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Inner City Blues

Updated: Mar 13, 2021


The alleyways here aren’t strictly what you’d refer to as slums today. With a slowly emerging economy, people are better able to care about their environment than before Ukraine’s independence, yet the cramped nature of the back streets continue to dictate the perception of a past reality. Visually, block upon block of communist built tenements remain in a poor state of repair, though within their walls a new generation begin to reflect a different picture. Judging by the way they use the old thoroughfares, for mother and toddler groups and exchanging recipes, I can well believe it!


Too expensive to demolish, the dwellings overlook bleak squares where no nightingale sings and lanky woodland trees search for light, but young families and students remain meticulous in adapting both the buildings and outdoor spaces for a modern society. Surprisingly, makeovers of granite blocks and paving stones already replace old mud paths and unmade roads ...paid for by a forward thinking community. Though shabby still remains the first impression, there are no signs of a gang mentality, instead it’s alive with a culture incongruous to an environment that in places is akin to the 40’s Bronx.


Construction of new apartment blocks in every direction is already adding weight to the city's problem of car parking. It remains to be seen whether they can jump the hurdle that most expanding cities, at some point, contend with. Their remarkable, if old, trolley and tram network offers that possibility, but resistance I suspect will be formidable, given the freedom the car has recently enabled amongst the population. The city is old and space is at a premium. On the whole Chernivtsi is family friendly, still dirty but recovering slowly from an era of wretched neglect.



2 March. A short but painful off road trek to an off grid moorland hillside is worth all the jarring in the jamjar to reach! Flanked by half a dozen two storey timber constructed lodgings with board walk terraces, and stables ...a classic Christmas card setting where pine trees surround conifer cladded lodges, each one is clean with all the essentials for easy living in an off grid kind of environment.

Behind these homely escapes, and protecting them from any severe weather, lies a forested gradient leading to higher ground while toward the basin a pleasant, if closed up hotel and restaurant, waiting for better times.

The staple activities here are geared toward having outdoor fun …with a little work and exercise!


* Muck in with the stable work, horse etiquette and manicuring ...before you go

riding.

* Collect the kindling, the dead wood and light a fire ...before preparing an alfresco

dinner.

* Make a little music and chat around the embers of an open fire ...before retiring to a

comfortable bed and bath in your Swiss Cottage.


A view of the Carpathian foothills, distant city sounds floating up from the Chernivtsi suburbs, friendly horses, cats, dogs, black floppy eared rabbits, great tits, owls and a crackling fire ...a rugged atmosphere for a back to nature retreat a la Ukraine.


7 March. Worthy of a mention, to anyone looking for a civilised stopover, is a modern 5 star hotel and sports complex 10 minutes from the European border with Romania ...and just 30 minutes from Chernivtsi. A plus point is the quality of the roads near this trendy stop over! Suceava airport is just a 20 minute hop away in Romania and presently operating Wizzair flights from Luton ...but don’t forget to allow a little extra time to cross the border!



Facilities here include:

Independant villas and hotel rooms for rent by the day and night,

personal dining booths with bespoke BBQs ...bring your own food or purchase meat and fish onsite,

fine dining and fast food restaurants and cafes,

An olympic overflow outdoor pool,

spa therapy,

a classic car museum,

landscaped topiary gardens,

astroturf tennis courts, volleyball, football - in fact most sports,

on the level walking and cycling through the forest.

...and a kids roller slide park.

To apply or request an activity and event retreat for your group at any of the locations mentioned in the travel’in’ time blogs contact rIchard.isles@outlook.com


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