A Small Taste of Ukraine3 mins read
I am embarrassed to say that I hardly knew anything about Europe’s second-biggest country Ukraine before I went there at the end of September. Ethical Travel Portal’s goal is to create a journey for our travellers that are somewhat different and this one was certainly 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 with the Norwegian Bee Association (Norges Birøkterlag). I did not know anything about honey, except 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 Kiev. This was one of the reasons for the group of seventeen to visit Ukraine.
After a cultural welcoming dinner with dance classes and a good night sleep, we left early morning from our Soviet apartment blocks and a rather “grey” Kiev. We met the group at their hotel before heading for Poltava and the 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 on the bus and then woke up 1-2 hours 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 colour. Ready to be harvested. I could only imagine the beauty of these fields in the summer. Millions of suns on earth. Even their flag symbolises 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. In the end, we got pieces of honey, freshly cut off the frame. The homemade beehives were all differently painted as it is believed to guide the different bees to the right one.
All the vegetables and fruits we had at Putivski were from their own farm! I think I tasted the best green apple ever picked from a tree here. Along the roadside, we could also buy mushrooms from the nearby forest. This was “luxury” for me, but in Ukraine, this is a way of living, because there is no other choice for many.
I think we will see a lot of changes in the future in Ukraine, but hopefully, the hospitality and the homemade quality will stay the same. You are welcome to join us on an Ethical Travel Portal experience, for a small taste of Ukraine.
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