Love, love, love going to the Crimea for our vacation! Even before Papa had the new palace built for Mama it was our favorite place. It wasn't so much the building—which was dark and old—but the beautiful scenery, and the swimming in the sea. We had ladders that went down and spent hours and hours bathing there.
Olga had her sixteenth birthday at Livadia in November. It's still mild at that time of year, compared to St. Petersburg.
The new palace makes it even more wonderful to be there. It's made of granite that was quarried in the Crimea, and it's full of light and air. Great tall windows give us views of the sea, which is sometimes so blue it hurts to look at it. Mama is always happier there, because we're far away from most of our official duties.
But we do a lot of charity work anyway, selling paper flowers we make ourselves to raise money for local hospitals. And we have dances and invite the officers. Olga and Tatiana flirt a lot. I'm afraid Mashka is going to fall in love any minute, as you see in this picture: