Our Travels Adventures

Travel to Retro Fest in Kamyanets-Podilsky

June 16, 2018

It happened that our trip was not just entertainment and leisure. Our friend (festival director) asked our help for the technical part of the retro rally during Retro Fest. So, we packed necessary equipment into the cars, picked up a saxophonist and started our travel. Of course, the saxophonist was not a part of retro rally. He was just a guest of the festival and he also had to get there from Kharkov)))

It is about 1000 km driving from Kharkov to Kamyanets-Podilsky. There were two drivers in each car and that helped us to get there in one day, or rather night) I must admit, the bad road gave us inconvenience only in the area of Poltava and at the entrance to Kamyanets-Podilsky. But the rest of the road was a wonderful highway. And especially in comparison with roads in Kharkiv/Sumy and many other areas of our beautiful country (South should be excluded to not spoil the impression))))

Our car crews has a different cruising speeds, as a result – we were split. As a result, we entered Kamyanets-Podilsky by different roads and at different times. Our crew arrived 2.5 hours later. On the one hand, our route was much more beautiful, on the other – more extreme. Last 70 km of the route made the main difference. I was driving on this part of the road. I have not been there before, so I relied on the navigator. I was able to compare the beauty of our route later – back we went the other, more “civilized” way))) We were lagging behind so I had to hurry. My inner photographer devoured by despair that I could not stop and make some photos… Then, with a clear head and prompts from the crew, I realized that nothing bad would have happened because of the 15 minute stop. But all of us are smart in hindsight. I was driving on an empty gravel road, the sun was just about to wake up. Sky was clear and inky, the edge of the horizon smoothly became orange-green, not immediately dealt with the inky beauty. There were rye fields around – pale green soft waves strewn with scarlet flaming poppies… What a beauty! A wheat-sage field suddenly appeared around the corner and it seemed that the sky reflected in the field – lots of purple stars in a soft velvet waves… That’s how I rode and fought with my inner lover of beauty. But it was in vain – it was not worth trying.

I’m used to gas stations for every 20-50 kilometers on a highway. By this I did not take care of the fuel reserve. This was the extreme part of the route for me. The fuel sensor certainly lies, but who knows when and how)) It showed about 20 liters when I turned on this road. Well, I thought that is more than enough for 100 kilometers. But the sensor decided to test my endurance. The arrow was almost at zero for 30 km from the destination. I have not seen any gas station for 60 kilometers. There were beautiful fields around and nothing else. I drove through one or two villages and that’s all. And here it was – the long-awaited gas station! It was built about 20-30 years ago. Such gas stations almost never occur. How glad I was when I saw it! And the fuel on these type of gas stations is the most delicious for the engine of our Patrol. You don’t even need to add oil to it. I understood that the fuel sensor could deceive me by 15-20 liters, but who knows for sure

Before the trip, I read everything I could find about Kamyanets-Podilsky – what kind of attractions and coffeshops it has, tourist impressions, looked at the map. There was a funny story with the map. Life in the metropolis cruelly joked at me. I was so used to the scale of hundreds of kilometers, so I was not ready for the scale of this town. How tiny it was! You can get anywhere in no hurry within half an hour.

The first impression – I drove into a small seaside town. This impression was created not only by the downtown – of course, I drove from to the outskirts))) Streets are wide, especially in the downtown, there are many pedestrian areas, parks, alleys, neatly trimmed trees on the sidewalks, flowerpots with flowers, houses are low and standing widely from each other. Almost the entire city center is a pedestrian-park area.

After checking into the hotel, I went to wander and watch the city, while rest of our team was drawing a track for the race. Kamyanets-Podilsky has a lot to see – not a small part of the old, I can even say ancient, structures have been preserved. In the historic part of the city new buildings are built in the style of the surrounding antiquity. My eyes and soul rejoiced at it, as few places in Ukraine do that.

The historical part of the city begins right after the bridge over the deep Smotrich Canyon (at the photo above). The canyon is deep enough so the roofs of the houses at the bottom of the canyon are looking small. This is a very picturesque place, it was a pity not to had the opportunity to explore everything below.

On the bridge, which hesitated, I walked into the old city. By the way, there are huge pipes are hanging below the bridge – probably, as balancers. I think – they sing during the strong wind and that can be a sign, not to use the bridge. But what is it really…?

Holy Trinity Church catches me firstly after the bridge. The first mention of this church dates back to 1582. During the capture of the city by Turkish troops, the church was destroyed. The church was restored in 1722 and stood until 1930, when it was demounted. Archaeological excavations were conducted in 1991 – 1998, after which the church was rebuilted. It was very difficult to believe that this building was built quite recently…

Moving forward, if you go straight along the main road, there is a small square of Magdeburg law. Behind it the gate to Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral is hidden.

This gate literally beckons with its mystery and promises of beauty behind the fence. Of course I went there.

The first build construction of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral was in the first half of the ХV century. Then it was rebuilt, then passed to the Turks and was converted into a mosque, then was restored and eventually acquired its present appearance – including the minaret tower.

If you exit the cathedral through the gate on the other side of the courtyard, you will find an observation deck and several old buildings:

For example Saint George Cathedral.

Or seeming old, like Holy Trinity Church))

The historical reference of the city states: “All the churches and cathedrals of Kamyanets stood at the same distance from the city center – that is the town hall. This emphasized the equality of all Christian denominations. “ It refers to the XV – XVI centuries. Nowadays this is clearly not the case.

Then I went by the old town hall and the Armenian market square. leaving them on the left, I moved straight to the castle – I didn’t have much time left.

There is a restaurant near the Castle Bridge across the Smotrich Canyon (not lured me), and a little further there is a viewing platform.

