Ukraine
Ivano-Frankivs’ka Oblast’

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4 travelers at this place

  • Day10

    Mountain Getaway / Yaremcha Market

    August 6, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Today we are enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Carpathian Mountains. The hotel really does feel quite luxurious and I woke up feeling fairly rested, even though it was again a night with just shy of six hours of sleep.

    We showered and had breakfast at the hotel. Pretty typical European breakfast, nothing out of the ordinary. The morning plan was to shop at the Yaremcha market. The schedule had just two hours devoted to this which we knew from the start would not be quite enough.

    The market has so many shops with blouses, dresses, and many other Ukrainian trinkets. At first everything looked the same just because of the sheer volume. Compared to at home though there are really so many options and it was hard to decide which store to go into and start looking at seriously. Eventually we landed on a store in the middle of one of the main rows. Tyler found a shirt for himself first, a linen one with blue and grey embroidery that is quite fine and definitely hand embroidered. As he was getting close to his decision, I also found a really pretty burgundy blouse with short sleeves. We are both happy with those purchases!

    I made a somewhat impulse decision at another shop to get a T-shirt with embroidered flowers on the front. But it was very inexpensive and I’m sure I’ll wear it plenty.

    Tyler and I wandered a bit more. It was somewhat on my mind to get a dress but it was difficult to decide where to stop to look. They often would just have one size of a certain item, so if you liked the pattern but it was too big or too small then you’re out of luck on that one. After a few near purchases that I ended up deciding against because I just wasn’t in love, I found a blue dress with white embroidery that I really liked. Then it was basically time to go to the bus. But on the way we stopped at one more place. Tyler found a second shirt, one that is a beige linen with blue and golden yellow embroidery. I really like that one too. I tried on a stunning shirt in the same shop, without knowing the price in advance. Turns out it was 12000 hryvni, which is about 600 CAD. Trust me to find one of the most expensive blouses in the market. It was stunning though. I decided that was a bit too much to justify and my other items are also great but at much more reasonable prices.

    I think both Tyler and I were starting to feel comfortable shopping at the market right as we had to rush to the bus. We are going to a Hutsul wedding lunch today. Bus call was 11:30 am. We were a few minutes later than that as were many of the others. Both of us quickly donned our new purchases and are feeling quite well dressed for a Hutsul wedding!

    Now the bus is taking us about a two hour journey for a Hutsul wedding and lunch. The Ukrainian music is blasting, the girls are braiding each other’s hair in much more interesting and fun ways than we get to for dance and we are singing along to the music!

    I’ll post again after the wedding!!

    Brooke
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  • Day11

    Pysanka Museum

    August 7, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    This morning we actually got to sleep in, all the way to 7:45am! Got almost 8 hours of sleep, but also starting to feel a bit throat sick, hopefully it doesn't turn into too much more. Our bus call was at 10:00 AM and Brooke had been talking about trying to go to the market once more since it is really close by. She ended up going quickly with a couple of girls and was successful in finding something small.

    We then loaded up the bus and departed for Kolomeya, this time it was just over an hour away. The name Kolomeya comes from the words circle/wheel and washing, so washing the wheels in the river. It was said that the salt merchants would wash the wheels of their carriages in this town and that is why it has this name. In Kolomeya we visited two separate museums; the Pysanky Museum and the Hutsulschyna Museum.

    Our first stop was at the Pysanky Museum. It was the only one in the whole world and was founded in 1988, but the actual building location was made in 2000. The outside of the museum has a massive pysanka built into the building. The guide told us that it measures 14m high by 10m diameter and that it is the largest pysanka in the whole world, but I beg to differ. Christine later downloaded an egg volume calculator and determined that the Vegreville pysanka is larger by 461 m³. Point Alberta!

    We were first given an explanation on how pysanky are written, but I think we are fairly knowledgeable on that front. They also have a special way of preserving the eggs by cracking it open along the middle to fully remove the yolk, then they line it with some sort of paper and then carefully put it back together. Not really sure why they don't blow them out, but there must be a good reason for it.

    The museum has over 12,000 pysynkas in it. One of the most interesting pieces was the oldest pysanka in Ukraine at 500 years old. It was excavated recently in Lviv.

