Three trips to Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk — the three oblasts that traditionally comprised Halychyna or Galicia – a latinized name for the former originating from at least the 12th Century — and we’ve finally managed – thanks to the prodigious talents of our guide Diana Borysenko whom you can also reach here – to stitch together video clips of what we experienced into one epic travelogue.
Now I want to stress this fact from the “get”. Nothing – nada – ningun – nulla – rien – нічого you will see either here or in the blogs we’ve written would have happened without Diana’s help and guidance. Got it? As her name implies, she is truly a goddess from a pantheon of rare talents. You need to give her a ping and schedule your next vacation with her pronto because she is a very busy girl. Do it now. I mean it. You will thank The Grid you did — and I promise not to tell you “I told you so”.
Okay. So where did we go, what did we see, and what did we find? Well, first of all we visted perhaps the last well-kept secret of Eastern Europe – Lviv – or Leo’s Town; the city with five names. It’s true; I swear on a stack of iPads. We toured historical monuments of open-air folk and cultural museums; visited numerous cathedrals from both the Roman and Byzantine rites; sampled (generously) the traditional and European cusines in various restaurants where the borsch soup and varenyky (pirogi) is amazing; attended cultural events including the world famous Leopolis JazzFest; and learned all about pysanky which you can view in two separate videos from 2018 and 2019.
Next we visited the towns in Ternopil Oblast where Grandpa Ivan and Gramma Anna emigrated from more than a century ago, visiting the local cemeteries and the Ternopil Oblast Archives. Did I mention archives? Yes we found out even more that was stashed there too. We also traveled to Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast where we found the truth behind legendary and elusive Babij Mountain; visited both the Hustul Cultural Museum and the world-renowned Pysanka Museum; explored the medieval fortress cities of Kamianets-Podilskyi and Khotyn along the Dniester; on to the East in Lviv Oblast to the castles in Olesko and Pidhirtsi; and to the South near Romania in the old capital city of Bukovina, we visited Chernivtsi University.
So there you have the Cliff’s Notes version but you’re probably tired of reading this spiel by now so plop down on the couch, set a plate of holubtsi in your lap, chow down and “stare into the lights, my darlings”.
P.S. In case you missed it be sure to catch both of our videos on the Pysanky MasterClasses we took from Master Folk Artist Halyna Syrotyuk. You’ll want some pysanky as gifts too!
And be sure to check out our new video on the recent tour of our paternal homeland of Western Ukraine featuring The 3 DB’s titled The Old Country – Echoes In Time.
Plus….if these videos aren’t enough to whet your whistle, you won’t want to miss the posts on our visits to The Old Country starting with: The Old Country – Ternopil Oblast; then The Old Country – Ivano-Frankivsk; followed by The Old Country – Lviv; from 2018 both The Old Country – In Nomine Patris; and The Old Country – Salt of The Earth; and our from our most recent visit to Galicia “The Old Country — Between The Forceps And The Stone” in which we expand on even more ancestral links with actual living relatives. Quite a read. But don’t despair. There will be more in 2020 [Grid willing] – including if what I am told pans out – a trip to one of the most unique places on Earth — well, Ukraine at least: Tarakaniv Fort!
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