Updated: Mar 18, 2021
Mountain passes, forests, snow, vistas, bewildering conversations, translators, a little cognac, a high elbow ...and collaboration UK - UKraine! Three outstanding venues all in one region combining lakeside, mountainside and city, most importantly fulfilling the scope for Travelintime’s activity retreats here.
The single road in is good but deceptive providing no clue as to the size of our destination. Farms, homesteads, family hotels and stray cows lead us into a typical Ukraine mountain village where private market sellers are displaying authentic homemade products in an effort to tempt the wealthy tourists living the life up the road. Almost immediately we appear to cross an invisible border into what at first glance could be Courchevel.
Of course it isn't, but it is one small piece of Ukraine territory where you will be paying European prices ...unless you walk a few steps out of the hot zone to a charming Tyrollean style hotel managed by a local Ukraine family.
A short drive from Chernivtsi lies a private domain accessible only to those that can afford the toll of 1 euro. The surrounding foothills offer some great views as we climb a smooth road before emerging into a private estate along the lines of CentreParks ... hotel, family lodges, bbq dining cubes, saunas, restaurants, a zoo, swimming pools, fishing and swimming lakes, landscaped gardens, most sports disciplines ...even tenpin bowling, but no people!
An outdoor movie plays to an empty garden arena, while a lonesome chef solemnly waits for custom on the terrace of his deserted restaurant.
’Any chance we can we have a table for two?’
‘sì, sicuramente puoi! Dentro fuori fai la tua scelta‘
‘A Ukrainian who speaks Italian?‘
‘No I'm an Italian who speaks Russian and English!’
Starved of the dying art of eating out, we take the opportunity to enjoy this rare social activity once again.
Sun Valley Chernivtsi is a tranquil spot with a water sport theme for the hotel‘s guests to enjoy. The endearing hospitality of the director and his friendly staff emphasise the tasteful and sunny venue. Their attitude reflecting their motto: ‘Nothing is to much and anything can be arranged!’
The last post before I leave this fascinating country. Catch up with the blogs as I continue through Europe ...if I can!