Chapter 4: Do The Math!

OK, let’s get down to brass tacks.  The question most often asked is “How do you finance your travel?”  The answer is … I live totally from my average Social Security income.  Yes, it is cheaper to do what I do in Europe than to live in the United States.

I severely downsized my life before taking on this adventure.  I own nothing! My roommates took over the lease on our townhouse, they bought my car and adopted my cat.  And, I owe nothing!  I have no bills, or monthly payments other than  my credit card.  I try to put all of my expenses on the credit card because I get travel miles for my expenditures.

Really, you say!  Yes, Really!

In Seattle where I was living a small studio would cost $1200 a month at a minimum.  This means that if I want to eat during the month, put gas in a car, or go to a movie I need to go to work.  No thanks, I’d  rather have this adventure instead.

And, the follow up question is usually – does it take all of your monthly SS income.  Answer:  Not usually.  I have been able to put money aside and still have a splurge every couple of months,  Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland; birthday in Casablanca at the replica of Rick’s Cafe Americana from the movie Casablanca.

And, 4 days in the Blue City of Chefchaoen, Morocco.  I don’t live like a pauper, but I also don’t throw money away.

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If you have a close knit family, a pet, or other obligations like a mortgage, traveling like me would not work for you.  But reducing the size of your travel agenda to what is manageable could be a fun project.  For instance, you could travel to Spain and do 2 back-to-back English Immersion Programs based out of Madrid.  Add one week on the front end to visit interesting cities within an hour or two of Madrid, like Segovia, Toledo, Avila, or El Escorial.  Then take a few days on the back side of the program and discover the real Madrid, not the “tour guide” version.

You might also be able to find a “Trusted Housesitter” or other volunteer one week gig in or near Madrid and take your day trips from there.  This would also mean you are not paying for a hotel or other lodging for that week.

I was able to rent a furnished apartment, 10 minutes walking distance from the Nile, in Luxor, Egypt for 250.00 US Dollars a month.  I stayed 3 months. I was not volunteering.  Just spending a warm winter there.

When you can plan your travel around volunteering (free lodging and often your food provided as well) your costs end up being mostly about travel ONLY!  A month in sunny (mostly) Spain where you meet new native English speakers at the program plus, the possibility of creating some new friendships with your Spanish participants sounds like fun to me.  What about you?

Back to cost.  Research your flights, travel off season or shoulder season.  Do not pay for a seat.  If you have purchased a ticket, they will assign a seat to you.  Do not choose hotels as your lodging, but have a little adventure by staying in a hostel (lots of young people); or checkout Couch-Surfing, Air B&B,  SERVAS, Hospitality Club or university dorm rentals in off season only.

Instead of eating in restaurants, try sidewalk vendors.  The trick is to watch and see where most of the locals line up, and get in that line,  Buy some munchies at supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl,  Mercadona, or local open air markets like this one in Valencia, Spain where there is everything from Serrano ham to wool socks.

Mercado Central

Since transportation will be your primary expense, educate yourself using Google to find trains or inexpensive buses from airports to your destination.  Keep in mind that some cities have 2 airports.  I didn’t, and had a problem in Brussels when I ended up at the Ryan Air (ugh!) airport.  Won’t make that mistake again.

If you are going to be traveling for 30 days in any one country check and see if they offer a senior discount train card. Don’t overlook daily and weekly bus or tram/light rail discount tickets.   Find the visitors center in the airport, ask your hosts, hostel bulletin boards, other travelers, or get familiar with online resources.  Spain has the gold card which allows 40% off LONG DISTANCE TRAINS Monday thru Thursday and 25% off on the weekends.  It is always cheaper to purchase tickets on line.  DO NOT PURCHASE a Europass because it is expensive and will not meet your needs.  Travel like a local instead.  Most people who work in train stations and airports will speak English,

Here’s a tip someone gave me – I’ve not used it but I could.  If you are a member of Toastmasters International, lookup club meetings in the city you are visiting.  Contact the club early and arrange to attend a meeting. You may be invited to stay in someone’s home.  My friend was!  I think this might also work for “Meet-Ups” as well.

I hope this answers some more questions for you.  Please feel free to ask for other information.  I will gladly share whatever I can.  This is the final blog about this subject.

