Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Chernivitsi – Khotyn – Kamyanets Podilsky – Chernivitsi
Markus is taking us on a day trip to Khotyn and Kamyanets Podilsky but instead of leaving at 10am, last night’s party dictates it is an early afternoon start.
The roads in this part of Ukraine are absolutely shocking. You feel like you are taking your life in your hands driving amongst the trucks, Ladas and pot holes. Our first stop is at the amazing fortress at Khotyn. The fortress dates back to the 10th century and functioned as a border fortification for Kievan Rus. Much of the ‘perfect’ fortress you see today dates to thirteenth century construction and even repelled a 100,000 strong army lead by the Turkish sultan in the seventeenth century.
Today, the fortress is used in many movies although tourist numbers are still pitifully low.
After enjoying the delights of Khotyn, Markus maneuvers his way through the wacky racers to Kamyanets Podilsky – surely one of the most incredible medieval sites in all of Europe. Kamyanets deserves a book to describe its sublime qualities but keeping it simple if you visit Ukraine you must visit this incredible town. As well as its picture-perfect castle, KP is home to a remarkable old town, a stunning canyon and enough historical buildings and deserted cobbled streets to keep any tourist purring for a couple of days. Where else in the world would you expect to find a catholic church with a Muslim minaret attached to it and a statue of the Virgin Mary on top?
It is another heart-in-the-mouth drive back to Chernivitsi where we meet up with our friends from the previous evening for tonight’s matches. We end the night at a club called Egoist Palace which, as you might expect from the name, is full of super models and rich gangsters. We feel a very long way away from Euro 2012 here.