There were some repair work or restoration on the bridge itself and around the castle. The sidewalk was on one side then on the other. This forced pedestrians to cross the road from time to time. Fortunately, traffic on the bridge and near the castle is extremely slow – checkpoints regulated the amount of cars there.

It took me about an hour to view the castle – and this despite the fact that I stopped constantly searching for a good shot. I reached every staircase and balcony and also not the most tourist spots around the castle. In the end, I came to the conclusion that the castle is beautiful, interesting, but this is not enough for me))

Hills and meadows appear behind the castle. It is very beautiful there, but I did not have time to go there. Then the rally preparation work began. I had already gave half a day for my strolls)))

A little bit about mundane things. At first, we tried to check into the “Mariya” hotel on the Danila Galitsky Street. I used “tried” because we were not able to make it full. The rooms were miserable, dirty, with mold. My room has the size 3 X 3,5 meters. There was no food on the ground floor in the café, the coffee has run out. We were promised to change linens and towels, left by past guests, a little later, same for cleaning. Our patience dried up quickly and our company moved to another hotel – “7 days”. This is a quality, modern, clean and just a good hotel. On the first floor there are couple of restaurants, with not very varied, but hearty and tasty menu. On the other hand, you need to come to the hotel for breakfast around 10 – 11 am, otherwise, the food, and most importantly, the coffee ends pretty quickly and the staff does not have time to cook additional food. As a result, you have to choose either to wait for 20 minutes, or to come later, or to refuse breakfast. Besides this, the hotel is good and almost near the historic part of the city.

Further, our time was occupied solely by the preparation and arranging the rally and render all possible assistance for the festival. It was possible to carve out an hour and look into a restaurant advertised for tourists on a rather large scale – “Coffee from the police chief.” Of course, even in this place the prices are much lower than in Kharkov restaurants. I had expectations of a greater variety of dishes, more awakened waiter and cooks. Why did the menu issue arise? – apart from two types of chops, fried brains and one or two more options, there were no more meat dishes. Also there was a couple of side dishes, a couple of salads, a couple of soups and a dumpling list. I also glanced over an extensive wine list. The separate coffee menu did not impress me at all – the average Kharkov coffee house has the richer choice. And the question is not about the quantity, but about the quality. Here the options were distinguished by the presence / absence of milk / brandy / ice cream in the coffee, but not in the variety of coffees. I understand that I have a certain spoil in this issue, but it seems to me that if you position your café as a coffee house +, then at least coffees can be diversified. Or, for the sake of decency, describe the one that is available.

Part of our team tried out a restaurant in the fortress and was satisfied.

All these days, except for half a day, the weather was extremely hot. As in the mountains at 2,000 meters and above – pretty cool in the shade, but unbearably hot on the sun. During the first 15 from 30 minutes standing at the post, I received a strong sunburn on the open parts of the feet that were not covered with sandals. It was painful …. But it was impossible to move from post to the shade(((I standed and felt how smoothly and inevitably my paws burned out. My beloved, strong, hardy, but not yet tanned this year paws. It passed during the week. Well at least, the hat was not forgotten – sunstroke could be provided despite my resistance to extreme conditions.

On the last day of the festival, before leaving, I had time to walk with a camera:

Having said goodbye to everyone, the five of us got into the Mercedes and went home. Oh, how long ago, I rode on a long distance in a sedan, especially threesome on the back seat. The road took more than 12 hours … and exhausted incredibly. It is absolutely expected that it was not without adventures – almost all were positive.

In the beginning, on the road between Kamenetz-Podolsky and Khmelnitsky, we saw a sign stating that the old church and the ruins of the castle would be a couple of kilometers to the side. We decided that we had enough time and went to see the ruins. A little later, I accidentally found photos of this place in the Internet and found out that this is Sutkovtsy village.

Only ruins remained from the a href=”https://hghstories.com/sutkov-castle/”>castle – just a couple of walls. But Church of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God looks great:

Driving through Berdichev, we stopped near All-Ukrainian Sanctuary of the Mother of God of the Holy Scapular. How beautiful there!

Well, and then we got lost in Berdichev) It’s like being lost in your own backyard) everyone was tired – not surprising) But we quickly found ourselves and went in the direction of Kiev.

At the entrance to Kiev we were very depressed by the view of a traffic jam. But everything was not as bad as it could have been – we even switched to the second gear. And we could get into such a situation that’s all we have left is to go out and drink some coffee. But having passed over the middle of the city (entrance – exit), we have lagged behind the busy traffic at 120 km / h. Every time I travel to Kiev, as a driver and a passenger, I am always struck by it’s drivers. There is a rule of a military pilot – “everyone wants to kill you.” Not in the literal sense, of course (although sometimes I doubt it). But it is not possible to relax. You give way to someone – and they don’t even understand what you want from them)))) Such behavior is not accepted here.

It took us just over an hour to get through Kiev. It was much better than we could have hoped, and especially on a Sunday evening, when everyone returns from the countryside.

And then there was not a pleasant experience near Poltava. My eyes opened because of the feeling of wrongness of what is happening. At this moment we smoothly rolled onto the edge of the filling station without lights and sound of the engine. That is, we have not turned to refuel. It turned out that generator of our transport refused to work. It was three in the morning on a highway, to the city remained either 3 or 10 kilometers. After a pause for a hint of panic, the generator was removed, disassembled, repaired – thanks to the vast experience and knowledge of our pilot and a bit of luck, and we went home. We arrived early in the morning. Tired but satisfied.

The trip turned out to be rich, fun, challenging and interesting!



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Olga Dzyuba
Odessa, UA

Hello! My name is Olga, nice to meet you! In this blog, I am talking about our travels to beautiful and unusual places in Ukraine and beyond. Well and the history of these places. I sincerely believe that it is possible to find something interesting anywhere - just look at the outside world from different angles)))

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