Tour Update: Ukraine Heritage Tour 2019, Final day

    So it is 11 June and the Ukraine trip ended yesterday, technically.  Of course, in other ways it is nowhere near the end. But on our final full day we toured the lovely port city of Odessa in the […]

    Tour Update: Ukraine Heritage Tour 2019, Last Day in Odessa

    Last night in Odessa and what a busy day we had. This morning we had a city tour and then lunch by the shore of the Black Sea. The buildings in Odessa are so varied, from Greek style, pre-soviet […]

    Ukraine Heritage Tour 2019: Zaporozhye to Odessa

    This morning it was time to leave Zaporozhye and head for Odessa. When Len said the road was bad he wasn’t kidding. There are some spots where we are having to slow to a crawl so we don’t break […]

    Ukraine Tour Day 5 – Day of Contrasts in Chortitza

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader We started our day today at Eichenfeld, now Dubovka, the sight of a terrible massacre in 1919 by Makhno’s anarchist peasant army.  We stopped on the side of a field where a moving monument […]

    Ukraine Tour Day 4 – Chortitza: Connections and Conversations

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader We were in Chortitza today, the so-called Mother Settlement for Mennonites in southern Ukraine.  Of course we saw the big buildings that mark this area for Mennonites (and it helps that our guide Olga […]

    Ukraine Tour Day 2 – To Zaporozhye. The Real Pilgrimage Begins

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Where was I?  Oh yes, we had our evening at the opera yesterday, in a most historic opera house. This morning was a bit more unstructured.  I know that our group rode the Metro, […]

    Ukraine Tour Day 1 – Kiev: Capital City, Ancient City

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader TourMagination’s Ukraine Heritage Tour is up and running for 2019.  We actually met for the first time yesterday evening, almost that is.  “Almost” because two people in our group were actually away all day […]

    A Final Russia Blog Post

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Thursday, 4 October 2018. A final blog entry for TourMagination’s Russia and Ukraine Tours, 2018 I’m writing this from my home, which means that the wonderful Russia-extension to the equally wonderful Ukraine 2018 trip is at […]

    Day 10 Ukraine Tour, Last day in Odessa

    Tuesday, 25 September 2018.  Odessa, Ukraine. It’s mid-afternoon here, and our first full day in Odessa.  It’s also our last full day in Odessa. After a half-day city tour I now know that Odessa has been worth every bump and […]

    Day 9, Ukraine Tour

    Monday, 24 September 2018  A shorter entry today, but I want to report that we departed early this morning from Zaporozhe and arrived in Odessa by evening.  It was a long day as we travelled on roads that (we were […]

    Day 8 Ukraine Tour: Reflections from Mennoville

    Memories of Menno-ville, September 23, 2018 Here are some reflections from travellers on the Ukraine tour: I wanted to thank a woman for opening a church building for us, stumbling into Spanish, French, German before I remembered the words […]

    Day 7 Ukraine Tour

    Saturday, September 22 ,2018 Today was our “Zaporozhe and Khortitsa day”, which gave us the opportunity to visit the earliest of the Mennonite colonies in Ukraine.  It is now set within a city (Zaporozhe itself) that was a Stalinist showpiece, and winner of both […]

    Ukraine, Day 6 – More Molotschna Colony

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Quick, what’s this a listing of? Lesser Kestrel, Ring-necked pheasant, Rock Pigeon and White Wagtail.  How about Eurasian Collared Dove, Eurasian Magpie and the Eurasian Jay? Answer? Well, these are just a few of […]

    Ukraine, Day 5 – Molotschna Colony

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Here’s the short course on what we did today:  we spent the day touring one half of the former Molotschna colony, an area of about 20 by 30 miles, in southern Ukraine. But that sort […]

    Ukraine, Day 4 – From Kiev to Zaporozhye

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Here is when the full weight of this trip hit home for us as a group.  We had left Kiev very early this morning via train for Dnipro, arriving at about noon today.  After a […]

    Ukraine, day 3 – Kiev

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Wow.  What an evening it has been.  Before we knew it we saw the true Prince of Darkness visit Moscow and drive that city into pure mayhem. There was confusion all about, as if all morality […]

    Ukraine, Day 2 – Kiev

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader What a day!  We started it with a tour of the very heart of Kiev (actually we started it with breakfast, and that’s not to be silly; it is more to comment on how […]

    Ukraine Tour, Day 1 – Kiev

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader So our trip is up and running, even if one final couple is still scheduled to join us later today in Kiev. Here’s what is already clear from this group of TourMaginationites: We’ve gathered […]

    Three terrific snapshots, three countries

    by Len Friesen, tour leader   It’s been a magical if slightly sleep-deprived 36 hours or so.  I’ll summarize in three snapshots: 1.  The first snapshot:  Our final banquet in Zaporozhe seems to have barely happened, but it was […]

    A flying start to the Russia & Ukraine tour

    by Len Friesen, tour leader   Prelude: Our Ukraine/Russia tour for 2017 is off to a flying start.  We came to Zaporozhzhe by many paths, such that yesterday was our first real meeting time:  but one and all should […]

    Last Words

    The TM Russia/Ukraine trip is at an end, and our lovely group has begun to scatter across European airports.  Before we parted I asked participants to briefly type out personal highlights.  They summarize what was a remarkably rich time […]

    Not Quite the Last Blog, but Almost

    Well, it is so strange how trips draw to a close.  In this case we’ve enjoyed a Sunday of a relatively relaxed pace, one that has seen us spread out all over the city and region.  Some went to […]

    Homecoming (II)

    It’s difficult to summarize this day, just as with all the others.  What might I highlight?  It could be the emotional joy it gives all of us see one in our group find the home of their parents or […]

    Homecoming (I)

    As spectacular as Moscow and St. Petersburg are there is something very special about the Zaporozhye area.  This morning after a brief night and following a true travel day we were ready to explore Chortitza.  Spirits were high as […]

    Have Plane, Will Travel

    Well, this was a day for plane travel as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has made it almost impossible to travel between the two countries.  So we made our way very early this morning from Moscow to Munich to […]