The Angloville program was simply too many shades of incredible. It was definitely one of the most enjoyable weeks of my life. I met so many amazing souls, native speakers and Romanian participants alike. I really want to do another one of these programs, maybe a weekend one when I get to Poland, if I have the time and opportunity. I really recommend Angloville to all native speakers of English who are considering to travel to Europe in the near future. They do English immersion programs nearly all year long for adults, teens, and children in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania. They have recently also started in Ireland, London, as well as Malta. Www.angloville.com for more information and to sign up!
After the program ended, Lindsay, another American participant, and I needed to go to Ukraine. Lindsay lives there and is doing work for Peace Corps and I simply wanted to visit the country. I don’t speak Russian very well or Ukranian at all, so we decided it would be better to go together. One of the Romanian angloville participants, Stefan, lives in Iasi, which is close to the Romanian border with Ukraine, and he graciously agreed to drive Lindsay and I back with him so we could have greater ease in getting to Chernivtsi, Ukraine that evening. He did his research and he was able to find us a late bus to Chernivtsi, leaving from 10pm from Roman, Romania (I love the name!) Roman also happens to be Stefan’s hometown and the city where he grew up, so of course he knows it well, which was a relief for Lindsay and me. So travellers take note. If you wish to go to Ukraine from Romania late, remember this name: AdamTrans. This transport company picks up passengers from Roman, Romania at 10pm and at Suceava, Romania around 12am.
Stefan was such a dear heart. He decided to take us through the scenic route, through the mountains of Romania. The mountains were breathtaking, as you can see below…
Sorry the pictures really don’t do these incredible mountains justice as since I was taking them from a moving car. We crossed the majority of Romania on our trip and we got some see some breathtaking countryside and little villages. What impressed me most about the villages, that lots of people still ride around in horse and carriages, a lot of farmers, etc. It was totally normal to see a horse and rider coming down local roads and sharing the roads with cars. Stefan was surprised when I told him that horses are EXTREMELY expensive to own in America and that practically only the rich owned them, and he just couldn’t understand why that was, as horses are not expensive at all to keep in Romania, especially if one lives in the country. He was telling me also how his grandparents owned horses and many other animals. Mine did as well, but I tried to explain to them how now in the States all these ordinances and such are around now in California that restrict people from keeping farm animals and whatnot in suburbs of cities, and all farming is done pretty much by machines these days. Maybe this is not the case in really rural hole in the wall parts of the US, but most parts.
Stefan took us to the Red Lake, which was amazing and breathtaking. I really wanted to go canoeing but alas, there was no time. As you can see, it was breathtakingly gorgeous!
We also stopped at a famous dam (I forgot the name, please comment if you know it) and took photos, as you can also see, breathtaking views!
It was so sweet of him to go out of his way to show us parts of Romania we would have never seen otherwise. It is a breathtakingly beautiful country that is really underrated, in my opinion. However it is best to go with a guide or a local if you don’t speak the language, which thankfully, in our case, we did. Stefan went out of his way again and stayed with us until our bus came, as he had been speaking to the driver for us to ensure that we would take the right one at the right time. He stayed with us until we were on the bus and on our way.
The ride to the border didn’t take long. Thankfully border crossing was uneventful as well, however I was a bit tense, as it is outside of the EU, and I didn’t know exactly what the procedures would be. But I got my passport stamped with no issues as did everyone else and we were through after about an hour.
We arrived in the city of Chernivtsi at about 3am, and Lindsay and I walked two miles with our baggage to the center because it was early in the morning and I didn’t trust the taxi cabs because many are known to jip foreigners. Lindsay speaks Ukrainian and possibly could pass, but there is no way I could. This melanated skin is too much of a dead giveaway. 😉 Ahh, travelling as a woman of color certaintly can be interesting! Neither of us had never been to the city before so we didn’t want to take our chances on the taxis.
We found our hostel without too much trouble and checked in really early, but the hostel manager was extremely nice about it and wasn’t cross we were so late, or should I say early, and got us beds immediately, where both of us, thoroughly exahausted, fell asleep to recharge our batteries for the next day’s adventures. More to come!
Next entry: Ukraine, part 1!