Sanc­tions are in­con­ve­nience for travel in Crimea

Pretoria News - - METRO - | Val Boje | Val Boje

CRIMEA’S cap­i­tal Sim­fer­opol has a spank­ing in­ter­na­tional air­port, but no for­eign flights land there. In­stead, the ar­rival board lists flights from Moscow, St Peters­burg and Ros­tov-on-Don.

This is one of the im­pli­ca­tions of sanc­tions which have tar­geted Crimea since its ad­min­is­tra­tion as a Rus­sian fed­eral state in 2014.

For tourists this makes Crimea - a penin­sula lo­cated on the north­ern coast of the Black Sea - com­pli­cated to visit.

It is a pity pic­turesque, as be­cause the area is jour­nal­ists from 11 coun­tries, in­clud­ing South Africa, dis­cov­ered while on a me­dia tour of the south­ern re­gion.

On the drive to the re­sort town of Yalta one passes be­tween high moun­tains and the sea and the area is dot­ted with palaces and vine­yards, churches and sites re­lated to the his­tory of Crimea.

The ho­tels we stayed in - the clas­sic Ukra­nia in Sim­fer­opol, dat­ing to the 1950s, and the Nikita in Yalta - were sub­lime, and the food - es­pe­cially seafood from the Black Sea and the fresh sal­ads - was de­li­cious.

The only sour note was that we were not ad­vised of the 10kg weight re­stric­tion on lug­gage on Ural Air­lines. Aside from the cost im­pli­ca­tion (for me more than R1000), whereas in Moscow it could be set­tled with a card, in Sim­fer­opol, the penalty had to be paid in cash be­cause in Crimea, Visa and Master­card are not ac­cepted for pur­chases or at an ATM. This left us hav­ing to bor­row money from our hosts (re­paid in Moscow where these cards are widely ac­cepted).

South African pass­port hold­ers do not need a visa for Rus­sia.

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