Istanbul, Turkey

On Location: Our Black Sea Symphony

Lia Oprea|October 20, 2009|Blog Post

Circumnavigation of the Black Sea, 2009

When we embark on a voyage, we are most often thrilled with the wonderful visuals and intense learning experiences which a new destination affords. Zegrahm's Black Sea voyage has certainly provided all of these things but is also, almost magically, set to music.

While exploring the Gelati Monastery high up in the Caucasus Mountain Range of Georgia we happened upon a service taking place. Looking out over the misty valley, we were enveloped by the haunting hymns of the small a cappela choir, which filled the beautiful cathedral with heady strains of Ave Maria.

On Yalta’s Crimean Peninsula we found ourselves at Livadia Palace, the late summer residence of the Romanov’s— the last imperial family of Tsarist Russia. As we explored the palace, delicate Ukrainian folk songs wafted through the windows from the garden courtyard.

Known as the “Pearl of the Black Sea," Odessa’s spectacular architecture and color palate offered us art and beauty at every turn. As we strolled along her tree-lined boulevards, we were serenaded by young students of the conservatory playing their violins. After lunch we filed into Gagarin's Palace for an exclusive opera performance in the palace salon. Our tour of the opera house itself was a treat and led many fellow explorers to purchase box seats for the ballet that evening, set to the compositions of Chopin.

Today, we find ourselves in the Danube Delta of Romania and our soundtrack changes once again. The symphony today is a cacophony of birdsongs as we tour this World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.

Tomorrow, we look forward to hearing Romanian folk music as we sample the wines from the region near Constanta. From there we can only wonder what Varna, Bulgaria's theme song will be!

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