building that is made to look like old Kiev structures.
The entrance to
St. Sophia Cathedral.
with some of its thirteen spires, the cathedral was built in 1037.
dark spots show some of the early construction of the cathedral.
Sophia's with St. Michael's (built in 1108) in the background.
It was a
beautiful morning in Kiev.
Square with the Ukraine Culture Center on one side.
This is the former
morning tour we returned to our ship for lunch and then it was off to
Cathedral of Dormition.
Above is the entrance to the Cathedral.
The Great Bell
Tower at Kiev-Pechersk on the grounds of the Cave's Monastery.
One of the
several buildings on the grounds of the Monastery.
There were many gold
domes on the building in the monastery.
The monument to
the defense of the Motherland as seen from the Cave Monastery.
statue is also know as the "Steel Wrench".
We are on our
way to the Near Caves which is an underground subterranean labyrinth
holds mummies of monks who lived there in ancient times.
This stop ended
my first full day in Kiev. We set sail at 6 p.m. for our next port of
Kiev is a beautiful and interesting city.
with clouds in the sky and the Viking Lavrinenkov
sailing along the
Dneiper toward our first river lock.
The Kanev Lock
with a height of 12.5 meters.
The Kanev Lock
preparing to opening to let us out.
Sailing out of
the Kanev Lock. Down river here we come!
Next we passed
under the Cherkassy Bridge, the lowest one on the Dneiper River.
One of the many
river channel markers that have become nesting grounds for river fowl.
next lock, Kremenchug Lock with at height of 15 meters.
opening to let our river cruiser out.
We are passing
under the Kremenchug Railway bridge.
It is one of the oldest on the
river, built in 1876, and is unique since the
center portion of the
bridge is lifted up to allow passage of our cruiser.
Later in the
evening we will pass through the
Dneprodzerzhinsk Lock with a height of
Our day of river
cruising ended with a beautiful sunset.
August 9, we docked at Dnepropetrovsk for a short stay.
We had a
traditional city bus tour. This city was founded in 1787 and became a
important industrial city. Missiles were produced here in the days
Soviet regime and the city was one of the many closed cities of
Our first stop
of the city tour was at the Yavornytsky History Museum.
many interesting exhibits of the history of the Ukraine.
History Museum was the World War II Museum.
The tank and rockets above
were on display in the museum courtyard.
Nearby was the
beautiful Church of the Transfiguration.
A classic structure dating
from 1830 - 1835.
Our next stop on
our walking tour was at the Potyomkin (Potemkin) Palace.
Our last stop on
the tour was at the World War II Monument above the city.
park we returned to the ship and sailed on to our
next port of call at
August 10, we continued our sail down the Dneiper river.
Lavrinenkov arrived in Nova Kahovka at 2:00 p.m. for a
brief two hour
During our visit
to we were treated to a native student performance
of folk songs and
dance. Above is the local cultural center
where the performance was
to the ship, I had an opportunity to take several photos of our ship.
In this one kids are fishing for their supper.
afternoon sail we pass through the lock of
Kakhovka which has a height
of 14 meters.
August 11, found
our cruise ship arriving at Odessa, our first
Black Sea port of call.
We began the day with a traditional city tour.
There were many
interesting sights in this older Ukrainian city.
Arriving at the
port of Odessa.
served as the honor guard for the memorial.
The colonnade in
front of Vorontsov Palace over looking the Odessa harbor.
Checking out the
old artillery cannon in downtown Odessa.
Museum. They had a life sized mannequin of Peter the Great
on the front
porch of the building. He was one big man! It was a
My new Cossack
friend. Neat costume! Two bucks a pose.
Potiomkinskaya (Potemkin Steps) Staircase leads from the harbor to
Prymorsakya Boulevard in downtown Odessa.
This evening I
attended a delightful Chamber Orchestra of Odessa concert at the
Music School. It featured the Chamber Orchestra and Soloists
Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater.
We sailed into
the Black Sea at 10:00 p.m. The sea was a
little choppy as we cruised
dawned clear and bright with some swells rocking the
We are sailing to Sevastopol for at 3:00 p.m. arrival.
As we sailed
into Sevastopol harbor we were greeted by many interesting sights.
photo is of a World War II memorial on the edge of the harbor.
This is a
memorial statue to the World War II Russian sailors who fought in the
Black Sea area.
A brass band
greeted our ship as we disembarked for our city tour of Sevastopol.
Our first stop
was on a hill overlooking Sevastopol where
Lenin's monument was
His pose is typical of all Lenin statues.
battery that protected Sevastopol during the Crimean and World Wars.
A monument to
World War II female pilots who fought in the Russian air force.
After dinner I
attended a concert of the "Black Sea Fleet Band."
The program was
most robust and included dancing and singing to typical Russian music.
The next morning
we had an included tour to Bakhchissarai.
We toured the local Khan
entrance to the palace.
The royal divan
used by the Khan as part of his Harem chambers.
The Fountain of
Tears glorified by A. S. Pushkin.