Keep an eye open for our book “The Big But”  dedicated to people who say “I want to travel, but…” to be available on Amazon soon.

Happy trails to you…..

 

 

Chapter 3

Schengen Zone: In Europe 22 countries agreed to have open borders. These countries also agreed that visitors from outside of the EU/European Union countries which would include the United States and Canada would have a limited time to travel within the Schengen Zone.

This means that you, dear readers, really do need your calendar if you plan to travel in Europe for more than 90 days.

Rather than list the 22 countries, you can simply type in SCHENGEN COUNTRIES and get the list. The UK which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland PLUS the Republic of Ireland are NOT Schengen countries.

As an American you can stay in the UK for 90 days and the Republic of Ireland for 6 months, which gives you 9 months in English speaking countries to volunteer.

But there is a small monkey wrench in this plan. These countries are not happy to have “foreigners” taking jobs from locals. And, actually you are not taking jobs because you are not getting paid … but, it is a thin line. This is why I said in a previous chapter to be sure you speak frankly with your host about what you say to customs agents. A volunteer from Brazil was refused entry to my host family in Galway because she gave the wrong answer to a question. The customs officer actually called and spoke to my host about the situation.

So, back to scheduling within Schengen. Some travelers [young people] would tell you to “never mind the rules” or ” avoid customs and go by boat” don’t believe it.

Look at your map. Highlight the Schengen countries and plan your adventure from west to east, because you want to be on the border of a non-Schengen country at the end of your 90 days. I spent one winter [90 days] in a furnished flat in Luxor Egypt with an English speaking landlord for $250 US dollars a month. I spent my time visiting Luxor and Karnak Temples [in biblical times known as Thebes] and across the Nile in the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens and the Artisans Village. I would not recommend Cairo or other touristy places but Luxor was pleasant.

You could also spend time in Moroco, Albania, Kosovo or other Baltic or North African countries where living is cheap, food is purchased at outdoor markets and where you could also earn a bit of money tutoring English students. Additionally, I spent a month at a private language school in Ukraine and was provided a sparcely furnished apartment and all of my food.

BONUS FOR US CITIZENS WHO WANT TO SPEND MORE THAN 3 MONTHS IN POLAND. Lets say that you want to do 8 English Immersion Programs in Poland over a 4 month period. You want to visit Posnan, Warsaw, Krakow and Turin. Well, Angloville or Just Speak (Gosha) would love you for starters.

This is how it works: You enter POLAND from a non-Schengen country and you stay in POLAND for your 90 days. You leave POLAND for 24 hours on day 90. You go to a non-Schengen country for 24 hours, get a receipt from a hotel, train, plane ticket proving you were out of POLAND. [I went to Lviv, Ukraine for a week] You re-enter POLAND from the non-Schengen country and you are good for another 90 days, at which time you must exit SCHENGEN totally for your 90 days out.

This loophole exists because the US had an agreement with POLAND prior to the signing of the Schengen agreement. You can find this information on the US State Department website. http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/poland.html and http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/schengen-fact-sheet.html

This is why having an up-to-date calendar is a necessity.

End of Chapter 3.

As I sit here in Lisbon, Portugal I am at the end of this 3 year adventure. Leaving on a Jet Plane tomorrow for the US, for the summer.

I will be in the Gig Harbor, Washinton area and would make myself available to anyone who would like to know more about this. I could speak to your group, Meet-Up, class, senior center, church or just a group of friends for coffee. Contact me at sherrill.madden@gmail.com

“The Big But”… dedicated to those who say they want to travel, BUT … is scheduled to be available as an ebook on Amazon at the end of March.

My writing partner, Greta Hughes, a 5 million mile traveler will be in the Los Angeles area this summer and would also be available to talk with you or your group.

Please let us know if we can be of service to you.

This is not the end of the Blog .. the adventures continue!

Chapter two

First my apologies for the late reply but I have been sick with the flu thing going through Europe.

Ok!

Calendar check

Map check

Travel books check

Volunteer sites check

So, now it’s time to decide how long do I want to travel?

For the timid – 2 to 6 months and close to home- may I suggest you begin in the US, Mexico or Canada.  You could travel to a region you’ve never visited like Cajun Country,  Popcorn, Indiana,  Laredo, Texas, the Carolinas or Washington State.

