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Турка-жемчужина Карпат ** Turka-the pearl of the Carpathians         В Турці

Статті про м.Турка та наш бойківський край

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Turka, foothills of the Carpathian Mountains

The view of Turka and the surrounding region
from Mount Baldy.

З щоденника журналіста з Північного Ілінойса (США) Майкла Рудзінського про його відвідини Турки. Цей візит залишив незабутні враження від краси нашого краю та гостинності людей. Особливі враження від 3-годинної поїздки в переповненій маршрутці Львів-Турка з домашньою ковбасою в кишені. Переклад ,особливо такого емоційного твору, завжди недосконалий. Тому подаю матеріал мовою оригінала.[admin]


I HAVE COUSINS HERE?

My dad and grandmother arrived in L'viv yesterday around 4 pm. It's the first time in 65 years that my grandmother has been to the city, she left in 1943 when she was 13 years old, fleeing the communists with her family. She spent


Brett and Yura discuss the finer points of
Ukrainian beer from the top of Bald Mountain
as they pause for rest
the next 5 years in Germany in a hard labor camp for displaced persons with mostly poles, where she met and married my polish grandfather(who died in 1994), who was a United States citizen. They moved to the United States in 1949 when she was 18, and had my dad in 1955.

Now, all three generations have returned to L'viv for a whirlwind tour. I'm a bit surprised. She seems disappointed that the city hasn't been repaired and in denial about it living under communism(hence the lack of renovation) for nearly 40 years. Of course it's run-down. The trip has not been without twists either. Before I left for Ukraine, I asked her, point blank, if we had any relatives.

—Yes, but I don't know where they are, Michael,— she said.


Brett and Yura climb a hill in search of wild
blackberries to eat

—I don't talk to them. Besides, you don't want to meet them.

Yeah, why would I want to meet long-lost relatives that I've never seen before and might have family history? Why the hell would I come to the old Soviet Union, to corrupt, dilapidated, dirty Ukraine and learn a language that is completely impractical in my future life and try to reconnect with my family roots? Doesn't have anything to do with you, Grandma.

We arrived in the hotel, and after resolving the taxi issue, a scheduling conflict with the front desk and finally settling down in the room, she asks for my phone.

—Why do you need my cell phone?

—To call my cousin, I'm going to visit her.

—I HAVE UKRAINIAN COUSINS?

Ukrainian Village Life: you gonna eat that fungus?


One of four dogs that came out to harass us on
our way into the bush

With a severe case of the numb-butt, I stumbled from the lemon-yellow mashrutka bus to find a smiling young man with shaggy hair and a bicycle grinning at me. The three and a half hour ride from L'viv to Turka in a vehicle designed only for short distance(30 minute) trips meant no sleep, no lights or reading, and no food except for the greasy, smoked kovbasa domashna(home sausage) I stuffed in my pocket before we hopped on. I spit the processed bones and un-chewable parts out on the floor, but couldn't stifle the stench of greasy sausage seeping from my pocket.

The guy with the bike was Yura, our host who was picking us up, which I assumed meant a car. That's what you pick people up in, cars. But this is Ukraine, and we walked


Sasha Yasinsky and Brett McCaw eat breakfast
at the Yasinsky home in Turka, Ukraine
on October 18th, 2008
the mile or so back to Yura's home using his bike light. Brett's friend Sasha, a student at the L'viv Polytechnic University and one of the most humble, generous and gentle people I have ever met, was putting us up for the weekend in Turka, a small village on the Ukrainian border. The "Carpati," or Carpathian Mountains, are revered by everyone in this region, both for the identity, beauty and culture they provide, and because UPA(the Ukrainian resistance movement of WWII) operated in the Carpati. The Carpati form the wildest region of western Ukraine and the heart of village life.

I soon realized that everyone in Turka owns one of those dogs that never shuts up. We climbed a muddy hill till we reached Yura's gravel road, and were immediately


Yuri Yasinsky with his siamese cat
introduced to Sam, the family german shepherd. I wanted to pet Sam, as I haven't petted many dogs since leaving the states and I miss my dog, but sensed the cuddly guy was more interested in chewing my hand off than in affection.

