I feel at peace whenever I am in the mountains because I was raised in their shadows in a remote corner of Northwest Montana, not far from the Canadian border. The mountains surrounding my folk’s farm remind me of my father’s large weathered hands gently cupped into a shape of a bowl. Those mountains remain a part of me and a link that binds my indelible spirit.
My wife and I had returned to the mountains of Western Ukraine to relax and drink Naftusya (oil mineral water) once again before exploring the Carpathians by car for the first time. The previous year we stayed at one of the local sanatoria and promised ourselves when we returned to Truskavets again we would stay at a more modern place.
The skies were overcast and the smell of rain was in the air as we set out on our journey from Truskavets to Kosiv. It was early Friday morning and my wife was at the wheel. This allowed me the luxury of sitting back, taking it easy, and enjoying the beauty.
We had left early because we wanted to take our time to sightsee along the way. We had planned to stay overnight in Kolomya and get a good night’s sleep before heading out early the next morning to arrive at the Hutsul Craft Market in Kosiv by 6 AM to look for products to market in America.
Arriving in Kolomya our first task was to find a place to stay for the night. We didn’t see any sign of a hotel, so we parked and got out of the car to stretch our legs and to ask directions to find a place to stay. We got back into the car and using the directions we were given drove around downtown 3 or 4 times in a circle looking for a place to stay. Every time we stopped to ask for new directions, we got a different answer. Axiom, when traveling the back roads of Ukraine, be prepared to encounter a few dead ends, because as hard as we tried, we couldn’t get there from here with any of the directions we were given. Finally, a person told us if we continue to drive down the street 2 blocks there was a hotel to stay across from the bus station.
At last, we parked and went to investigate our new home for the night. It was a nondescript Soviet looking concrete building. The interior of lobby was bare except for a few signs with directions. We found the hotel office on second floor and were met by the cleaning lady, who was also the administrator of the hotel. We were lucky as they say. We had two large rooms with a refrigerator, a television that didn’t work and the last bathroom with hot running water.
We park our car in the secured parking lot behind the hotel and went sightseeing around Kolomya. We found all the nicer hotels we weren’t able to find situated in the walking area of the city. We had dinner, bought some fruit at the local farmer’s market and went to bed around 9 PM.
A few hours later we were awaken by loud music coming from the parking lot where we had parked our car. We look outside to our amazement a group of people were eating, drinking, toasting, dancing and having fun as the security guards looked on. The party went on all night and finally broke up around the time we were going to leave the hospitable city of Kolomya for Kosiv.
Reflecting back on that night, we now have a better understanding why the television didn’t work in our room. There isn’t any need to watch television when you have reserved bedside concert seats to a concert going on outside your window all night!
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