Ketchup: On the Weekend of Castles

You know how sometimes your favorite red condiment stubbornly refuses to come out of the bottle onto your burger or dog? You shake it, you use a knife to move it along, you shake it some more, you squeeze the heck out of it, only to get a very unsatisfactory "sphflllttt!" and a few little red splatters? So you repeat the process and then almost without warning, "PLOP!" an enormous blop, enough for two burgers and three dogs, lands on your plate and probably a bit down the front of your shirt. Yeah? Well, welcome to my blog today. And bear with me...this is Ketchup Post Three (of Four).

We went to Kamanyets Podilsky the first weekend in May - David had a four day weekend for a Ukrainian holiday. We actually stayed in Khmelnitsky and took a couple day trips from there. The towns and places we saw are very close to the border of Ukraine near Romania and Moldova, about a six hour drive from Kiev.

One of my favorite things was seeing the countryside, farms, villages, fields, the slower and more simple life, a part of life that is so much less ostentatious than Kiev.

We spent one day at Kamanyets Podilsky and nearby Khotin, both fortresses that were part of the medieval protection against Turkish slave raids about 900 years ago. We also learned of a really amazing battle that took place at the fortress involving elephants and camels. The boys were enthralled with the walls and hills, the giant well in the center of the fortress, and of course the dungeons. My leg muscles have been very crampy (I know, eat more bananas) and the heights and precarious ladders made me feel like something or someone was going to fall out, so I waited a lot while the boys ventured up, down, through and around. Still, it was great.

Our second day was spent at the little village of Medzibizh, a historic Jewish settlement that is where the founder of Hasidism lived most of his life. The village was exterminated by the Nazis in World War II and there are only two Jewish families left in the whole town now, but there is a synogogue where many Jews make pilgrimages to every year. There are also ruins of a 700 year old synogogue there as well that are now part of a fire station. The most fascinating thing about the town, though, were its old Jewish cemeteries. They date back to the 16th century.

We also had a wonderful time stumbling upon ruins of old churches - some Catholic, some Russian Orthodox, all of them hundreds of years old. I loved the flowers growing through rocks and touching the stone, marveling at the patterns in the brick and how amazingly thick the walls were.

Overall, it was wonderful to be in open space. The boys could climb and explore to their heart's content - nothing is off limits. I could have wished for more things to be labeled and explained (I am so spoiled by the Smithsonian museums!), but it was also just fascinating to stand in buildings that have stood there for almost a thousand years.

Here are a few pictures from our adventures...(Sorry I'm not labeling and describing them in detail,and they are in mixed up order. I just want to post and be done! Hope you enjoy anyway.)

1 comment:

Sir Nottaguy-Imadad said...

I have always loved castles. The romantic ideas I have of them are soon squashed by the practical side of me that reminds me that the upkeep and heating bills would be outragous.