Sasha and Yura live with their mother on a hill overlooking the city of 10,000 at the foot of Mount Baldy and several other small Carpathian mountains. I admit, my stereotype of 'village life' included toothless neighbors chewing on bones, an anti-indoor plumbing epidemic, and huts made of twigs and mud. I was only right about the outhouses.

The family we stayed with was delightful. This was, by far, one of my most rewarding cultural experiences as I got to experience Ukrainian culture firsthand from a good family. They took us in as their own and immediately made us at home. Not wanting to impose, Brett and I had brought enough food to feed us for the weekend; we were expecting to camp out. Within 15 minutes of walking in the door, we were seated in a warm kitchen, tea made from freshly picked leaves in hand, stuffing ourselves with fish soup, a warm mushroom sauce, bread and cheese.


An outhouse in Turka

We were given our own room and beds, and were invited to take more clothes to keep us warm. My only complaint was the outhouse, something I hadn't the pleasure of using since my boy scout days. Luckily, Sasha escorted us outside to let us 'do our business' and held Sam back as we took turns going inside a 5'x5' wooden stall with a tin roof. The terrible stench of latrine smacked me across the face as I realized there wasn't a hole in the ground, it was really a pot. This thing had to be filled, then pulled out by hand and trucked away to God-knows-where. I've been through much worse in the toilet department, and after my gag reflex I felt a little more comfortable.

We were awoken in the morning to Sasha's mother cooking a full breakfast for


Panorama of the countryside around Turka(Best viewed large)
us and their siamese cats rubbing against our bare legs. Although it lacked indoor plumbing, the house was surprisingly cozy and warm, and felt like more like a Swiss chalet to me than a village home. There was running water and a modern kitchen, and I sympathized with Yura when he spent the next morning deleting viruses from his computer. He made it a point to show us the best spots on the mountain to play paintball.

Yura at 8 am on October 19th, as we descend
Bald Mountain

I don't usually eat meat, rice, cheese and mushrooms for breakfast, but I would eat anything Sasha's mother put in front of me after that weekend. And the best tea, I learned, is picked fresh from the mountains, boiled, mixed with a scoop of sugar and wild blueberries which are stirred in as sweetener.

Something Ukrainians have taught me is that the human spirit has an incredible ability to overcome adversity. The dilapidated infrastructure of Ukraine, leftover from the Soviets, has left the roads in terrible condition, houses full of failing Russian wiring and centralized heating(which has to be turned on by the city at a specified date), pollution and people with little faith in their government. Yet life still flourishes and people still find ways to be happy in the everyday. Villagers, by far, are some of the happiest and most at peace people I have ever met. The know the meaning of a life well lived.

Turka, foothills of the Carpathian Mountains


Star trail exposures taken on
top of Mount Baldy in Turka,
Ukraine on the Polish border.

I swear I'm sitting in someone else's spit, but in the freezing wind on top of this mountain, I don't really care. Puffing my cuban, I force my icy hand through 7 layers of clothing and light a match inside the tupperware container I use to transport cigars. Yura takes his first-ever puff of a cigar, and in the near pitch-blackness of the Ukrainian night, over the howl of inhumanely icy wind, I swear I can hear him smile.

—Dobry,—he say, his face glowing orange with each puff.

Hearing my camera click as the shutter ends another time exposure, I roll back and press the shutter release. I'm trying to nail the star trails on my left, but the men are getting restless in this terrible cold.

—We go sleep now?—Yura suggests for the fifth time.

Yura, a diminutive(nickname) form of Yuri(Ukrainian for "George"), came grappling up the mountain with a machete he must have borrowed from Rambo(he actually made it himself, which made me even more afraid of him), full camouflage, two sleeping bags, pork fat and potatoes in a tiny sack. Brett and I, being Americans, weren't going to put up with any of this 'amateur' B.S. No, no.

