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    • Day 8

      Chernivtsi, Saskatoon's Sister City

      August 4, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

      After checking in at Hotel Bukovyna, we hopped on the bus to go to the centre of the city for a walking tour. Our guide was very informative. The main take away points were that Chernivtsi is quite an old city (>600 years old) and that there was a lot of Austrian influence in this city. There are quite a few beautiful buildings. We learned that Mila Kunis was born here. By the end of the tour I think we were all just tired and hungry.

      Dinner was at the hotel restaurant - chicken with mixed vegetables and polenta. Then nalysnyky filled with apple for dessert.

      After that, we decided to go to the hotel pool. Ten people could be there at one time. The pool was a little chilly but was pretty fun to hang out. Tyler and the boys played with a tennis ball which turned into a game of volleyball. We dried up with the bed sheets that were laid out instead of towels.

      Now I’m finishing this blog post in the hotel lobby with a Zakarpatskyi Cognac. Tomorrow is our workshop with the Buko State Ensemble which was my favorite workshop in 2013 so I’m pretty pumped!!!

      Side note: the title of the post is a fact I learned the last time I was here. Chernivtsi is Saskatoon’s sister city! I’m hoping we’ll get to see the place it says that tomorrow!

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    • Day 9

      Bukovyna State Ensemble Workshop

      August 5, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      This morning we went down to the breakfast at the Bukovyna Hotel. It was absolutely the nicest breakfast so far! There was a wide selection of different cheeses for Brooke and some pastries for myself. They even had a Bukovyna food table for local regional selections. We were very impressed.

      We then changed into our dance gear, packed up and checked out. The workshop today is with the Bukoyvna State Ensemble and was actually held on stage inside a local theater. The workshop was only with the their director, Leonid Sydorchuk, and a male and female student. I think their main cast is on summer vacation right now.

      The workshop consisted of the director / lead dancers showing us combinations, breaking them down, and then we would try and replicate. Of course being in the Bukovyna region it means a lot of complicated and quick footwork, right up Brooke's alley! By the way, Brooke had done a workshop with this group in 2013 and was a giddy little girl going into it, I compare it to her smile when she was walking into Disneyworld.

      The combinations started off simple but then got progressively harder and more complicated. The instructor did a good job of breaking it down, but it still took a lot of focus and attention, especially if you were in the 2nd line. One frustrating part was when the male lead dancer took the guys to the back to explain a combination and we spent a lot of time figuring it out, then the instructor comes and says it is supposed to go the other direction.

      Part way through we got to have a short performance by the Choir. Their voices were beautiful and the male chorus was astounding! There was a song where a female soloist would sing and the men would answer... her voice was so expressive and varied in tone and volume. It was mesmerizing!

      Afterwards we kept going through combinations and partner work. Of course the guys had to go through multiple groups of girls, so once again I was absolutely soaked at the end of it. I'm hoping we'll be able to remember some of the combinations because they were very interesting to perform.

      Afterwards we changed out of our sweaty clothes and loaded up on the bus. Headed off for a quick lunch before our afternoon tour. On the way back to the bus Brooke hit up the ATM in preparation for the market tomorrow and we did a quick tower picture in front of a Heroiam Slava sign.

      Our afternoon tour was at one of the main sights to see in Chernivtsi, the Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University. The university has a very castle look to it and some people were comparing it to Hogwarts Castle.

      The university was built by an architect Josef Hláka and took 18 years to construct. Construction was started in 1864 and was finished in 1882. At the start of construction it was not planned to be a university but instead a residency for the archbishop. Later during construction there was a need for a university east of Vienna and it was decided to build in Chernivtsi because it could be built for low cost. The estimated total cost was 1.8 million of local currency, if built today it would cost $2 billion.

      The long length of construction was due to multiple reasons, one of which was sourcing construction materials. They could not get construction materials from Vienna because the train station was not yet finished. So they had to start sourcing materials from nearby areas and bringing it in by horse and cart. There was also worker shortage until the train station was built and then they could throw more labour at it.

      The architect, Josef Hláka, didn't actually get to see his finished because he got very sick and had to stay the rest of his years in Prague.

