I (Miriam Jøms) am embarrassed to tell that I hardly knew anything about Europe's second biggest country Ukraine, before I went there at the end of September. Ethical Travel Portals goal is to create a journey for our travelers that are some kind of different, and I can make you sure that this one was an experience!
I started to work for Ethical Travel Portal this summer, and was excited to get the opportunity to experience Ukraine. Part of this trip was also together with the Norwegian Bee Association (Norges Birøkterlag). I did not know anything about honey, except from the most usual things to know; that it comes from the bees and sweetening your tea! Ukraine has long traditions in the field of beekeeping, and this year they were even hosting the world congress of beekeeping, Apimondia 2013, in their capital Kiev which was one reason for the group of seventeen to visit Ukraine.
After a cultural welcoming dinner with danceclasses and a good night sleep, we left early morning the Sovjet apartment blocks and a rather "grey" Kiev. We met the group at their hotel before heading for Poltava and Putivski beehive farm. The drive took almost 5 hours, and introduced us to the majestic agricultural production of Ukraine; a country known as Europe’s granary. If you happened to fall asleep at the bus, and then woke up 1/2 hour later, you would get the feeling that the bus had been standing still. It seemed to me like exactly the same place as before.
Sunflower fields meeting the horizon, dark brown in color. Ready to be harvested. I just imagine the beauty of these fields in the summer. Millions of suns on Earth. Even their flag symbolize this; clear blue at the upper part and yellow at the bottom. This symbolizes the skyline and the granary. Peace and wealth.
The production of honey at Putivski beehive farm was also impressing, according to the Norwegian bee farmers. We all got to experience the Ukrainian hospitality with a huge traditional lunch specially made for us with more than 10 different dishes like meat, fish, salad, and vegetarian options.
Wine with honey, juice made of dried fruits, and vodka, of course. At the end we got pieces of honey, freshly cut off the frame. The homemade beehives were all different painted as it is believed to guide the different bees to the right one.
I think we will see a lot of changes in the future in Ukraine, but hopefully will the hospitality and the homemade quality stay the same. You are welcome to join us on an Ethical Travel Portal experience, for å small taste of Ukraine.
- Miriam Jøms, in Ukraine