In addition to my 20 pounds of camera gear(body, 2 lenses, flash, video camera, tripod and tripod head), we managed to pack enough clothing for a week, a pot, food for 4 days(we stayed for 1 night in the woods), a frisbee, sleeping bag, hand sanitizer and three cuban cigars. I can hear my scoutmaster saying "be prepared," and "laugh and scratch," his unique term for "goofing around." Laughin' and scratchin' was exactly what we did around the fire when Yura's brother Sasha arrived. Sasha brought a bottle of wine and promptly announced he was going to boil its contents. OK, Sasha, I just digested half a pound of pork fat. You do what you want.

I'm alive! Believe it or not, and in Turka for the weekend. Ukraine is great

Salo, or raw pork fat, is often cooked over an open flame and eaten on bread with onion, cheese or garlic. Ukrainians also add it to dishes like potatoes and it is popular in the Carpathian mountains

They cook the wine with cinnamon and squeeze an orange into the pot. The spicy, aromatic liquid that came rushing over my tongue a moment later like a pack of wolves redefined my reasons for coming to Ukraine. It was possibly one of the most thrilling things I have ever tasted, best described as a liquid form of Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, cranberries and jello mixed with real eggnog on a Christmas morning.

Insides burning from the hot wine, I curl up in a wheel rut and flatten out on the ground to hide from the wind. I'm surprisingly warm, and although Sasha reiterated that he'd prefer we come down the mountain and stay another night in their house, we stubbornly stick to our mountain defenses. The tent we have is only for two people, and we learned later that night why they don't usually squeeze 3 people into a two-man tent. I never thought spooning could be considered a survival method.

Taking full advantage of the crystal clear, moonless night on top of a mountain, I reach over to the camera and click the shutter again. I pray the wind won't shake the camera, and roll into a ball. Sure is cold.

Leaves and Berries
1.Delicious blackberries picked on Bald Mountain in the Carpathian Mountains outside of Turka, Ukraine on October 18th, 2008
2. Blackberries and many fruits are readily available and easy to pick, but you have to know what you're eating. Some are best for teas and boiled, while others are safe to eat right away.
3. Juniper Berries



—Edible?—I asked Yura. He picked a small
piece off the stalk and put it on his tongue after
smelling the fungus thoroughly.

—Ta, Edible. But not very good,—he said, before
tossing my precious mushroom into the forest,
where it shattered into a million pieces over a log

—Can I eat this?— I said, holding up a red, diamond-shaped berry.

He chatters something in ukrainian at Brett, and eventually I get "nie recomenducja" out of his slur. Brett nods and confirms:

—Sure, but I told you so.

I bite in anyway, and Yura was right, it is bitter, dry and falls apart in my mouth as if I had bitten into a packet of flour.

Using the forest as your grocery store is a practicality that takes some getting used to. I love eating out of the woods, it's the closest thing to childhood. My teeth stained purple by blackberries, I bite into another mountain fruit Yura has selected: a red, orb-like berry bunch that he says goes well in "Chai," Ukrainian for "tea." No Starbucks here. It pulls my lips into a pucker faster than a lemon, and I spit out the pit and skin on the ground.


These red berries are the first ones described
below. They have a hard outer shell and are ripe
in autumn.

Near the peak of the cliff, Yura explains that the next delicacy is quite expensive in stores. Brett and I recognize the pea-sized, stiff, purplish balls to be juniper berries. The juniper branches are prickly and sting in the cold, but it's worth a handful. Yura slaps his stomach and explains in Ukrainian that these are good for your liver. Don't eat too much, they'll make you sick.

Along the same path, Brett and I gorge ourselves on blackberries, push a dead tree down for firewood, and find a giant mushroom. While hauling the wood back to camp, a local man comes running up the mountain and jogs past us. We realize he's hiding an 8-inch Bowie knife look-a-like in his right hand as he runs past. Yura's machete, which looks more like a scimitar, is home-made and gruesome, but our only defense in case the mountain man has seen Deliverance. Yura hold up the blade handle and laughs, he shattered the blade on a tree stump. I munch some juniper berries and hope the wolves find us before the locals do.

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Категорія: Статті | Додав: Admin (01.05.2010)
Переглядів: 1451 | Коментарі: 1 | Рейтинг: 4.0/1
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1 umka   (18.05.2010 20:04)
im not spiks inglish sad

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