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Zen expedition to the Carpathians. The first part – very crowded, but impressive.

August 21, 2020

Last year we visited Dzembronya and decided to come there again. And this time on their own.
On the way to the Carpathians, we could not miss some locations and did not miss))

The departure scheduled for the morning was postponed until the middle of the day: while one car was finishing the “bed” (a kind of locker, which with folded rear seats turns into a bed), the second found a fuel leak. It is good that this happened before leaving – the problem was easily solved, and the car market was not far away)).
Due to the fact that some of our roads are being repaired (neither for the first nor for the second year))), the progress is sometimes slowed down. So this time we also slowed down and as a result we arrived at the planned point about two o’clock in the morning.
Hotel “Bourgeois“, like many others in Ukraine, is made with a claim to something (difficult to verbalize)). In a two-room room for four people, one of the rooms has no windows at all, and the other has two, a bathroom with the size of a coffee table, doors that are confused in each other))) In any case, quite neat and clean.

So, we came to Zhytomyr to begin with. There we were interested in a small bear shelter “White Rock” and “Fisherman’s House”, which god jaded for the last year in the world of photographers, but for others it is quite a place to visit.
For a start, we decided to have breakfast. We were told at the hotel that there was a ”Gulden” restaurant around the corner. This is not the first time we are faced with the fact that a pretty good kitchen is lost against the background of not small prices and very long service. Waiting for breakfast for and a half – two hours – is somehow too much ..

Bear shelter “White Rockis located in Berezivka, 15 kilometers from Zhytomyr. Google Map took us wrong at first – from the back of the shelter. The entrance was from the side of the road, and you can leave the car in the parking lot.

The shelter is very small – at the moment (June 2020) there are four bears. They have excellent conditions and care. This is clear at least from the way bears are happy to meet the caretaker.
Admission to the shelter is free, there is a donation box and an information stand.

If you book a tour, the caretaker will take you around all the cages and tell you about each bear and all sorts of interesting stories from the life of the shelter. You can also buy souvenirs from him.

Before the tour, we walked around the area and thought for a long time what was with this strange “brown” bear: is it sick or something went wrong ..

And it turned out that nothing is “wrong” – and this is a brown bear. More precisely, a bear named Chada. She’s just white, like all Tien Shan brown bears)))) And her size and shape are not dwarf due to disease, but quite natural and normal for this subspecies of bears.
I walked a little ahead of the tour to have time to photograph the bears. That’s why I watched the touching picture “Synochok looks where his favorite person is.”

Clawfoot heard the watchman’s voice and peered out from behind the stones, running from one place to another to see where the voice was. And when he saw, jogged to the far corner of the enclosure – apparently, there they usually communicate)))
Near the shelter there is a large playground with trees and benches, as well as gazebos, where you can sit with a cup of tea from the “Seiko House”.

And so we did – it was incredibly hot outside and did not want to go out in the sun.

We were going to the fisherman’s house in the evening. In addition, we had to spend some time on a small repair of one of the cars.
I don’t know how some photographers manage to shoot a house without people. There is a continuous Brownian motion, even when there is a tripod with a camera aimed at the house at the beginning of the bridge, you are being walked by, fitting themselves between you and a handrail and go further right in front of the lens.

In this regard, I despaired of taking pictures “like everyone else” and went to look for something else around to take pictures .. and found))

I must say that this year there was some trouble with Google Maps – a lot of gas stations that are on the map, not in reality and vice versa. In Zhytomyr, we also encountered this – the one indicated on the map did not really exist (even not another company, but – an empty space), and driving past the gas station, which we needed, we did not find it on the map .. These circles in the city forced us to return quite late – around ten o’clock in the evening. The place where we had breakfast for a long time in the morning was not round the clock, as we were told in the morning. After a short but loud indignation about the decency and consistency of some people, we went in search of food. We found another cafe within walking distance on the map, called, the told us to come … We came, but there are no tables, because there is a celebration and that obviously did not start suddenly .. The next point of the program was closer to the city center. Part of the group decided to go to bed, while others went to look for hot food. We are coming, and there are no tables, although they said on the phone that there are .. We were offered to eat near a cafe on a bench .. Hmm .. At night, on a bench .. no, thank you. Around the corner of this hospitable place we found another cafe with lots of tables, a much greater variety of dishes and much nicer prices))) How nice to get a plate of hot broth when you were chasing it around the city! Good, good people in “Mario”, thank you!)))

In the morning we decided to have breakfast in front of the road in the same “Gulden”, which was extremely reckless hope from us .. Naive romantics, we thought it would be at least no worse than yesterday. So in two hours part of the order was simply forgotten, although recorded and checked, tea was brought cold and carried for a long time here and there, trying to understand to leave it for us cold with hot or what to do with it .. Okay. Somehow we ate, although they charge dearly for such jokes.

Today we have a busy day planned and it’s time to quickly move further along the route.
Our first stop is near the ruins of the castle of the Koretsky princes (the castle of the Koretsky-Ostroh princes) in the eponymous town of Korets (Rivne region).

The castle itself was built in 1380 by Prince Fedor Ostroz’kiy. Although the settlement on this site existed long before the construction of the fortification. Having taken possession of Korets, the Koretsky family rebuilt the castle. From them the castle passed initially into the possession of princes Leszczynski, and then Czartoryski. The Czartoryskis rebuilt the castle again in 1780 after a fire. In the fashion of those times, the castle became a palace in the Baroque style. Unfortunately, in 1832 the castle burned down again and was never rebuilt.