    They had a section of pysanky that were all done with natural colors instead of egg dyes. Examples would be tree bark for brown, beet root for red/purple, and onion peel for orange.

    There was one wall of pysanky that were all done with a pinning technique. This involves making a drop of wax on the egg and then spreading it in one direction with a pin. Then it is dipped in a single color of wax. Very cool technique, Brooke said she might try it one day.

    Finally, they had a section with pysanky from all over the world that were provided to the museum by the ukrainian diaspora. Interesting ones were eggs from Australia with kangaroos on them and a replica of the Vegreville pysanka.

    There were also Canadian coins in the shape of an egg (worth $20). There are only 5,000 in the world and of course Brooke immediately wants one (says she wants one for her birthday........how am I supposed to make that happen?).

    At the end of the tour Brooke bought a book on the history of pysanky origins and pictures of pysanky from the various regions of Ukraine. She was quite thrilled.

    Then it was off to see the Hutsulshyna museum (which will be in a second post).
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  • Day10

    Hutsul Vesilia Continued

    August 6, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Nathan and Audrey got back on their horses and we headed back to the school for the wedding reception. By this time it was about 4:30 pm and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast at 8 am so everyone was ready to eat! I was impressed that Tyler actually didn’t really get hangry. We sat at the head table. There were salads, salo, cabbage rolls (probably the best ones we’ve had in Ukraine so far) and meat and potatoes. There were trays of pampoushky on each table too. There was also more golden root home brew instead of vodka and the hosts led the traditional many shots once again.

    After eating, the musicians played for us. A couple younger children (I’d guess 10-14 years old) played the tsymbaly and a baian. The baian looks like an accordion but has buttons on the side instead of a keyboard. They even did a rendition of Despacito. There was also an older man who played a variety of woodwind instruments. He played a trembita which was amazing to see in person. One of the instruments looked like a shotgun but was actually some type type of a flute. He was truly amazing, it was hard to see how he could play such intricate hutsul tunes with such simple instruments. As it turned out he basically didn’t need an instrument... after his set he did a shot and then played a tune using only the empty shot glass.

    Next it was time to dance! We did some folk dances in a circle including one where the boys had to crawl under the girls legs. Unfortunately one of the neck tassels in Tyler’s brand new shirt broke off during a sit lift from the strain of having someone on the arms.

    After the dances, it was time for more food. They brought out banosh... which is essentially a corn meal pudding. It was delicious and very buttery. Dessert was a dough filled with a sweet poppy seed mixture! They look like really large perogies but the dough was more like bread.

    It was a day filled with amazing hospitality and was lovely to learn more about a traditional hutsul wedding. After a few more budmos, it was time to head to the bus. While we were waiting for everyone to file out, we had a little impromptu photo shoot with the mountains/sunset.

    We arrived at the hotel at around 10:45 pm. We were supposed to be back at 7pm so I think you can understand what we mean about the hospitality. Really wish we could stay in the Carpathians longer but we head out in the morning. Instead of going out for a drink with the others, Tyler and I made the wise decision to go right to sleep ... getting 8 hours straight for the first time this trip!

    Brooke
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  • Day11

    Found Our Show Poster!

    August 7, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    The bus ride to Ivano-Frankivsk was actually quite short, less than 2 hours. I actually was a bit more reserved on this bus ride, partially because I'm starting to get prepared for our show tomorrow and also to catch up on some blogging.

    We arrived in Ivano-Frankivsk and repeated the check in process once again. The room we have actually has a ton of space and has one main bed for the two of us! This evening we actually have the entire time to ourselves, which has been a rarity! After a moment of chill out in the room, we walked across the street with one of our tour guides to the supermarket to stock up on water and bananas for tomorrow.

    Our hotel is literally right beside the theatre where we are performing tomorrow. While walking out of the hotel we noticed our show poster in the theatre window!! That was super cool to see! Stopped to take a picture and then we headed off to find some dinner.

    Ivano-Frankivsk is really beautiful and super cute. We walked down the main pedestrian drag which is lined with different restaurants, cafes, and storefronts. While walking, we saw our show poster two more times on billboard advertisement walls! It's starting to make us super excited and feels sort of celebrity like. We also heard from other dancers that they spotted some different ones.

