Last week I virtually visited Russia and this week I continue my online journey through the former Soviet Bloc. Today, I take on Ukraine. The quaint fade into the website reveals a page that could probably be constructed by a remedial fifth grader in less than an hour. I tell myself it is part of the charm of a country whose citizens would never consider wooing tourists with fancy graphics or images of luxury resorts and sun-drenched beaches.
The first destination that is recommended on the site is, wait for it, Chernobyl.
The trip consists of an 8-hour excursion to photograph the withering sarcophagus in northern Ukraine that stands as a testament to the infinite fallibility of man. The trip requires special clothing, makes a stop in the Dead City and allows lunch to be consumed only in a "specially equipped" restaurant. Such precautions are presumably in place to prevent visitors from unsightly radioactive glow following their visit.
The undisputed jewel in the crown of the Travel Ukraine website is the following paragraph. Allow me to draw your attention to the final sentence.
If you're anything like me you've already fished your suitcase from the hall closet and are wildly stuffing it with clothing and toiletries to accompany you on your journey to the Dreamland where biggest baby-dream come true.
Sweet Christ, I have a tear in my eye just thinking about it.
I am so taken by the pluck of the Ukrainian people and their whimsical command of the English language that I just might adopt a Ukrainian surname...vAnnie Shevchenko has a lovely ring to it.