Carpathian Excursion, part 2
After our full day in the Carpathians, we woke up on Saturday morning wondering what could possibly be next.
Unfortunately, we also woke up to rain, which put a damper on our enthusiasm for more outdoor adventures. But we had extra time, because A was later than he thought he would be in returning from the night market. So it was on the rainy Saturday morning that we had a slow start, one last breakfast (by the way, all of the meals we ate were cooked on a stove that was heated with wood) and set off to the bazaar.
The bazaar was crazy, but A told us that it was a slow day because of the rain. He knew many of the vendors, so we were not only able to try on traditional Ukrainian dress, but we were each given a table runner! In addition, we found cheese that had been shaped like a creature (dog? cow? no matter, I decapitated it quickly, while Theo ate its “leash” first). I also found raspberries, which the baba who was selling them promised were “handmade”. Despite the fact that we had recently eaten a large breakfast, I somehow found space for them.
After a little more travel, we reached the home of more friends of A’s – I don’t know how this man meets these people, but I am grateful for his knowing them. They welcomed us, and directed us to a freshwater spring, to taste the water.
Of course, being directed to mineral springs is always an interesting experience. Last year I sampled water from one in the Transcarpathia oblast, and it was bubbly, but tasted a bit like sulfur. Two days prior to this experience, we had tasted the salted water – so what was this to be?
After walking in the rain, through the mud, crossing a stream, we reached the spring. Theo, in her
enthusiasm, reached deep to get some water, and as she did so, the four of us immediately cried out for her to stop! Being a spring notice, Theo did not realize that you want to take the water from the top, not the bottom, so as to avoid stirring up sediment. But no matter, we all consume dirt each day…
So we tried the water, which tasted like boiled eggs. This is logical, as it smells like boiled eggs too…we were told that in a few minutes, we would be feeling the effects and in a few hours would feel the maximum effects. Well, I don’t remember what happened a few hours later but they were right about the few minutes – it did not take long for us to, ahem, burp, and of course it tasted like eggs. Yum.
Then it was further up the stream to a pool, which was “dirty water” but, we were told, has curative properties. “A” got there, promptly changed into his swim trunks, and went in. I decided that any ailments I have would have to be cured by modern medicine, as I was not terribly inclined to disrobe in the cold and rain, and dive into a dirty, cold pool. So A will get to keep the magic pool all to himself!
After that, it was lunch time! Of course, because we were guests at their house, we were fed – there was a wonderful traditional soup, veggies/salad, fried zucchini, bread…and that pepper-honey vodka, plus compote. Then out came the dessert – she called them varenyky, but they were HUGE, and stuffed with plums/prunes. I had never seen such things here before…
After lunch, I decided that Theo should try to catch one of the chickens to add to her “Theo with creatures” photo collection. Well, watching the attempts to catch a chicken, and trying to help head one off, was enough to make me laugh so hard I bent over double. And we did not catch a chicken, but the gentleman of the house did, and I was able to get the photo for her.
As we were going to travel back to Khmelnytsky, we thought that perhaps after lunch, we were to hit the road. Not quite yet…we had one more stop to go. We got to watch a woman making the fabric from which traditional shirts, towels, etc. is made. And I must say – it was astounding. The woman had two looms, and was a practiced pro at what she did. She worked so fast, and it was amazing to see how fast the fabric came into being under her hands.
After that, it was indeed time to head back to our point of origin, and through the rain (of course – Theo and I do not understand but for some reason our excursions always must include rain). I dozed in the vehicle a bit, and was sad that our little excursion had to end.
But we were invited back in the fall for mushroom picking. Hmm.
Interestingly enough, at the train station that night, I found out that I am apparently “electric”…Ruslan and I were standing, waiting for my train to arrive, and when he tried to touch my skin, he got a shock. Of course, that may have had something to do with the rain and the wires over our heads…and I will try to think of it as interesting and not disturbing…
I cannot say my trip back to Kirovograd was pleasant, but I did learn something – that I never want to be in the top bunk again! I put my small luggage below the bottom berth (there was no way I was going to be able to lift it above the second berth) and apparently someone else put his large duffle bag next to it. I went to sleep and the next thing I know, at 1 a.m., a baba slapped the bottom of my feet to wake me up, and yelled at me about the luggage. Being half asleep and still not understanding everything people say to me, I kept saying “what?” and eventually the guy who owned the luggage got down and retrieved it. Grr. To say I was not pleased would be an understatement…
All the photos from this trip are on Picasa.