Canada as well has many beautiful places to visit like Victoria, Toronto or the province of Saskatchewan. Or find a volunteer position during the Calgary Stampede. Want to practice your French try Quebec.  Interested in a UNESCO City go to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Just find a Workaway  –  Trusted Housesitters – HelpX or Workstay assignment that fits you and apply.  You may happily find new friends, interesting places to explore or a new skill like harvesting honey or trying to balance on a unicycle.

For those who are interested in places farther away or a longer stay get ready to travel.  Grab your passport, look at your map and your calendar.  Find a volunteer position that you would enjoy – apply –  actually apply for more than one. Be sure to check the reviews on your volunteer choice before you apply.  You might want to check with people who have written reviews for additional information before you apply.  Note: not everyone writes a review and not every review is perfect.

Check flight prices.  Be smart and travel in low /off-season or shoulder season.  Remember that you do not need a round trip ticket a one-way ticket is acceptable.

When you have found the perfect assignment and before you accept make sure you understand everything about the position – hours – tasks required and free time. You also want to know how to get to where you are going.  Some countries are not 100% acceptable to having Volunteers in their midst.  The Republic of Ireland and the UK are two of these countries.  You need to have an understanding with your host as to what to say at Customs when they ask you why you are traveling in their country.  More on this later when I talk about the Schengen Zone.

The majority of your volunteer assignments will be lovely, but people are people and once in awhile you will find a host who is less than 100% agreeable.  My first host complained about every volunteer eating him out of house and home. And he complained that the Spanish couple needed a siesta everyday after lunch. My friend Megan was volunteering in Scotland at a restaurant and bakery and she found that the restaurant people volunteered 4 hours each day but the bakery people volunteered 7 hours each day. And I also had a host who was more than willing to allow me to work as many hours and as many days as he could get away with- you must be assertive with your host when necessary. These examples are not the norm they are exceptions to the rule – expect the best!

Life is not perfect as a volunteer but sometimes it can be pretty close.  My three Italian hosts took me everywhere to see historic sites – to Verona and Juliet’s house – a tour of museums, palaces and art galleries and at Christmas to not one but two Christmas festivals. I was exhausted I needed a vacation – they were the most wonderful hosts to that point in my travel schedule.

Now. One of my favorite volunteer things to do is the English immersion program.  It can be fabulous for some not so not so much for others.  You can get a good sense of the program by looking at my previous blog on English immersion programs.

In my experience the best of the best is Vaughntown, right up there with it is Diverbo or Pueblo Ingles in Spain.

Next best is angloville with programs in Poland – Hungary – Romania -Czech Republic – Malta – Dublin and the UK.  With angloville you can get a TEFL certification which will allow you to tutor English for a fee.

Another program called Just Speak is also located in Poland.  It is casual and rustic.  She uses word games + one-on-one situations like the other programs.  If you decide to go to Just Speak give Gosha my warmest regards thanks.

Ok!  Get busy!

And I will leave you with this thought.  I’ve seen and experienced things I never would have had an opportunity to do – met kind interesting and curious people. I watched an old Mariner carve a ship from a block of wood.  I met the Google guy mapping Ireland and tried on the revolving camera.  I stood on the only remaining section of Hadrian’s Wall in England and gaped with open mouth in Trinity University and learned the odd and interesting history of King Zog of Albania.  All of these stories and more are on my blog.  Enjoy!

Chapter 3 coming soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big B U T . . .

You want to travel B U T – you think you can’t because:

  • No money
  • No time
  • Don’t feel safe away from home base
  • Can’t speak a foreign language
  • Don’t understand foreign money
  • Not sure where to go
  • ……… And, on it goes!

Your first step is simply buy a BIG WALL CALENDAR and hang it in a conspicuous place.  You need to be able to see it every day.

Begin by noting in the calendar the day you’ll get a map of Europe, South America, Asia, Africa or Antarctica – wherever you want to go.

Next, mark the day you will apply for a passport if you do not have one or renew if it is close to the expiration date. Include the cost on the calendar. Your local post office has passport forms available.

