Ukraine - Trip One
A short travel autobiography of my first visit to the Crimean peninsula in the Ukraine. I went to see the land and the architecture and to meet the people. A fortunate and valuable aspect for me was to get to know the inhabitants of this region before the events on the Maidan in Kiev changed the people’s attitude to one another. The most important outcome of my travels was that I made friends. More
The Ukraine … its dimensions make it the second largest nation in Europe and seventh in size by population. And as I was writing this, it has been a source of top news for months.
But this is not the reason why I wrote this little travel autobiography. I arrived on my very first visit to this nation months before the events of the by-now famous Maidan. It was a peaceful country back then and the people’s main concerns were their everyday lives … their survival with little means. War, separatism, a neighbor’s appalling propaganda machinery, Maidan, flight MH 17 … no one knew yet that these things would be a part of this nation’s near future. No, I wrote this piece simply because I like the country and especially its people, and I had unusual things happen to me.
During my first visit the Ukraine was just another east European nation. It did play a role in a few movies, but essentially for most people it had remained an obscure place. At best it was known to have been a member of the former Soviet Union, or the nation where Chernobyl is - actually the nuclear cataclysm there. I knew about as much of the Ukraine as the average person. Well, maybe a bit more than average. Due to my job, over the years I had met quite a few people from this nation and Russia too. I’m also a history buff with emphasis on WWII, and perhaps this is why I consequently learnt a thing or two more about this part of Europe than most people. But I had never been there before nor had I met its people - I mean those who had remained there and not emigrated.
Naturally I was aware that many unknowns were awaiting me on this trip. This is always the case when you first visit another country. But somehow I suspected that it would be a more unique experience than usual. What exactly this uniqueness would be I simply had no inkling. I somehow knew that this would not be your average, run-of-the-mill vacation. And I was right. I never expected to be treated so kindly, and although there were other factors involved making this an unusual trip, this alone had made it all the more worthwhile for me. I don’t want to claim that this will happen to everyone, but it did to me. And this is my story.
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