    We looked at a couple of menus and nothing really caught our attention. So we leaned on the power of Google Maps and found a pasta restaurant which had good reviews. The restaurant actually turned out to be a Ukrainian farm-to-table type of restaurant. They only use ingredients that are found in Ukraine. We had dinner with Nathan, Audrey, Jordan, Christine, and Joren and we were all in the mindset to fuel up for the show tomorrow.

    The restaurant actually had Ukrainian craft beer, so we ordered something that looked interesting and the menu said it was from the Hutsul region. Brooke and I shared a pasta dish and then each ordered a steak to get some solid protein. Side dishes of fried potatoes and grilled veggies along with a garlic sauce. Christine said her spaghetti bolognese was to die for. It was an excellent meal and we were very impressed with the restaurant!

    We took a meandering pace back to our hotel and then spent the rest of the evening ironing our costumes and getting prepared for tomorrow.

    Tyler
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  • Day12

    Ivano-Frankivsk Show Day

    August 8, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    It was a nice treat to sleep in to 8 am and have a fairly relaxed day leading up to our second and final full length performance. Breakfast at Hotel Nadiya was awesome. The restaurant had a lovely outdoor terrace and made our coffee and croissants with Nutella even more enjoyable.

    Our walking tour started at around 10 am. Our guide explained that Ivano-Frankivsk used to be called Stanislav, for the son of the Polish man that once owned the city. It was renamed to honour a Ukrainian poet, Ivan Franko. We learned that this city was really quite multicultural - having Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, and Armenian origins. Some of this diversity was really devastated by World War II and there are just a couple buildings left particularly from the Jewish and Armenian quarters today. Ivano-Frankivsk was also a fortress city but none of the original walls exist anymore.

    Our guide explained that there are now a couple NGOs devoted to improving the city. One to build structures and parks for children, and another to preserve beautiful and historic doors and other building features.

    We visited a beautiful arch that was a gift for 350 years since the city was created and also passed by the city hall and peeked in at a few churches.

    The tour ended at around 11:30 and we had a bit of time to prepare for our show. We got to load our props to the backstage and Kristen braided my hair and I braided Christine’s. The time flew by and it was time to meet for lunch. We walked to a restaurant a few blocks away. We had a cabbage salad, borscht with chicken in it, and the main course was a plate of banosh (corn meal porridge) with mushroom sauce. Tyler thought and I agreed that it was an unusual pre-show meal and not quite what we’d usually gravitate toward before a big dance show.

    We had about half an hour to prep the rest of our stuff (pretty sure I did my makeup on record time) and then it was time to go to the theatre. The theatre was literally across the street which was very convenient. Mikhailo was already outside of the theatre when we were heading there. So Tyler and I said hi for a couple minutes. He had already got tickets for the show. He was with a friend of Natalia’s named Lilia who lives in Ivano-Frankivsk.

    In the theatre we got our stuff set up, in the dark at first before the theatre lights were turned on. The stage was wooden, and quite uneven with metal plates in some places. It was definitely a challenging stage to dance on compared to what we are used to. However the actual grippy-ness of the stage was quite manageable.

    Our tech rehearsal was quick for a few reasons. The lighting was very simple and I don’t think there was much to adjust or decide. Also, as we had recently done the full show it wasn’t that difficult to set spacing again so soon.

    We finished ahead of schedule and had a very comfortable amount of time to get ready for the show. The change rooms each had their own music going and it was a fun upbeat feel in the building.

    The kolach for pryvit was absolutely stunning... it was ornately decorated and even tryzubs on its sides. I decided to get my costume on a little early to get some photos with the bread. I otherwise never get to do that since the bread is at the end of the dance and there’s always a quick change after. Before the show, we had our usual pow wow on stage. It was Jordan’s 300th show!!! Pretty amazing timing given that Christine and Jordan were performing the lead roles for Heroiam Slava.

    The show was again full of energy and emotion. There were a couple hiccups... one of the girls took a fall during the Transcarpathian dance (luckily I think she was ok after). The audience was very supportive of all of the dancing. At the end of the 1st half, a lady ran up onto the stage after the curtain had closed to give flowers to Christine. It was very sweet. At intermission, Josef’s daughter came backstage. I said hello quickly but then needed to head to change.

