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.
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