What interested me most about my recent visit to Bukovel, Ukraine’s only major ski resort, was the rapid, uneven development of the resort and the region. Bukovel is located 240 km from L’viv, where I lived during my 2010-2011 Fulbright Scholarship.
Before dawn on Saturday, we went to the statue of [Ukranian scholar and statesman] Mykhailo Hrushevski, where a private bus picked up all the skiers. Many L’viv residents make day trips, leaving at 4am and returning at 10 in the evening.
At about 8:30, we passed our hotel near Bukovel and asked the bus driver to drop us off. Four and a half hours is a long time to travel 240 km, and a testament to the state of Ukaine’s roads. For much of the trip, the bus weaved from the adjacent shoulder, across the lane of oncoming traffic and into the opposite shoulder to avoid potholes.
The gross corruption and incompetence of the Ukrainian government is universally blamed for the pathetic condition of the roads (among many other things). Ukrainians are all holding their breaths for Euro Cup 2012, some with fear of national humiliation, others with childlike anticipation of calamity.
To read more about my travels in Ukraine and reflections, visit my other site, romaninukraine.com.