Vincent Rees, our Founder and “Explorer in Residence”, recently travelled to Ukraine, to reconnect with the country, and with all the people and places that make our tours as unique and special as they are!
Let’s see some of the highlights of his trip!
“I started my journey in the ancient capital of Ukraine – Kyiv!
This was a great place to connect with friends – old and new, and share a song or two! Here’s a clip from a boat trip we took down the Dnipro river, with the folk group Rozhanytsia, who sang us melodies as we sailed past the beautiful scenery.
Kyiv has so many interesting restaurants, but one of my favourites is “Ostannaya Barricada”, or “The Last Barricade”. Tucked away right underneath Kyiv’s main square, it stands on the site of the old city fortifications of Kyiv, which withstood the Mongol siege in 1240.
To enter, you need to find a secret door and say the password, but once you do – there are wonders to behold!
Not only is the food 100% local and Ukrainian, this restaurant is part museum, and tells the story of Ukraine’s revolutions and its fight for freedom.
Speaking of which – I made it to Ukraine just in time for Ukrainian Independence day on August 24th. This year marks 30 years of independence, a momentous occasion and a huge celebration in Ukraine.
An official parade was held on Khreshchatyk in the morning, after which we visited a festival at Pyrohovo folk museum, which showcased all the regions of Ukraine and their uniqueness!
I also took a trip to the ghost town of Chornobyl while I was in Kyiv…
But that’s another story! More on that later 😉
That was enough for Kyiv, I headed out of the city and up, up, up into the Carpathian Mountains!
I had the lucky opportunity to go rafting on the Cheremosh river!
It was an awesome experience – and I love finding new opportunities for our travellers to enjoy Ukraine!
We got immersed in Hutsul Culture – picking mushrooms, eating bohrach and shopping at the Kosiv Bazar!
The biggest highlight of my time in the Carpathian Mountains was visiting the school in Bukovets, which we support through the Cobblestone Freeway Foundation. We had the chance to deliver some computers and laptops which we had gathered during the pandemic – stay tuned for an update on this coming soon!
Reconnecting with old friends was just the best. We value our relationships in Ukraine so much and are so glad we can give something back.
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Off out of the Carpathian mountains and on to my favourite city in Ukraine – Lviv! Of course we toasted our return with a classic – Pyana Vyshnia!
Looking for more exciting experiences for our tourists to explore in Ukraine, I took a bike tour through the countryside outside of Lviv. For those of you don’t know – I am an avid cyclist, and I have long had a dream of creating a cycling tour in Ukraine. One day!
We rode out to Svirzh Castle, then we carried on for a local “eco” experience in a nearby village, where we stopped for a wine tasting of locally made raspberry wine. Absolutely delicious!
It was so great to be back in Lviv and to be back with the team.
We really are one big Cobblestone family!
I was sad to leave Ukraine. The warmth and generosity of the team, old friends, and all the people I met along the way reaffirmed my excitement to “Share Ukraine with the World”, and make sure that everyone’s travel experience to Ukraine is second to none.
That’s all from me. I look forward to seeing you on the Cobblestone Freeway soon!