The Ups and Downs of Kamyanets
Trip Start Aug 31, 2007
90Trip End Apr 19, 2008
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Formed by a natural loop in a river, the town is located on an effective island with a natural moat and 50 foot deep canyon surrounding it on all sides. At the only entrance, a fort has been built, protecting against invaders. We checked out the canyon walls today. No way are you getting a horse down them.
Wandering through the old town towards the fortress, we acquired an entourage of three dogs, following us faithfully for a good 15 minutes in hopes of food, though it was clear after 5 that we didn't have any
Lonely Planet promises that you are given free reign to clamber all over Kamyanets' fortress, and it did not disappoint. I was initially unimpressed with the fort in its condition of reconstruction, but unlike other tourist-ready forts, this one still has all the cool stuff accessible. We walked along the ramparts, through tunnels with arrow slits, crawled down into dungeons, and climbed up into turrets, being careful around signs warning "life danger." In the US, the fort would be a lawsuit waiting to happen. In the Ukraine, it was just great. We also scrambled up the embankments outside the fort and went for a walk along the canyon, enjoying the beauty of fall.
On the way back to town, we tried to buy a coke. It was 3.50 Hy. We had a 5 Hy bill. The woman acted like it was a huge deal and she couldn't make change (even though she had a whole box of it in front of her) so we left without the coke. Defeat number 1. Donna and I have discussed how when you're travelling in a place like the Ukraine, everything is difficult, so successes make your mood swing high and failures make your mood swing low, much more than they would at home
Back in town, we went to the post office to call the people at Polish Airlines. The airline had found Donna's box and said we could get it in Kiev on Thursday, but now they said it would be at least Friday. Not encouraging or confidence inspiring. Defeat number 2. Depressed, we decided to go get something to eat. Our waitress brought us Cokes, but then proceeded to ignore us for 20 minutes. She'd wait on her other tables, but never even look at us, even though we had menus and kept signaling her. I got up and hunted her down, but she was busy carrying a beer to another table. Donna finally jumped in front of her with the menu and tried to order, and even then she just walked around. Defeat number 3. We left money for the drinks and left. We would have liked to stiff her for the Cokes, but we really didn't want to get in trouble with the law. Afterwards, the waitress really got to me. I don't know how someone learns that it's acceptable to be so rude as to just ignore people - never mind that it was her job to wait on us. It just makes me so mad and frustrated. Forget stiffing her for the drinks, I wanted to punch her in the face!
But internet always makes you happy when you travel!...except that news from school wasn't good. And then it started to pour. Seriously, can we get a break here? We just went back to our hotel for a drawn out dinner before catching our overnight train to Kiev. Ugh.