Incident at Bukovel

A week ago Saturday I set off in a convoy with various of my Ukrainian family to visit the Carpathian Mountains, a few hours north of my great-grandfather’s home village of Serafyntsi. It was a chilly day, threatening rain but never raining, but we were all in good spirits. After a stop in the town Kolomyya to visit the excellent Pysanka Museum we headed ever-higher up the valley in search of lunch, a search made more difficult by a power outage that meant most restaurants were closed. We finally drove our way out of the electrical issue, enjoyed a tasty, albeit slowly and grudgingly-prepared meal, and after lunch we set out to tour Bukovel, a newly-constructed ski resort nearby.

Our convoy got separated on the way there, and so Andrii and Victoria and I arrived first, and it was decided that Victoria and I would ascend the mountain on the chair lift. So off we set. I’m only a little afraid of heights, so it was mostly an enjoyable ride up to the top, resulting in this view:

High up at Bukovel

We walked around the mountain-top for a bit, but as the weather appeared to be closing in, with rain visible several mountains off and the rumbling of thunder in the distance, we decided we’d better get down the mountain sooner than later. As we made our way down the mountain we each shot a quick photo of each other, being careful both not to drop the camera and mindful of our impending death due to lightning. Oh how happy we were.

Me at Bukovel Victoria at Bukovel

And then the rain came. This was what it looked like from ground-level:

Rain at Bukovel

It was a heavy, determined rain, with large half-cup-sized raindrops that were unrelenting. Fortunately both Victoria and I were able to approach the situation with a sense of humour, and laughed our way down the mountain. What else could we do? When we arrived we looked like this:

Down at Bukovel

And this is what I looked like as I stumbled off the lift:

Wet at Bukovel

Fortunately by the time we emerged our advance team was in full force, whisking us off separately to gender-specific recovery operations. Sergey generously loaned me a pair of rain pants to replace my soaking-wet jeans (my recently-purchased German rain coat meant that the top-half of me was bone-dry, thankfully). Twenty minutes later we were enjoying a very satisfying cup of hot tea in the restaurant; as you can tell from the look on my face, it was all a great an enjoyable adventure:

Tea at Bukovel

If you’re going to get caught in a rainstorm on the side of a mountain, I heartily recommend Victoria as a partner in crime. And if you need team of dedicated recovery experts to surge into action when you’re soaking wet, there’s not better family than mine.