Black Sea Surprise
To sea with Chekhov
Hot on the heels of my cruise to the Med I have been asked to join m.v. Discovery two weeks in advance of the late October Schools cruise in order to ensure this runs as smoothly as possible. This will be a wonderful opportunity not just to try out my ideas for a huge collective Armada frieze, but to revisit some of my favorite places in the world - vibrant, edgy, exciting Istanbul, the fabulous transit through the Dardanelles and the sea of Marmora, then Trabzon, Sochi, Novoryssysk, Yalta, Sevastopol,Odessa, Yalta,Cannakale and Bodrum, at which point the peace will be broken with the arrival of around 500 excited youngsters....I adore the architecture of this part of the word - a wonderful fusion of Roman classicism, Russian orthodox and Ottoman minarets and cupolas. Why with Chekhov? Well, the Black Sea was the favorite place for the Russian well-to-do to try and beat the scourge of tuberculosis. Chekhov moved to Yalta and built a lovely house there which is now a museum. On my walk to it last time, I came a across another, smaller, but equally interesting museum dedicated to the great man, and was shown round by a delightful young student who was thrilled to pratise her excellent English on a real English artist with sketch book in hand! She showed me a number of Chekhov's original scribblings for the stories he wrote there, in particular one which became very famous... The Lady with the Little Dog. I was inspired to read it as soon as I came home, and was so taken with it and the lovely picture painted in words that I vowed I would only ever come to Yalta again armed not just with my sketch book but also with the words of Anton Chekhov. I will have plenty of time to read some more of his captivating stories, which, combined with the wonderful scenery of the Crimea, will surely inspire me to pick up my paints!