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Exploring Byzantium
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Discover the culture, history & arts of Western Ukraine
September 7-19, 2010 (12 days)
Cost: $3300 includes airfare

Explore the enchanting world of Ukraine’s forgotten past. Discover layers of history
and culture that lay beneath the veneer of modern-day Ukraine, an independent
country now emerging from the Soviet experience of the 20th century. As Ukrainians
embrace their newfound freedom and self-expression, they reach for an identity rich
in tradition, legend, folk-lore and resilient spirit. Visit ancient the ancient churches,
caves & monasteries of Byzantium; the crumbling castles & fortresses of the medieval
era; see where the fierce Cossacks fought the Ottoman Turks and walk amidst the
mountain enclaves of the Carpathians where the song, music, dance and art of the
Hutsul people have been kept alive for centuries. Experience the charm of old
Eastern Europe in the well-preserved cities of Kiev and Lviv.


Sept. 7, Day 1: Arrive KBP-Borispol airport in Kiev. (Sleep @ hotel in Brovary.)

Sept. 8, Day 2: See the sights of Kiev with an English-speaking guide:  visit Maidan
Nezalejnosti (site of the 2004 Orange Revolution); the ancient Golden Gate of Kiev
and Byzantine cathedrals of St. Sophia, St. Michael & St. Andrew; stroll down
Andriyivsky Uzviz to Podil. Eat at an authentic Ukrainian buffet restaurant. (Drive to
Chernigiv & sleep at a hotel overlooking the Desna River.)

Sept. 9, Day 3: Visit the 1,000-year old churches of Chernigiv, the old fortress “Val”
with 12 cannons to protect the city & Taras Shevchenko statue; then explore St.
Anthony’s caves after pizza lunch. (Drive to the medieval town of Medjibizh & stay in a
4-star hotel.)

Sept. 10, Day 4: Explore the medieval fortress of Medjibizh overlooking Pivdenny
Boog River. Optional visit to Jewish cemetery to see the grave of Hassidic founder Ba’
al Shem Tov. Eat lunch at the hotel restaurant. (Drive to the Gala Hotel in Kamyanets-
Podillski.)

Sept. 11, Day 5: Explore Ukraine’s most scenic city overlooking the river gorge in
Kamyanets-Podillski. Visit the castle/fortress in K-P where the Cossacks, Ottoman
Turks, Poles and Lithuanians all fought for strategic control over the centuries, and
then go on to Hotyn after lunch. Hotyn is the picturesque castle/fortress where
Stephan the Great of the 15th century kingdom of Moldavia once ruled. (Drive to
Vitaly’s B&B in Kolomiya.)

Sept. 12, Day 6: Explore the Carpathian towns of Kosiv (meet local artists) & eat
lunch at a Hutsul-style restaurant by the Prut River in Yaremche. Visit the nearby
handicraft & souvenir market over the river. (Return to Vitaly’s B&B in Kolomiya.)

Sept. 13, Day 7: Go hiking for the day in the majestic Carpathian Mountains and
enjoy breathtaking views every step of the way. Don’t forget your camera! Enjoy
dinner at a lovely restaurant in Sheshori by the waterfalls.  (Return to Vitaly’s B&B in
Kolomiya.)

Sept. 14, Day 8:  After breakfast, see Kolomiya’s unique Pisanki museum of
Ukrainian hand-painted eggs and nearby Hutsul folk arts museum.  (Drive to Hotel
George in Lviv.)

Sept. 15, Day 9: See the sights of Lviv (aka Lemburg) including Old Town, the Opera
House, adjacent crafts market & Polish cemetery — and many churches. Enjoy great
cafés & European-style restaurants in the Paris of Ukraine. (Another night in the Hotel
George.)

Sept. 16, Day 10: Drive to the monastery city of Pochayiv. Explore this exquisite
church complex sacred to the Orthodox faith with its holy icons and the footprint of the
Virgin Mary. (Sleep at a hotel in nearby Kremenets.)

Sept. 17, Day 11:  Hike to the top of Bona Hill in Kremenets to see the old, ruined
fortress & breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside. (Drive to Kiev & stay in
airport hotel.)

Sept. 18, Day 12: Fly home from Kiev or on to your next destination.

Optional trip to Romania: For those wishing to make an extended visit to Romania,
Virginia Lee can arrange tours through a local guide in Suchaeva, the border town
near Chernivtsi, UA. The cost is not included outside Ukraine, but she can
accompany you in exchange for expenses. This extra trip would depart from Lviv (Day
10) for a week.

