08/03/2013 - 08/13/2013
by kuba10


DAY 1 - travel by train from Prague to Kosice

DAY 2 - travel by train from Kosice to Michalovce and by bus from Michalovce to Uzhgorod

DAY 3 - Uzhgorod, Volovets, Polonina Borzava

Day 4 - Polonina Borzava - Temnatyk (1 344 metres) - Plai (1 323 metres) - Velikij Verch (1 598 metres)

DAY 5 - Sinevirska Poljana, Lake Sinevir

DAY 6 - Kolochava

DAY 7 - Kolochava, Solotvyno

DAY 8 - Yasinia

DAY 9 - hike to Hoverla (2 061 metres)

DAY 10 - travel from Yasinia to Uzhgorod

DAY 11 - travel by bus from Uzhgorod to Michalovce, by train from Michalovce to Kosice and from Kosice to Prague

DAY 1-2 - Uzhgorod

It was a long way from Prague to Ukraine. We decided to take a train with sleeping car from Prague to Slovakian city Kosice, then from Kosice to Michalovce. From Michalovce we took a bus that took us through border to capital city of Carpatho-Ukraine Uzhgorod.

DAY 3 - Uzhgorod, Volovets, Polonina Borzava

As almost every city or village in Carpatho-Ukraine Uzhgorod is not meant for sightseeing. You can smell on every corner how poor is this part of Ukraine. We went to see old fortress that was actually not very interesting.

We didn't want to spend more time than necessary and went straight to bus station and took a bus to village Volovets. That was start of our hike to first Ukrainian mountains called Polonina Borzava. We took the route to mountain Temnatyk and slept under sky full of stars behind the village.

DAY 4 - Polonina Borzava - Temnatyk (1 344 metres) - Plai (1 323 metres) - Velikij Verch (1 598 metres)

Next day we started to hike up until we arrived to mountain Temnatyk (1 344 metres). It means something like dark mountain in English. But it wasn't dark at all. Sky was clear and it was hot as hell especially with our heavy bags.

We had amazing view of whole Polonina Borzava. We continued to mountain Plai  (1 323 metres) and then to the highest mountain of side ridge of Polonina Borzava Velikij Verch (1 598 metres). It was nice hike because we met only couple of locals that had some kind of party up there.

DAY 5 - Sinevirska Poljana, Lake Sinevir

We had to descend from our camping site to village Pilipets. We were hitch-hiking to Sinevir National Park. When we arrived to village called Sinevirska Poljana it didn't take long time until we found some accommodation.

Sinevirska Poljana is the best base camp for exploring Lake Sinevir. It is actually very nice village with number of renovated wooden houses. It has some nice restaurants. It is valid statement for whole Carpatho-Ukraine, food is very good almost everywhere you go. You should taste especially shashlik that is skewered meat or varenyky (filled pasta doughs). And drink it with Ukrainian vodka of course.

Lake Sinevir is beautiful lake situated in 989 metres above sea level and surrounded by deep forest. You can even take a raft ride on the lake if you wish. There is also nice walking path around the lake.

DAY 6 - Kolochava

Kolochava is small village known especially as birthplace of highwayman Nikola Suhaj, hero of novel of Czech storyteller Ivan Olbracht. So this place is very connected to Czech history.

All Carpatho-Ukraine was part of former Czechoslovakia and old people still remember these times as one of the best in their history. They finally felt like belonging somewhere, because Carpatho-Ukraine is region that countries around were playing with like hot potato. Ukrainian men often work in the Czech Republic, so they often understand and can speak Czech language.

To sum up Kolochava is place where Ukrainian and Czech history meets. You can find there Czech school, memorial of Czech writer Ivan Olbracht, grave of Nikola Suhaj, policeman station pub or several museums.

DAY 7 - Kolochava, Solotvyno

We said goodbye to fellow owner of policeman station pub in the morning and went south to border with Romania. There lies Solotvyno. The village's name comes from the nearby salt mine. Water from salt mine is gathered in several salt lakes. The recreational area with discos and restaurants is built around the lakes. All in Ukrainian style..

We were enjoying salt water and I accidently took a sip of it. Later on I realized it had very bad consequences..

DAY 8 - Yasinia

Next morning I didn't feel really good. We had to move from Solotvyno to Yasinia. It was quite a long way by bus. We needed to change bus in Rakhiv.

Yasinia is starting point when you want to climb the highest mountain of Ukraine Hoverla. We needed to ascend a little bit to our accommodation nice log cabin in Kozmescik.

Weather was getting worse and we met local old man who told us that tomorrow would have been "dark day". He couldn't be more right.

I was feeling very bad and was weak so we stopped passing jeep that helped us in our way. When we arrived to log cabin I went to bed immediately. Unfortunately my friends were not feeling good either.

DAY 9 - hike to Hoverla (2 061 metres)

When we woke up next morning after night spent throwing up, we decided to go back to Yasinia. We walked hundreds of metres and were talking to each other that it would have been shame not to try to climb Hoverla (2 061 metres). So we turned back to Kozmescik, left there our heavy luggage and our friend who didn't feel strong enough for the hike and start climbing.

It would not have been difficult hike, but in our condition it was quite demanding. We reached the top right before storm came. We had to run down from the main ridge, because it was very dangerous to stay there. Luckily we escaped with no harm and safely returned back to Kozmescik where our friend was waiting for us. It was "dark day" indeed.

DAY 10-11 - travel from Yasinia to Uzhgorod and from Uzhgorod to Prague

This day we needed to get back to Yasinia and then by bus to Uzhgorod. We spent almost all day travelling. When we arrived to Uzhgorod we wanted to cross border to Slovakia, but I realized someone stole my passport and mobile phone at the bus station in Uzhgorod. So we went to police station, they gave me some protocol of stolen passport and told me I should be fine with this protocol and my Czech ID card. But I wasn't. They didn't let me cross border to Slovakia, so we had to spend one more night in Uzhgorod.

Next morning I went to Slovakian embassy in Uzhgorod, they gave me travel document that I am member of European Union and fortunately this time they let me cross the border. It was very good practice how to handle stressful situations. The trip to Ukraine had a lot of ups and downs and it will definitely be remembered.

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