Travel Letters

Uzhhorod: "Border Town"

Uzhhorod

Transcarpathia

Ukraine

June 14, 2018

 

Hello,

Can you imagine? 

At a Philharmonia concert last night, the local orchestra played two of my favorite pieces: the complete incidental music to Midsummer Night’s Dream Op.61 by Felix Mendelssohn and after a brief intermission Anastasia Dziciak, a young Ukrainian pianist, performed the Piano Concerto in A minor Op.16 by Edvard Grieg.  The price of admission was 50 Hryvnia (gryvna), or about $2.00 US!

The magnificent Philharmonia with its carved Moorish style façade is certainly the most impressive edifice in Uzhhorod.  It lies in Theatric Square.  Built in 1904, Philharmonia began life as the Uzhhorod Synagogue!  Before World War Two, 85,000 Jews lived in the area.

Delightful Afternoon in "Pakistan"

Bangkok

Thailand

Sunday

July 15, 2018

 

Hello,

I had the most delightful afternoon at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.  I attended the “Pakistan Single Country Exhibition.”

My goal was to obtain tourist information.  I had heard excellent stories from a group of German motorcyclists who I met last year in Tashkurgan, Xinjiang Province, China near the Pakistan border.  I had traveled from Kashgar through some spectacular mountain scenery.   Apparently, to the west, the Karakorum Highway in Pakistan is even more spectacular.

At the exhibit today, I did find a few brochures about the mountain and lake regions of Pakistan.  But the convention center had exhibitors from a variety of other businesses: Rock Salt Products, Marble and Onyx, Wooden Furniture, Rugs, Gems and Jewelry, Garments and Textiles, Agro Foods, Brass Artifacts, Cutlery, Surgical Instruments, Sports Goods, Leather, Fishery, Pipe and Steel, Handicrafts, and of course, a Food Court.

L'viv: My Guide Nataliya

L'viv

pop 728,350

Ukraine

June 10. 2018

 

Nataliya is my excellent, imformative and gracious guide here in L'viv.

We wander together in the City Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and then climb the hill for a panoramic view.

I am intrigued by an image of Christ atop the old Chapel of Boim. The figure is seated in a thoughtful pose that reminds me of "The Thinker," the Auguste Rodin sculpture.  Is there any connection between the two?

I am especially saddened at the site and the ruins of the Golden Rose Synagogue.  Also known as the Nachmanowicz Synagogue, it was the oldest Jewish place of worship in Ukraine.  The synagogue was built in 1582 and was destroyed by the Nazis 1942.

L'viv: Morning Glow - Evening Shadows

L’viv

Ukraine

June 8, 2018

The long history of L’viv is complicated and bloody.

Settled as early as the 5th Century, L’viv has been invaded and occupied and settled by Tartars, Poles, Swedes, Hungarians, Turks, Austrians, Czechs, Germans and Russians.  Before the War, Jews made up 30% of the local population.

The varied cultures have left their mark on this now colorful and photogenic city.

Kiev: Andriyivsky Uzviz

Andriyivsky Uzviz*

Kiev - Kyiv

Ukraine

June 5, 2018

 

Once again, I climb the hill behind the Gintama Hotel towards Sophia Plaza and this time I wander down another steep cobbled street-  *“Andrew’s Descent” - towards the Podil district.

Modern sculptures and murals adorn the quaint buildings. 

St. Andrew’s Church (1754) is one of the highlights on this excursion.  This stunning gold and blue traditional five-domed church was built by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli who also designed the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. 

Kiev: Two (Incorrect) Assumptions

Kiev or Kyiv

Київ - Ukrainian

Киев - Russian

pop 2,900,000

Ukraine - Україна

June 2, 2018

 

Kiev is a big city.  Come stroll with me.  Hike, actually.

On my first day, from the Gallery Gintama Hotel, I climb up the steep hill towards the enormous, gold-domed, blue St. Michael’s Monastery.

In St. Sophia Square I spot a monument to Princess Olga, a demure wife and mother who became a vicious and vengeful ruler.  Nearby, a monument to Bohdan Khmelinytsky dominates the square - a hero to many and a prejudiced and bloody villian to others. 

In the square, I chance upon a large demonstration.  Many children are in attendance along with their parents, grandparents and clergy.   What is the occasion?

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