Tag Archives: travel

Communist Cruise

Communist Cruise

Given that air travel is the most expensive part of this trip, we try to avoid it as much as possible. Also, we are always on the look out for adventure so we decided to take a ferry to get from Odessa, Ukraine to Georgia. It’s a working ferry: mostly carrying various imports, livestock and vehicles. There is room for some passengers who are mostly truck drivers traveling with their vehicles to Georgia. Clearly, we had to try to get on the boat and experience it for ourselves. Getting on it was an adventure in itself, which Aaron wrote about is his post here.

Check-in
We had to get on the ship the day before we actually sail, which was rather disappointing to us as we spent the 4th of July on the boat docked in Illichivsk port. The tedious process of passing through customs was done in the “hurry up and wait” fashion as we were lead from one boring room to another:
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Forget your stereotypes – Ukraine

Forget your stereotypes – Ukraine

Did you know that I am half Ukrainian? My mother’s family comes from Ukraine so I was happy to travel to her motherland and see this hidden country. This country is overshadowed by the massive neighbor (Russia) and is often forgotten by travelers traveling in Eastern Europe, which is a mistake. Though Ukraine may look, smell and often feel like Russia, it is has a ton to offer such as beautiful churches of Kiev, cobble stone streets lining European L’viv and laid-back mentality of Odessa. Those are the three cities we visited.

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My Russian Soul Woke Up

My Russian Soul Woke Up

It has been quite a while since I’ve been back to my Motherland. The last time I traveled to Russia in 2004. I was young, traveled there with my American high school friend and was staying with Ira, my best friend who lives in St. Petersburg. During the 2004 trip I was very young (19), carefree and relied heavily on Ira to show us around. That trip involved quite a bit of partying as you might imagine given the lower drinking age in Europe.

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Marriage To Go

Marriage To Go

You might be wondering what it would be like to be with your spouse 24/7 and travel full-time. Married or not, you can probably imagine how difficult that could be, given how stressful travel is at times. I have been saying that this trip is a true test of our relationship. Constantly moving around can be frustrating and success of this adventure depends on how well we can work together.

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Eastern European Foods

Eastern European Foods

Eastern European foods we sampled during our trip through Poland, Russia and Ukraine had similar staples: potatoes, bread, butter, mayonnaise, snacks specifically made to go with beer and of course vodka chasers. Poles claim to have invented vodka or wodka (in Polish) as do Russians but Ukrainians have perfected the vodka experience with their best tasting pickles and variety of vodka flavors such as honey with pepper (yikes!). Many sources state that it was my people who produced vodka first in the area of today’s Russia in the late 9th century. However, in accordance with the allegations of many scholars, it had been distilled even earlier in the 8th century in Poland. Whatever :)

We definitely saw many similarities between the three cuisines. For instance, we had meat dumplings in each of these countries.
In Poland you will find the famous pierogi on every corner:
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Discovering Poland

Discovering Poland

To be honest, I wasn’t impressed when I stepped out of the bus in the Warsaw’s city center. I saw many modern buildings with shopping centers around me and a tall soviet era building, the Palace of Culture and Science, which sticks out as a sore thumb and is not very well liked by the locals.

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However, Poland quickly grew on me. Not only because of the beauty of beautiful and quaint “new” old towns of Warsaw and Krakow, but mostly because of the people we met in the country that has had such a rough history.

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