Saturday, 24 September 2011

Our way back home

The following morning we arose to a more clement day but unfortunately we had a seven-hour journey to get back to Verkhovyna. Our stay had been far too short but Melissa and I had fulfilled a life long ambition to stay in such a home with dairy farmers like Vasyl, Taras and Lyubyn. To this day I feel honoured to have been a guest in their home and I fondly remember every detail of their home in the magnificent Carpathians.

Our return journey was largely uneventful, well apart from me riding into swamp but that is another story. Looking back at the forest it was clear to see there was a world we had barely touched, we would need a whole summer to truly connect with the landscape and the jewels it had to offer.

Towards the end of our long day we took refuge under some trees. The guys made a quick fire and we toasted some of our provisions. Our interpreter, Andriy had learnt a great deal and experienced things he had never imaged existed. One of which was wearing wet jeans in the saddle for a day, not something he will wish to repeat. The other was me giving him a hard time about the poor cooking arrangements. I hope both experiences were character building and the experience has had a positive and lasting effect.

Vasyl and Andriy exchanged more phone calls to their girlfriends than is healthy for a man but again I didn't have a mobile at their age so I can't compare but I did worry about the phone bill.

This is the end of my little account of our travels in Hutsulshchyna. An Alpine heaven still to be discovered by people like me from the wealthy west. Andry later took us to stay with his friends for a couple of days but was sadly unable to introduce us to any local crafts people. I had asked Andriy to find a few local craftsmen for us to meet but such folk are kept hidden away from foreigners, who like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, will be whisked away to craft centers where they can earn a fortune and never return to their loved ones. A ridiculous thought but as they say 'never a truer word said in jest'.What was unexpected was Melissa and I found a scythe maker while walking in the meadows. These are the last pictures in this closing section.

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