After deciding where you want to go, indicate WHY you want to see this place, what specifically is your goal.  For instance, when I began my adventures it was to visit UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE sites.  I culled the enormous list from the web and listed them in the order of my travel, England to Ireland, to Spain, etc.

If you have piles of money at your disposal you can skip this step;  otherwise get a tablet, pen and your thinking cap. Consider this project as creating a retirement resume.  IF you want to travel frugally one of the ways is to volunteer in exchange for accommodation and often meals as well.

Make a generous list of all the skills, talents, and knowledge you possess.

Cull the list and put it into the order you would be willing to use these talents.  For instance: when I was young I picked fruit during summer months.  It is a skill but I would put picking fruit as the last item on my list.

  • Good with pets
  • Love to hike
  • Can make balloon characters
  • Great cook
  • Mechanical hands
  • Taught English, home economics, sports, kindergarten, etc.
  • Gardening fool
  • IT certified
  • Accounting, marketing, sales, or other skills.
  • Childcare (very marketable skill)

Q:  So, where do I find this volunteering stuff?

A: On line!  The two most popular sites for multiple skills are:

WORKAWAY and HELPX, yep the spelling is correct. If you are an animal lover try this site: TRUSTED HOUSE-SITTERS, through whom I spent 10 days in a wine valley in Spain taking care of two big dogs.  The job was walking them in a one mile route twice a day. For this I had the house to myself.  You can peruse these sites without subscribing but need the subscription to contact sites.

NOTE: There are more sites than these availabile, but many will charge you big bucks to volunteer for their organizations.  Read carefully!

If you are interested in working on a farm check out WWOOFING.

Well, if you have COMPLETED the items to this point you should either be excited or terrified – but, don’t be terrified I’ll hold your hand!

Mark on your calendar the web addresses and prices for the annual subscription to the one(s) you chose.  Once you have subscribed be sure to check the REVIEWS section to see what others have said.

You should have enough information to keep you busy for a few weeks, so make it a fun project.  Opportunities are  limitless.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2

 

 

 

 

 

Chefchaousen. Continued

About a year and a half ago I crossed paths with a young man in Kosovo. He had unfortunately arrived at the hostel on a week when we were full, and he had no reservation.  Fortunately the owner allowed him to sleep on the couch. The following day I told him I had discovered an NGO looking for volunteers and offering to help them find lodgings.  “Shall we go talk to them?” I asked.  We did and, we ended up doing some volunteer hours as well.  He did not get lodging, but instead started helping out at the hostel and stayed after I had left.

During our time together I was able to connect him with people who could help him.  It wasn’t that I knew a bunch of people in Pristina, Kosovo.  It was that I have no trouble introducing myself and asking questions.  At one point about a third of the way through our “relationship” I asked him if he believes in coincidence.  He said “no”.  I asked then,  why he thought these opportunities for paid work, meeting locals who could help him and his showing up at the right time to help the NGO create a video happened.  He replied, “it’s because you talk to EVERYONE!”

So, that’s the secret!

While wandering around Chefchaousen I met more than a dozen people.  Some encounters were brief, some casual like the two American students I shared a lunch table with.  The girl was studying Arabic in Morocco and he was studying in Spain, but they had met at university in the US.

The most interesting there, were a group traveling together who had come to Chefchaousen to volunteer with the charity group RIFCOM based in Gibraltar. All English speakers, but from different places.

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Happily flashing their RIFCOM Logo shirts.
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Caught’cha shopping and taking selfies  😀

This group couldn’t stop talking about RIFCOM and the local project they were joining.  I almost wanted to go with them!  If you are traveling to this part of the world (or even if you’re not) check out the good works of this organisation.  I did!

Later I encountered representatives of a Bedouin weaving co-operative from the southern desert area of Morocco. They naturally would like to sell me a rug, blanket or shawl. It is difficult to convince them that everything in my suitcase is an accumulation of various weights and that the airline’s have limits.  ” But, look, it weighs nothing!” they say.  A bunch of nothing eventually weights something. Lovely, but no thank you.

 

 

I learned a couple of facts: they not only weave wool they also weave natural grasses (vegan rugs); and the men weave rugs, the women weave blankets and wraps.  Lots of weaving going on in this community.