      The inside of the university was absolutely gorgeous and Brooke was in awe by the craftmanship. One of the highlights was a lecture room with very interesting and efficient desks. We finished off the tour by wandering around the park that was part of the university.

      Then it was time to load back on the bus to leave Chernivtsi. We loved it here and would come back in a heartbeat, but not sure if it will ever be in the cards. Now it is time to head off to Yaremcha and the Carpathian Mountains. The bus ride this time was only about 2.5 hours.

      The hotel we are staying at is called Karpatski Zori and feels very much like a mountain ski resort in Canada. Our room was again two single beds and we decided to go ask if we could be switched. Luckily enough they were able to accommodate our request and actually got put in a different part of the hotel with more log-cabin style rooms. Upgrade! Quick moment to dump bags and do a load of sink laundry, then went back to the lobby to find some dinner as it was getting pretty late.

      The consensus from the group of dancers we were with was to walk 25 minutes into town and find some non-hotel food. Saw some interesting viewpoints and then eventually found a nice local restaurant. Everyone decided to sit outside and we set to work trying to decipher the Ukrainian menu, after about 10 minutes the waitress came back out and asked if we wanted an english menu (pretty sure she did that on purpose to laugh at us). Brooke ordered a beer and I took my Baba's advice and ordered vodka straight up.

      The unfortunate part about this plan was that I did not bring a jacket and was still in shorts and a T-Shirt, plus since we are at a higher elevation the temperature was starting to drop. I was starting to get quite cold and my wonderful wife could somehow tell that I was not having a good time. Brooke made the decision for the two of us to go sit inside and the restaurant gave me two blankets to warm up with. I was slightly annoyed that everyone wanted to sit outside in the first place. But then in about 20 minutes when everyone came in because it was too cold outside, my mood slightly improved.

      For dinner we ordered a Hutzsul goulash (nice and hot to warm me up), Yaremcha meat, and potatoes pancakes with mushroom sauce (sorry Dad). I really wanted to try things we don't normally get at home so I think we succeeded. Everything was really tasty and we finished off the meal with a Carpathian tea with an amazing honey.

      Considering that it was dark and a long way back, none of us wanted to walk home. We weren't really sure if there were taxis in this town, but luckily Christina was with us. She asked the waitress about taxis and then a different guy said that he has an 8-person van and could drive the 12 of us home for 300 hryvni (spoiler alert, we did not get sold into the sex trade). We all looked at each other and said all right let's see how this goes. The guy's name was Stanislav and we loaded up into his 8-person van and he took off with electronic dance music blasting. Once we saw one of the hotels we saw on the way in I knew we were good. Arrived at our hotel safe and sound. Turns out that Stanislav makes a living by driving tourists around.

      Finished off the night with a night cap in Nathan's room and then it was time for bed. Tomorrow is market shopping!
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    • Day 669

      3. Ucrania

      July 5, 2021 in Ukraine ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

      El viaje que recordaré toda mi vida, por lo que significó en su momento, y lo que va seguir significando por mucho que pase el tiempo

      Solo puedo darle las gracias a Cris y a su familia, pero sobre todo a ella

      (no me deja poner más fotos xd)
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    • Day 2

      Чернівецький університет

      May 19, 2018 in Ukraine ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

      Чернівецький національний університет ім. Юрія Федьковича

      "Франціско-Йозефіна" була заснована 4 жовтня 1875 року указом цісаря Франца Йозефа I на основі теологічного інституту, що існував з 1827 року з німецькою викладовою мовою і з окремими кафедрами української та румунської мов і літератур.

      Носив наступні назви: імені Франца Йозефа (Чернівецький університет імені Франца Йозефа) у 1875—1918 pp., Universitatea Regele Carol I din Cernăuţi (1919—1940) і Чернівецький державний університет (після 1940 року).

      1989 року Чернівецькому університетові присвоєно ім'я Юрія Федьковича.
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    • Day 3

      Хотинська фортеця

      May 20, 2018 in Ukraine ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

      Середньовічна фортеця на березі річки та музей, що висвітлює майже 1000 років місцевої історії.

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Chernivets’ka Oblast’, Chernivets'ka Oblast', Chernivtsi, Oblast de Tchernivtsi, Черновицкая область

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