Let’s face it. Kherson has almost nothing to offer and our cruise line, Viking, knew it. An intriguing sounding trip to outlying villages in the Dniepr delta was scrubbed because previous tours so badly panned it, Viking decided to find something worse.

They succeeded.

Arriving at 2 paddling through breathtakingly beautiful delta, the ship eventually came to the container ports (nothing moving) and docked. We didn’t tarry: the ship was gone …before five. In the scant three hours ashore, packed onto buses that have little air conditioning which are shadowing us all the way from Odessa to Kiev, we sweltered through walks around a war memorial, statutes of Lenin (Lenin?), a church built by Catherine the Great to honor one of her dead lovers and 45 minutes in a shopworn shopping area.

We had been warned that although the Dniepr is navigable, there is little traffic here and less commerce. A ship or two trailed and led us at distances as we left the Black Sea, but this was no Shanghai where ships entering the port have to line up at midnight and convoy in.

Nonetheless, the lower Dnieper after we left the Black Sea was gorgeous. The land is marshland and unspoiled. During the day he shores were low and green; the skies were filled with birds. At night the sky was black. There is little development along the river and few lights. The stars shown brightly. Occasionally we passed fishermen and others along the shore with small lamps lighting their boats.

Photographs: St Catherine Church; lover’s bench with locks signifying devotion

Header photograph today was:
Crowded early morning beach at Yalta on Monday, August 9, 2010.

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