Day 7, Koktebel (the promised land)

Koktebel is an idyllicly located village on the Crimean coast whose name became a symbol of a kind of paradise here on earth, a utopia, it was a get-away-from-it-all secret location during Soviet times for the few in the know, particularly writers, with a bohemian and clothing-optional style of life almost unheard of in the Soviet Union. If you've seen the beautiful, award-winning film 'Koktebel' by Boris Khlebnikov and Alexei Popogrebsky, you'll get the idea. The film is about a small boy who is travelling to Koktebel from Moscow with his father, but becomes separated and has to make his own way there. The idea of Koktebel begins to feel like an unattainable place that seems scarcely believable that it actually exists, a promised land for the small boy.

I went there today. It's unfair, maybe, visiting a summer resort out of season, but interesting to do so. It was almost totally deserted, which gave it this nice sense of absence, in the summer it must be on the contrary absolutely packed. It has long ceased to be a village.