Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sundays In My City #4

Do you know Unknown Mami? She's awesome and she's started a fun Sunday theme inviting you to get out and take pictures of your city to share with the rest of us. Click here for details and her logo and here to see Unknown Mami's city.

Last October, 2008, my husband and I made a trip to Poland and Ukraine. We spent time in the small, very rural, village community of Klesov in northern Ukraine. This sign translates to the "Community of Klesov" with a population of about 125. It is different from the "Town of Klesov" which has a population of about 500.


As we drove, we knew we were approaching new villages and towns because not only did they all have signs like the above photo, they also have huge crosses like this one below at the village line. Each cross had a combination of plastic and fresh flowers displayed. All were perfectly and thoughtfully maintained.

This is what the village of Klesov looks like from a distance-- Quaint and charming with all the bright colors. The blue and gold colors often seen are the same colors in the current Ukraine flag. The village was two blocks long with about 35 houses in all.
The houses were all small, mostly one room built around a large fireplace. None had running water or indoor plumbing. Only a very few had electricity. All had good sized gardens and many had animals-- chicken, goats, sheep and cows-- roaming freely.

The wood to build the houses came from the forest about 1/4 mile away.

Although we saw a few late model automobiles, this was the most common mode of transportation along with bicycles. The village's street was part pavement, part dirt.

Laundry hung in every yard. We can see the wash basins and knew it was a big job!


The village people were friendly. Most were older, in their 70s and 80s. The woman below is 74 years old. She followed us everywhere chattering away in Ukrainian. We had no idea what she was saying most of the time but she was happy to show us around.

We saw a few kids too. Red leather boots and jackets are very popular in Ukraine. We got the feeling the kids watched a lot of American television circa 1980.

In all honesty, it was a surprise for me to see such a rural village in 2008 without the modern conveniences I take for granted in Los Angeles. The village elders have lived in their houses since they were born. Although there are more modern towns close by, and electricity was available to all, they were perfectly content living in the village the way they always have.

Have you traveled to a place that surprised you?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna

46 comments:

Ekanthapadhikan said...

That really is a quint, pristine little town. And the portrait of that old lady is really good.

Frau said...

Beautiful tour, now living in Germany it's amazing all the modern conveniences you live without compared to USA. Not quite that drastic as that village. Love the pictures.

My name is PJ. said...

Loved the travelogue! I still can't get over the pretty colors painted on the houses!

The most surprising place I've been in a long while is "Second Life". Someone toured me through a bit of it this past week and I couldn't get over how well detailed that world is. Literally, you're only limited by your imagination and the amount of 'lindens' (Second Life money) you have.

angelcel said...

I love the brightly coloured houses, and the ironwork on that gate in the last shot. If we painted our house like this I suspect we'd get a few laughs and I often wonder why it's acceptable elsewhere but not here. It would certainly make the grey winters a little cheerier. :)

Cathy Clementz said...

What a trip!! I love those photos and the little houses all with different colors. I have been some place that surprised me but it wasn't out of our country!

Betty said...

I always wonder about people who live in such little homes for so long. Are they so poor they can´t afford anything else, or do they just not like change.
This was very interesting and I enjoyed this "tour" very much!

Brian Miller said...

i imagine life in the village to be pretty simple and they probably do not miss what they do not have...i would probably miss my internet connection, but the simplicity does call out to me...

Otin said...

You say that this was where? Tick Bite, North Carolina? (Tick Bite is an actual town here) LMAO!

smiles4u said...

While I do like my modern conveniences such as electricity with my electric washer and dryer and of course the internet along with my computor, I do like the simplicity of life that I see there and places like it.

I have never been out of the US myself, let alone hardly left my home state of Minnesota...lol. But on some of my journeys have been to small rural towns which seem similar to this. I have also seen pictures and read of stories of life in places like this in other countries. It seems they live simple lives, work hard and yet seem to be more content and happy then those that have so much or too much to enjoy.

How nice that you and your husband got this opportunity to travel to this place.

TechnoBabe said...

Our lifestyle today is the closest to simplicity that we will probably ever get. We do have internet and each have great computers and washer and dryer and a car, but we use the dishwasher to store plastic containers and wash dishes by hand, together. These are great photos of your trip showing local people and how they live.

Matty said...

Your pictures and descriptions really capture the essence of this village so well. This is a nice job of placing us right there with you.

diane said...

I love the fact that your tour guide could not be understood, haha.
Those houses are an artist's dream. What an interesting place.
I think you're right about the teenagers, looks like they've been watching "Thriller".

Comedy Goddess said...

Wow those are great! I would hate to see it in winter though!

Surprising place I've visited? My own basement.
With parents who never throw anything away, I have an unlimited supply of useless objects to ponder.

Jeanie said...

I loved your tour...very interseting and thought provoking. When I travel, especially outside the US, the thing I enjoy most is learning about the way of life of the people who live where I am visiting.

Sonya said...

Wow I really love the photos of the houses!! The picture of the older woman is perfect.

