Visit to Ukraine

My apologies for the lack of activity as of late. I arrived in the city of Lviv, Ukraine back on July 29th and I’ve been in the country ever since. However, I have also been quite sick during that entire time unfortunately. It all started the day after I arrived – a cold, a temperature, body aches, sore throat, cough – and while the symptoms began to subside by about my fourth day in town, they all became much worse soon after.

And so, four days ago, I found myself in the beautiful village of Kosmach, Ukraine, in the Carpathian Mountains, unable to get out of bed at the family-owned guesthouse where I was staying. It was a real shame actually because I was very much looking forward to exploring this part of the country and I had a nice itinerary of activities lined up for me as well. I had managed to connect with the wonderful people from Active Ukraine, a small eco-tourism business that is trying to bring foreigners, in an environmentally and culturally responsible manner, to some of the more off-the-beaten-path destinations of this country. We had started communicating via Twitter several months ago and when I finally managed to find time to visit Ukraine, I knew that I wanted to participate in one of their unique programs.

Although, I bet Olesia, my Active Ukraine guide, had no idea what was in store for her when our three-day trip to the mountains began. Instead of guiding me around the region, she ended up making frequent trips to the local pharmacy, boiling pot of tea after pot of tea and basically making sure I was still coherent, as I laid motionless in bed.

Luckily, it was a comfortable bed with a large window next to it, and with a large apple tree right outside that window. And that tree was home to many birds who seemed quite intent on trying to keep me positive with their cheerful tunes. It didn’t work though. They sang, I moaned and so the days passed.

Sick in Ukraine

On my second day in Kosmach, however, I did become a tad bit too optimistic when I declared to Olesia that I felt good enough to attempt the light hike that was planned for that day. Well, it wasn’t so light. I ended up on a five-hour hike, three hours of which was straight uphill, and to be honest, I was absolutely shocked that I didn’t just fall to my knees and pass out on several occasions. I have no idea how I survived that trip at all. Maybe the fresh mountain air helped me through the pain? Maybe it was the calming sight of the horses we passed or of the shepherd’s working on the mountainsides? Perhaps it was the blueberries, raspberries and strawberries that Olesia kept picking for me along the way? I have no idea.

Kosmach, Ukraine

What I do know is that as soon as the hike came to an end, a nice bout of delirium set in, I collapsed into bed and watched my body deteriorate at quite an incredible pace. My temperature rose to 38C/101F, my chest hurt more than ever, my sinuses were fully blocked, my head was pounding, my vision was a little blurry and I barely had a voice.

I passed out quickly and that was the end of my day.

I’m really not sure what happened with this visit to Ukraine.

I arrived in Lviv on such a positive note back on the 29th. My first day was splendid, roaming around the streets and lanes of a city that certainly felt under-appreciated by worldwide tourism. I couldn’t help but smile while outside wandering these streets…and the food, oh the borscht!, was my kind of food as well. The cafes were plentiful, the people were welcoming and easy to talk to and overall, Lviv felt like a town that could easily win the “Most Pleasant City in the World” contest, if there ever was one.

But then it all went downhill. It just happened, as it does sometimes.

And right now I am in Kiev, having just arrived from the mountains on an overnight train. The train journey was quite comfortable and incredibly, I’m feeling better today than I’ve felt in the past eight days. Of course, now that I have a little energy, I must sit at my laptop and catch up on work because in thirty-six hours I’ll be leaving Ukraine for my ‘secret destination’ that I mentioned in a previous post (I didn’t quite mention the actual destination yet!). And it appears that I won’t have internet for about a week once that trip starts. Plenty of work to do!

So, that’s my update. It seems that my body really did not want me to experience much of Ukraine for some reason. All I’m left with is random memories of strudel, borscht, horses, honey-infused vodka, chimichangas (don’t ask), a variety of medicines, homemade cheese, walnut gelato, lots of smiles, dirt roads, a cemetery, street musicians everywhere, a clock tower, nice people, beehives and tissues. I guess it could be worse.

*If you’re planning to visit Ukraine, I do highly recommend getting in touch with Oksana over at Active Ukraine. Depending on your individual interests, she will really give you an opportunity to experience something different during your travels to this interesting country.

How was your trip to Ukraine? Have you wanted to visit this country?