Ukraine isn't considered a tourist hot spot by most holiday makers. It's such a shame because it really does have a lot to offer. The country side is littered with stunning Byzantine and medieval castles, Renaissance Baroque style churches and impressive fortresses and monasteries resembling castles as well as some Soviet architecture. Oh and some very special people.
My great-grandfather emigrated from Ukraine to America in 1917 and last month I was lucky enough to visit my third cousins for the second time in 15 years. In those 15 years Ukraine has now become more westernised with billboards seemingly everywhere, advertising everything from McDonald's to car washes manned by skimpily clad girls. In the cities my relatives are very European but in the villages my gorgeous relatives still travel by horse and cart, grow all their own produce and what they don't grow they barter for with their neighbours.
I'm sure its a hard life at times but staying with them was a much needed reality check of the simple life. The produce was the freshest I've ever tasted and they treated me to one of their yummy lunches; roast meats, potatoes, dumplings, cabbage rolls, salads picked straight from the garden, cold meats, cheeses and freshly baked rolls. Mmmm mmm!
It had been 15 years since I last saw the Mushchenko clan. I would be happy to choose them as friends and feel very honoured to call them family. Nasdrovie!