Unknown Mami said...

I love this trip. I think it's great to see that the things we take for granted are not the "norm" everywhere. It's also good for us to adapt to the way of life of the places we visit.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I would love to experience life in a little village like that for maybe a week...or two.......but then, without the modern conveniences, I'd be a bit unnerved.

Of course, having a tour guide is nice too!

Alix said...

You DO know that the old Ukrainian woman in the orange babushka is my future, right?

I already have her teeth, but she's still trumps me on hair. It's only a matter of time... She'll probably get balder as my wrinkles deepen.

Beautiful post. The photos are magnificent.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Thanks for taking me to a village I wouldn't normally get to visit!

I'll bet that none of them even know what a sewer condom is, huh?

Wonderful, Joanna!

Hugs!!

Life with Kaishon said...

I really love these little cottages. So pretty. We don't travel too many places. I love that woman's face and I adore the laundry hanging on the line. So sweet : )

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I loved this. I love the splashes of color on the houses. And the old lady photo is wonderful.

ymK said...

I am in love with those colorful, pretty houses.
And I feel bad about complaining about my loads of laundry now.
Thanks for the tour.

jane said...

hey jj! i love you!! your fun comments made my month! these pics are so interesting. you really captured the flavor of the villages. (do you say that in english or am i now translating from spanish?...help...) also loved- i married him twice in 3 parts. ok am off to catch up some more. sending you a big hug! jane

Mom of Three said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing this. Stopping by from Unknown Mami.

Hilary said...

I haven't travelled nearly enough and hope to remedy that some day. I love how quaint and colouful this community is. What a lovely sight.

Holly said...

The closest I can come to this was teaching in St. Petersburg, Russia for a month. Oh what an experience.

brainella said...

The world truly is an amazing place. Wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing!

Loraine said...

Gorgeous pictures- looks like a lovely place!

Every place I travel to surprises me in some way. I've only been out of the country once, and it was a remarkable experience. I'll blog about it sometime...

Dreamgirl said...

How very interesting! Love your photos and the sightseeing trip. But I'm wondering... what were you doing in the Ukraine?

Hoping you'll have a wonderful week!

Yaya said...

I think I have that same orange pashmina....

Nezzy said...

This could have been taken in some of the Ozark hills. Thank you for the tour that I will never get a chance to see. How beautiful the woman in orange is, I would love to hear her stories. Have a wonderful evening!!!

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

Thank you so much for posting these pictures, and telling their story. It's just so interesting to me to see where other people have traveled, and what their experiences have been!

w said...

wow. what a beautiful community. the countryside is serene and lovely.

also. the two girls. yes, one is definitely watching full house. but the other. she's definitely wearing edward cullen's outfit.

and. i need indoor plumbing. you know. for all my tummy issues.

Christine said...

thanks for the photos, Joanna, it gives us a sense of Eastern Europe, who knew? My brother had been to Khazakstan and it sounded much the same.

Fireblossom said...

Wow. I'm glad I don't live in the Ukraine. I would have to wear cheesy red boots!

grannyann said...

I lived in Turkey and traveled a lot in the Middle East and Europe but I never went to the Ukraine. Your post was really interesting. What were you all doing there or am I allowed to ask?

Rowe said...

Hi Joanna. Thanks for visiting while I was away, it's good to be home again, though it was hard to leave ... I love being on holidays. Isn't it amazing to see how other people live in different environments and with less mod cons, to go right into their town and be amongst them. These colourful cottages look like where one might expect to see Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel might emerge from. I do like that gate in the last photo with the chooks standing by.

Selma said...

Fascinating place. It really is another world, isn't it? I particularly love the lady with the orange scarf. Thanks so much for sharing your photos!

Pastor Sharon said...

Looking at these pictures makes me think you were in a time warp. However, I can't help but wander if the stress levels are different from our "way too busy" way of life.

I'm sure their stress is focused on all that laundry to wash and dry, will the garden produce enough food?, Can I make it home on this hay wagon before it rains?, . . . . etc.

This was a nice post to read. Thank you for reminding me that all areas of the world do not appear to be what we think of as "conventional" or "up to date".

Joyce said...

I love traveling abroad. Great photos! I love the one of the woman. xoxo

P.S. Did you have a nice anniversary?

Tammy Howard said...

What beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing something I'll probably never experience!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What great pictures ...thanks for sharing

Willoughby said...

I've never thought about visiting Poland, but I loved your pics!

The most surprising place I've ever visited was a small town in South Carolina. We had a creepy experience driving down a back road where we were watched and followed. It was the exact opposite of southern hospitality, we couldn't wait to get back to the main road.

mub said...

Wow, I'd like to make it to the Ukraine sometime. It looks like such a beautiful place!

Jennifer said...

I loved the tour, it sounds like a very interesting and nice trip. A nice reminder of all the things I take for granted...like my washing machine!

Spencer L Casey said...

What an amazing, enriching experience that must have been. Probably very, very peaceful during your stay.