The bust at the left is of Iranian
sculptor, architect and painter Orner.
This morning long tour ended
with a chance for some shopping at the local small sales stalls.
back to the ship for lunch and an afternoon optional tour.
The first stop
of the afternoon tour was at the Sevastopol Panorama Museum.
museum featured a huge panorama showing the "Defense of Sevastopol,
It was extremely lifelike and had excellent detail. The
artist who painted the panorama was
Franz Alekseevich Roubaud
Boats in the
harbor at Balaklava. We walked along the harbor promenade.
navy made the harbor at Balaklava their base during the Crimean War.
Many sailors died from the cold weather during the winter of 1854.
is little if any reference in town to the war today.
The field where
the Battle of the Light Brigade occurred.
This battle site northwest of
Balaklava saw the start of hostilities on October 25, 1854.
Lord Alfred Tennyson would immortalize the battle with his poem,
Charge of the Light Brigade."
The "Valley of Death" shown above is now
On the way back
to the ship we passed the North Bay shipyard.
If you look closely in
the middle of this photo you will see a Russian sub.
We had sailed
overnight to Yalta in the Crimea. On Monday, the 14th,
another cruise day with included city tour.
This beautiful city greeted
us with hazy skies and the promise of hot weather.
Upon arrival at
Yalta we were met at the dock by a local brass band.
They were very
good and made the day start off with a stirring march.
The Swan's Nest,
the architectural emblem of Crimea.
It is closed because of the need
Our next stop
was at Livadia Palace which is also known as the "White Palace.".
Palace was the summer residence of Emperor Nicholas II.
In 1945, the
Palace served as the site of the Yalta Conference attended by
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston
and Soviet Leader Josef Stalin.
Winston Churchill's seat at the round conference table.
banquet table in the background.
table" where all three leaders signed the conference final document.
This table at the conference time was in the billiards room of the
morning, August 15th we were off on an optional excursion to
famous Alupka Palace. Our bus left at 8:30 a.m. and promptly got lost,
so a 20 minute bus ride lasted an hour and ten minutes.
We arrived at
the Palace late and were met by a large group of sightseers.
This the north
entrance to the Palace.
We were allowed to jump to the head of the
This is the room
that Prime Minister Winston Churchill used as a
bedroom when attending
the 1945 Yalta Conference. It was heavily bugged by
the Russians as
were FDR's rooms at the White Palace.
This was the
perfect way to greet visitors, keep a cannon on the front porch!
entrance to the Palace.
majestic lions guarded the south entrance.
The entrance looked out on
to the Black Sea.
Fortunately we made it back to the ship without
mishap but we were late for lunch.
That is something you do not do to
At four p.m. we
sailed away from Yalta to begin our return trip to Kiev.
This is a last
look at the light house that guards Yalta harbor as we sail away.
was a jumping summer resort. Beautiful beaches and resorts.
On Wednesday the
16th, we sailed on the Black Sea to the mouth of the Dneiper River.
stopped at 2 p.m. in the middle of the river near Kherson for an
excursion to Fish Island.
This is the boat we transferred to for a 45
minute ride to the island.
Upon our arrival
on the island the tour group was divided up for visits
to nearby farm
houses for light refreshments which included "home brew" vodka.
back to the river side for shopping at small stalls set up for our
All sorts of items were for sale including fur hats, lace and
After a stay of over an hour, we returned to the
boat. Then we had a long and
very hot ride back to the Lavrinenkov which
had sailed further up river.
This was a classic tour stop to kill of
time. It was a very uncomfortable excursion!
to our river cruiser we set sail for an overnight cruise to Zaporozhe.
Above is a picture of the busy harbor at Kherson.
It was a very
warm day and many people were enjoying a swim in the Dnieper.
Our day of
sailing ended with a beautiful Ukrainian sunset.
found the Lavrinenkov sailing north toward Kiev.
At 2:00 p.m. our river
cruiser docked at Zaporozhye. We passed through the lock of Zaporozhye
The height of the lock was 37.4 meters.
we ventured off ship for an excursion that took us to the
and then to the island of Khortitsa for a Cossack Horse Performance.
background you can see a major dam and hydro-electric
project that helps
to control the river at this point.
One of several
large murals found in the Cossack Museum.
depicted a battle in the Ukraine during World War II.
Here come the
tricks were performed.
Horsemen also performed native dances as part of the show.
Cossack show we returned to the ship and set sail for Kiev.
As we sailed
through another lock, I saw great amounts of algae in the river.
picture above shows the concentration to the slimy stuff just above the
The water was
green in color from the algae in the river.
People were swimming in the
river was we cruiser northward.
sunset brought our day of travel to an end.
Friday the 18th,
was our last day of river cruising as we neared Kiev.
The two weeks of
cruising and sightseeing has gone past very fast.
morning, as we sailed into Kiev, where we were met by a
view of the
Cathedral of Dormition with its gold domes sparkling in the morning
Our trip ended
after a day of city excursions and a classical music
concert at St.
Sophia's. It was a fitting end to a wonderful
two week cruise on the