    After the final bow of hopak, the crowd chanted Molotsi! This is like bravo or saying the show was amazing and felt amazing to hear! After a quick group photo, it was time to find the relatives who had come to the show. Mikhailo and Natalia’s friend Lilia, a couple and their two children (I must admit that I don’t know their names nor relation) were the first we saw. I did recognize the mom in that group and Mikhailo explained she was pregnant the last time I was here in 2013 with her first daughter and now she has three children! The oldest two were at the performance. They brought flowers and other treats.

    We took some photos and then Josef and his daughter Natalia (and her husband Yuri and granddaughter Marta) found us too! They all seemed to have enjoyed the show. I introduced everyone to Tyler and Kim and we took some more photos. Next it was time to go pack up all of our costumes. I did this quite fast... Tyler is always one of the slowest to pack up and especially since we were already behind the others that changed immediately he was the last one out of the theatre.

    I hung up all the costumes in the hotel room and changed my clothes. Then I went downstairs and found the group of family. We went to the hotel restaurant and got settled. Mikhailo’s English is still pretty good, and so it was fairly easy to communicate and he translated back and forth. Tyler joined us just about ten minutes later. We had coffee and tea and apple strudel. At one point, Natalia Melnyk phones from Germany and said she was very sad she couldn’t make it to see us. We showed everyone some pictures of recent family gatherings and of our wedding. It was a really nice visit!! Everyone said we should come back (and bring Halya/Gail and other family) but not on a dance trip so there would be more time to visit! Tyler officially knows more Ukrainian than I do. The relatives could tell that he was understanding more and saying a couple words back a bit more often than I was. Josef’s daughter Natalia said something to this effect.

    The rest of the dancers meanwhile had showered and some had gone for dinner. Some dancers had convened in one hotel room to visit after the show. We had some vodka, pizza and chips and celebrated our last full length show in Ukraine.

    Now we’ll be off to Lviv for the International Dance Festival!!!

    Brooke
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  • Day10

    Hutsul Vesilia

    August 6, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    When we arrived at the location in Bukovets (the events took place at the school of their village) we were greeted by an entire Ukrainian Hutsul family. They welcomed us and sang for us with a live band. Everyone was dressed in gorgeous beaded blouses and zapaska (hutsul panelled skirts). They also had beaded necklaces on and some of them used toonies as medallions! The welcome shot was a homemade spirit with a ‘golden root’ in it. After the shot, they passed out pampoushky and bread with salo and pickles spread on it. A tasty snack and we were already quite hungry as it was about 2 pm.

    Then it was time to select the bride and groom. The hospodar and hospodyna Slavko and Svetlana decided to select people that were dressed similarly. They chose Nathan and Audrey who were wearing similar shirts that they bought at the market today. Maybe it’s a sign?? Jordan and Christine became their wedding party and they also selected parents for the couple as well. The hutsul babas proceeded with the ritual of dressing the bride and braiding her hair. They braided her hair together with yarn and coins (they had a string with coins attached that they weaved in as they braided. Then they twisted the braids around her head and attached a beautiful headdress. Probably best to look at the pictures to understand what it looked like.

    The next tradition was to decorate a fir tree. The tree symbolizes the new family/life that is starting with the marriage and all of the wedding guests help decorate it. Today we decorated the tree with flowers made with streamers but traditionally they would also hang honey (for sweetness) and money (for wealth) on the tree.

    We headed outside for the procession to the church. The bride and groom go on horseback and the guests walk behind. It was a tiny bit rainy but luckily just lightly spitting. There was a priest ready for the service in the church. He did a short service chanted in Ukrainian. Then we kissed the icons and received morovynya (anointing with oil). After leaving the church the bride and groom tore apart a korovai and shared it with all the guests. When they tear the bread it is like a wishbone, the bigger piece is good luck. Nathan’s half was the bigger part. We took a group photo and then the priest blessed us with holy water. He had a huge amount of water, the container basically the size of a big soup pot. His tool for blessing people with water was the largest we have seen and he was able to absolutely soak some people. He even noticed a few people trying to hide from the water at the back ... I think he managed to bless everyone!

    There are too many nice photos for one post so I’m going to continue this in another post.

    Brooke
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Ivano-Frankivs’ka Oblast’, Ivano-Frankivs'ka Oblast', Oblast d'Ivano-Frankivsk, Ивано-Франковская область, Івано-Франківська область

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