George Georgiou was commissioned to document his route from Odessa, in southeastern Ukraine, where tourism now collides with scenarios and encounters that remind of the conflict that has engulfed the country over the past year and a half. Skirting the Black Sea coast west of Odessa where the holiday resort of Serhiivka is reminiscent of a bygone era, the route passed through Moldova and Romania, heading South toward Bulgaria. Here, tourists and holidaymakers seeking out thermal mud baths, circuses and fashion shows clash with heavy industry, surreal communist-era monuments and children playing in military uniforms - all relics of the socialist past.
During the summer, some of these drab coastal destinations in some of the poorest corners of Europe are transformed into colourful amusement parks, where the rising local middle class mingles with tourist from other parts of Eastern Europe in search of an affordable summer holiday.
'A few years ago' George says 'a friend of mine bought a couple of buildings in a little Bulgarian village called Mandritsa. The village is beautiful, and it has incredible fruits and vegetables. I've got my own place there now, and that was my destination this summer. I started in Ukraine, where I've been working on another project. Along the way, I wanted to revisit some cities by the Black Sea that I hadn't seen in years. This is one of the poorest regions in Europe, but there is an emerging middle class, and in summer you get people from all over Eastern Europe and Russia coming in for a budget holiday. I've mostly seen the Black Sea out of season, when the feeling is more melancholic, but summer changes everything.'