Carpathian Ukraine: life is difficult, breathe is easy (Slavske Village)

Slavske Up the Hill

Slavske (Ukrainian Village)

And so my journey starts in the Carpathian Mountains. Mountains are everywhere where I look. I cannot hide from them; they keep an eye on me and my deeds. Today I am lucky to be in Svavske. This village is located deeply in Ukrainian Carpathians on a distance of 28 km from Skole in a picturesque valley of the river Opir and the river Slavka on the mountain chain Beskid. It is surrounded by 1000-meters height mountain ranges, Troyan (1235 m above sea level), Il’za (1066 m above sea level), Dovbushanka (1236 m above sea level) and Menchela (1014 m above sea level). Mountain ranges Beskid and Slavsky created unique local climate favorable for relaxation in any time of the year. Around 6100 inhabitants live here.


Slavske, first of all, is a ski resort that attracts many skiers in winter. It can be called a paradise for skiers and snowboarders,  there you can find almost everything you need, hotels, restaurants, fast food, shops and even bowling. However, in reality it is a bit far from European resorts. And this is thanks to our Ukrainian Authorities (no matter current or previous), they are not interested in Western Ukraine; they think that here there is nothing except mountains and lakes; there are no roads to be built or repaired or any infrastructure. Our State Governors have never traveled these awful “roads” that hardly be called like that. You can use there only a tractor or rover, but a usual car, even don’t think, no way! Then a question arises who will ever dare to drive there? Only somebody who would like to feel extreme, by the way, you can use a quadricycle…

Chair Lifts

Driving these awful “roads” made my blood boil…these roads can be fixed so easily, no big money required, and then this resort will be full of tourists, especially Ukrainians, as we do not have many places to go nowadays, even from Black Sea we have only a small piece now. Somebody has stolen it or, better to say, annexed (we all know WHO). Tell me please where Ukrainians should go for holidays – definitely not to Crimea where Russians would like to leave you even without trousers. And what about foreign tourists, prices are very catching, only service should be improved, I agree. I have been abroad and know the prices are higher here as well as service quality.

Slavske Village

Indeed, we need to do serious changes, however, when you can taste our wine or vodka and borsch (beetroot soup) with garlic, you won’t regret that you came here. Ukrainian traditional cuisine is a cultural heritage which reflects historical development of Ukrainian nation, traditions, customs and culture. It is very unlikely that the Ukrainian national cuisine will leave you indifferent. After a good meal you can find yourself soaking into the traditional wooden bath tub with herbals and tea (have you ever heard about it?). You can relax there and enjoy tea. Everything is for people and with all the heart.

BBQ in Slavske

 And we should not forget that the most delicious BBQ can be prepared only in Ukraine and only by a male chef-cook! I see your puzzled faces…in our country it is believed that women have no right to deal with such delicate food as BBQ…I cannot explain exactly why, but I guess that women like doing everything quickly since they always have lots to do, BBQ is a very capricious food which should be cooked slowly, gently and passionately…men are able to do it since they usually do not stay the whole day at kitchen! Don’t you agree?


People are so friendly and so hard-working here. Life is difficult for them, there are no jobs, everybody is abroad working as baby-sitters, cleaners, nannies, housemaids and etc. They did not deserve for such life. You should see their eyes, very bright, and their hearts are so kind. During my journey I accidentally met several typical representatives of Western Ukrainians; somehow they told me their stories. I have no right to share their stories with you, it’s private, the only I can say that I do still envy them, they are so brave, so free like wild horses galloping through time…

Bridge in Slavske

They still can joke and never complain. I like calling them Carpathian Ukrainians…they are special people…something tells me that changes in our country are possible only if they do something…they never give up, they won’t let to be conquered – better to die!

Church in Slavske

They are the symbol of unsubdued Ukraine that fights till the last breathe…symbol of an old man who brings his horses up to the mountains and for the question ” how is your life” answers: “difficult, but breathing is easy”…

Gates in Slavske

To be continued…

Carpathian Ukraine: life is difficult, breathe is easy (Introduction)

Carpathian Ukraine

It is thought that beyond Carpathians there is a different country with different people who speak differently. We do not fully understand them, however, we do envy their freedom spirit, which we are (people who live in Central and other parts of Ukraine) lack of. We feel ourselves as oxen, while they – more as mustangs, wild horses with their wild dances. It seems that Ukraine is the same and the only one for all of us, but we are so different. Sometimes we do not understand each other at all; often we even become enemies.  Our country undergoes some artificial dividing into Western and Eastern part, although it has been made on purpose, on Eastern Russian purpose, in order to control the whole country. It is a well-thought and successful step. Entire generations of Ukrainians carried it with them through years. Therefore when we found ourselves in the other part of our motherland, it seems we are abroad, however, that’s not exactly true.


Land is the same soft and warm there, it might be not so fecund due to specific mountain climate, but still our own and pleasant to touch. The sun is the same bright and blinding at daytime, only comes up later. Moreover, people are more friendly and kinder; they appreciate everything they have since their childhood. Nevertheless, there is one significant difference that possibly has some effect on all of us, only there I have an uncontrollable love towards my Motherland, only there I feel proud of being Ukrainian, exactly there I painfully would like to be free like a bird. A very known Ukrainian phrase “Slava Ukraini” (Glory to Ukraine) fills my eyes with tears, since I cannot say it aloud because I see young boys’ faces who died fighting for their country. I lose my Kiev balance, strings of my soul are about to break, and I want to be lost and stay between powerful Mountains forever. I would like to hide from political lies and manipulation with people, from ever-lasting fight with pricks of my conscience and adaptation to life, from fear of pessimistic future and foreboding of evil consequences of inconsequent behavior of Ukrainians. I can do it only there but only for a moment…

Road to the Mountains

Carpathian Ukraine is a little island of freedom for me that I need to visit every time I should clear my mind. Every time I am in Western Ukraine I always recall a book written by Miroslav Dochinets, very famous Ukrainian writer. This book impressed me so much that I can read it endlessly and still find something useful. The most impressive is the hero of the book Andriy Voron, who is a 104-years old man with a very bright life that made him a very wisdom man. I wish I could be as wisdom as he is, you can learn a lot from him. Maybe because of it I come back to Carpathians and always discover something new there.

Sunny Mountains

My story about Carpathian Ukraine I would like to divide into small parts, each of which is devoted to separate topic. So, if you do not mind, let’s go for a trip around Carpathian Ukraine…

Up to the Hills