I love spending time by the water.
In California that’s easy — there is a beach every two miles along the coastline — yet I drag my family to another part of home, the Black Sea in East Europe.
Surrounded by nieces and nephews (one grown up in the picture above and bent on carrying me to the water) I spent many summers there.
Returning as tourists, we avoid the busy months — the cost and large crowds are the main reasons — and as such we get colder days. But that’s okay, because our aim is to enjoy the view and have fun with family and friends.
As the native tourist, I’m the designated guide for my husband and American friends. So, while trying to recall the history classes I took in school, and with a little help from my Romanian family, I came up with a few nuggets of information about the Black Sea. Or Marea Neagra, in Romanian.
1. The sea is surrounded by six countries — Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Russia and Georgia.
2. Mt. Ararat — along the Turkish coastline — is rumored to be the landing point for Noah’s Ark.
3. The sea is connected with the Mediterranean through Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles. It’s a small world, isn’t it? We’re all connected.
4. The Black Sea got its name from the Ottoman Turks — as a navigating point (Kara means Black), also means North in medieval Turkish. It retained the name because the lack of oxygen in the lower layer prevents the development of microorganisms, making it appear black. Of course, it doesn’t look black from the beach.
5. It is a famous destination choice for tourists. Couple dozen languages are spoken at any given time during the high season.
Outside this list, the Black Sea is a perfect place to visit and build memories while finding inspiration.
Maybe one day my son will take his family there, build castles and tell stories.
Maybe he’ll claim the place as another part of home, even if that is a far-removed concept now. But “home” can mean many things and with age comes understanding.
What keeps you emotionally attached to places?