Once again, passing the non-existent gas stations on the map, we began to look for the ruins of the castle. The available coordinates clearly did not lead us there. But everything was not so sad and the entrance to the castle was quickly found.

At this time, the Google map perfectly reflects the reality: “the ruins of the castle of the Koretsky princes.”

I must say that the ruins are very picturesque.

From the hill you can see the church of Saints Cosmas and Damian (Kuzma and Damian):

But one little thing spoils all the beauty – traces of people (((

At first glance, it’s flowers or mushrooms, but those are traces from the napkins..

There is nothing to do in this place for a long time – for thirty minutes maximum. Let’s move on. Extremely advertised location “Tunnel of Love” in Klevan, Rivne region.

The “Tunnel of love” is one of the brightest illustrations of the reason why photographers do not want to mark the coordinates of interesting places they have found. I understand that the mass pilgrimage of tourists to this place employs a couple of dozen people. But what this place has become is difficult to accept. Huge crowds of people, as a result, the car is nowhere to be parked at a decent distance from the location, everything around is littered with tourist garbage, the stench of this rotting garbage. And in the tunnel itself is even steeper – the crowd is stretched for all these few kilometres of the tunnel, around a pile of bottles, napkins, remnants of photo shoots (balls, sequins and other tinsel). Most likely, to get a reference photo of the tunnel you need to come to dawn, remove a few bags of garbage (and what remains should be wiped later in the editor) and do not let anyone through with the help friendly early-risers until you make a couple of shots.

Seeing all this joy, we turned 180 degrees and went in the opposite direction on the rails.

Yes, there is no continuous tunnel, but very nice and no one! I will not even be making jokes of the herd instinct)))

In my purely personal opinion, it is worth spending time in this place only for those who are not confused by all these factors and are not lazy to go far enough for this.

The next point of this exciting and full of surprises of the day – a place called “Basalt Pillars” near the village Bazal’tove. At first we met a kind of working career – there is equipment and it seems to be working. There is no convenient descent there, there are almost no basalt cubes and pillars – we decided to look in the district. And found. If to move where the majority goes in the vicinity of the tourist location, then in the most crowded place you will get.

This quarry is already flooded, devoted to rest. Many people, everyone is busy with something – someone walks (like us), someone has a picnic, someone spreads rugs and wrestles.
I couldn’t find a reference view (which imitates poles in Iceland), but we made amazing aerial shots!

This was the first time I had to check “in the field” my rain cover for the camera and a brand new raincoat))) And all because when we got there, it rained quite hard. We sat, waited, realized we had to go and went in our rain covers. We had to climb high and far, as the rain stopped))) But the covers are tested – everything works fine!

The place is very nice and beautiful, but whether to come here on purpose, and not to stop on the way – a philosophical question.

The next point of a difficult day is Tarakaniv Fort. Not the most advertised place and I understand why. There is a rather difficult road, there is not even a hint of infrastructure nearby. And if you go there after the rain (as it happened for us), you need to bring high rubber boots in the trunk of off-road vehicles (at least, a strong sedan or crossover). Although if you still get there, it’s worth the effort))
To begin with, searching for an entrance. Sad but standard situation “you are an independent tourist without a guide – so run through a forest looking for a place” We even raised the drone to look for the fort.. After walking around the wet forest for a while, we came across people and learned that the two pillars sticking out on the road are the entrance to the fort, and there is another bypass road, but it is only for a car like ours (in my opinion, it was an exaggeration, but the fear of a wet forest road can be understood)

So, we decided to walk through the “entrance to the fort” with the pillars, and the rest went to check out the “terrible road around the fort”. There is a lawn where you can leave your car to walk. You can also get to the fort from the “terrible road”.

At first you spend a long time stomping on the gallery, which does not look like photos from the Internet and you can not understand what is wrong. Although the atmosphere around, to put it mildly, is strange – jungle (hogweed instead of vines, but vines in the form of wild grapes are also present)))), the air is very humid (due to the rain that passed the day before, but adds touches to the picture))), around a huge building with empty entrances to nowhere, which blow cold and damp ..

As we walked through this gallery, others drove around and found nothing. We met on top of an earthen rampart surrounding the fort.

We decided to walk again and then on arrival to look for information about what we did not do correctly. While we were walking, someone decided to climb into one of the holes … and there was a corridor. We decided to walk on it – it is long and dark. At first we decided that we will walk out somewhere else through the same hole. And it turned out that we went inside the fort. And there is all the beauty! If we haven’t went into the hole that time, we wouldn’t have found a way to the inside of the fort.

The fact that it rained the day before, added atmosphere to our walk – a light haze in the thick green thickets in the middle of high ancient walls gave the impression of lost in the jungle of the ancient city ..

Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time for the fort – if we knew how it would impress us, we would have sacrificed at least the “Tunnel of Love”.

In order to get on the Carpathian tram the next morning, we decided to spend the night closer to it. This means that we still had a long way to go. As a result, we arrived in the Dolyna at about three o’clock in the morning. Dolyna is a very small town and there are not so many hotels in it)) “Prince Oleg” – a very nice place, with good service and very nice rooms.

Tomorrow we will have new adventures, and for now – a short rest.

Second part of travel.
Third part of travel.



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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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