NOTE:
This itinerary may be adjusted slightly to take advantage of special events that
may occur. No one is obliged to attend any tours, meetings or seminars. However, no
refunds will be made for any missed activities. If you leave the tour at any time, for
any reason, you are own your own.


Trip price includes:
• round-trip flight from SFO San Francisco, CA to KBP Kiev, Ukraine.
• transportation in a private van to destinations in Ukraine.
• accommodations in all locations mentioned.
• meals not included (except where breakfast is provided by hotel or B&B). However,
Ukrainian restaurants are very reasonable by western standards, usually $10/meal
(or less).
• tours with English-speaking guides in Kiev, Chernigov, Medjibizh, Kamyanets-
Podillski, the Carpathians & Lviv.
• a Carpathian Mountain hiking excursion & visit to Hutsul artists’ homes.
• entrance fees to all museums, castles and historical sites mentioned in itinerary.

Not included: Laundry, additional excursions, meals, tips. The trip to Romania is
optional & not included in the basic tour price. However, your guide can accompany
you across the Romanian border & quality excursions in Romania can be arranged
with an English-speaking tour guide based out of Suchaeva.

Trip costs and fees: The tour cost of $3300 is based on two persons sharing a twin-
bedded room with shower, some breakfasts, excursions listed in the itinerary,
seminars, services of Ukrainian translators and US guides, and transportation in
private vehicle in Ukraine.  Those arranging their own air travel can deduct $1000.
Ground-only does not include final airport transfer.

Passport and Visa: A passport valid six months from date of entry to Ukraine.  A 90-
day tourist visa is not required for USA citizens.  No health requirements.

Roommates: Single people may sign up for accommodations desired on a shared
basis and will be assigned a roommate as circumstances permit.  If a roommate is
unavailable, the participant will be notified of the adjusted price for a single
supplement.

Deposit: A $350 deposit, a check made out to Danu Enterprises, is required to make
a booking.  Deposit is fully refundable, minus a $75 cancellation fee until August 1,
when a $100 penalty fee will become attached to all cancellations received in writing.  
Final payments are due by August 15, 2010. Changes in the exchange rate or rise of
gasoline may affect the tour price.  The trip is limited to 12 people.

Accommodations: Generally rooms have two single beds with flush toilets, sinks,
showers, and hot water. Since tourism is developing slowly in the FSU (former Soviet
Union), standards are not as high as in First World western countries. The concept of
customer service is evolving, so please be aware of this if you choose to travel in
Ukraine. The hotels we have chosen have cultural charm and are reasonably priced
to keep the cost of the trip affordable. We have done our best to choose hotels with
some English-speaking staff. (NOTE: The exception is Vitaly’s B&B in Kolomiya, a
comfortable first-world accommodation with home-cooked meals, cable TV & high-
speed internet. We wish all accommodations in Ukraine were like this.)

Food: Most Ukrainian restaurants serve traditional dishes like borscht (vegetable
soup), holubtsi (stuffed cabbage rolls), milintsi (stuffed crepes/pancakes and shashlik
(BBQ marinated meat on skewers). Most salads have mayonnaise and not much in
the way of salad greens, but a good Greek salad has delicious tomatoes, cucumbers,
olives & feta cheese. The beer is delicious, cheap & abundant. And the chocolate is
to die for. Local markets & bazaars are abundant in spring & summer with fresh,
homegrown fruits, vegetables & wild mushrooms. Ukraine is renowned as the
breadbasket of Eastern Europe & food is relatively inexpensive. Some good ethnic
restaurants & cafés can be found in the cities: Italian, Georgian, Crimean, Middle
Eastern & European. You can even find sushi in some places & good seafood is
available due to the proximity of the Black Sea.

Weather: September is a beautiful month to visit Ukraine. The weather is very
pleasant. It may rain but can also be warm & sunny, so come prepared. We visit after
the busy summer tourist season, so sites are not as crowded. Arts and crafts are still
available in local markets & bazaars, especially in western Ukraine.

Tour organizer/leader: Your guide is Virginia Lee, who served with Peace Corps in
Ukraine from 2007-09 and is eager to share her both her appreciation of Ukrainian
culture, as well as her network of Ukrainian allies, guides and translators (affiliated
with the Ukrainian Heritage Foundation: http://ukrainianheritagefound.com) who will
make sure your experience is beyond what you could do by yourself. Don’t miss this
unique opportunity, especially if you are of Ukrainian ancestry.