Like music?  This artsy place was where I met two American gals studying in Morocco; and, a Japanese guy studying in mid-west America.  Captured them making music on bongo drums.

Leather tooling is also a major handicraft here as well.

 

Last but far from least are the hospitable people of Chefchaousen who open their doors to thousands of visitors.  Remember, in the previous blog I told you that this community was closed to christians until 1920.

When you visit Morocco, don’t miss this.

I’ll be leaving on a jet plane Tuesday, for Spain, where I’ll be house-sitting for 5 dogs in a town 30 minutes south of Valencia.  Hasta la vista!

 

 

Mr. Harim’s British School & Chefchaousen, The Blue City.

Greetings from Berrechid, Morocco! 23 degrees Celsius (72 approximate degrees Fahrenheit) and sunny on November 8th. I’m in a 3rd story classroom in Mr. Harim’s British Language Academy. The landscape is endlessly flat, painted in various hues of brown, edged with tall concrete apartment buildings tinted in soft yellow, pink, sage and grey topped with satellite dishes and antennas.

Planes glide over the structures regularly on their slow decent to the Casablanca airport complex.  I have been told that a large number of airport employees live here. This is a community under construction. Buildings in every direction in various stages of development.  Wide four lane streets, busy little commercial ventures like the upholstery shop, hand car wash, fruit and vegetables vendor, bakery and plumbing services snuggle up against one another.

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Typical neighborhood under construction.
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British Language Academy

The school offers four English classrooms and two classrooms for French lessons.  There are five Moroccan female teachers and up to 9 volunteers who speak English as either their native language or some  as a second language.  Right now we have volunteers from  Sweden, England, China, Canada, Czech Republic, France, New Zealand, Australia  and Spain.  We are assigned to speak English with the students at the end of the lesson to reinforce the teaching and give the students hands on practice.

Because Morocco is a Muslim country there is no class on Friday’s – their religious worship day, and no class on Sunday either.  Most days the classes begin after 1 PM and end at 9:30.

It’s now the end of my third week and I am off to see the Blue City of Chefchaousen established in 1471 in the Rif mountains in the northwest of Morocco.  (6 hours by bus from Casablanca) This city was originally white and not painted blue until 1492 when the Jews fled the inquisition in Spain.  They painted their homes, walls and streets blue because it made them feel closer to God.

Chefchaousen was also off limits to christians until 1920.

Chefchaousen is one of the most beautiful cities in Morocco and one of the most interesting for me. It’s not the beautiful and delicately carved Moorish architecture you find here and in many regions of Spain – it is the volume of surprises around every corner, the variety of designs on doors, walls, iron window grating and wild colors of scarves, shoes, djellabias and artworks.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, what follows is my narrative.

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The iconic image of Chefchaousen
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Wall murals and paintings dot the narrow alleyways
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Everyone uses tiles for decoration and practicality on floors, stairs, and walls.

 

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Paint pigments.
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The sign says you can take a photo of the enclosed patio for .50, but I thought the sign was more interesting!

 

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Water is very important to the Muslim world and fountains are found all over and everyone has access.
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Rounded a corner and saw this little guy sitting on the steps outside of his door.
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Dinner??
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No explanation needed!

 

 

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Sorry to see you go, come back soon!

More coming on the visit to Chefchaousen …. Stay tuned!

“On The Road” in Novoyavorivsk, Ukraine

If you were living in the United States in 1967, you might have watched a program called “On The Road” hosted by journalist Charles Kurault. The premis of this program was that you can find stories no matter where you are, from the largest city to the most rural farm.

It was especially educational to me because I have always been interested in traveling and meeting new people.  Charles Kurault seemed to have a magical talent for seeing the ordinary, mundane or seemingly random subjects as interesting.  He would interview ordinary folks and leave us with a new idea, viewpoint or understanding of his subject

Most of us live in a place that we take for granted, and not a place that most people would find interesting.  I grew up less than 30 miles from one of the old 7 Wonders of the World, Niagara Falls; and if you had surveyed my  high school graduation class, I would  bet that less than 25% had visited the Falls, or crossed the Peace Bridge to Canada.

In Scotland, a local resident once told me that she was always surprised at the things visitors would photograph. Things she sees on a daily basis had become mundane, ordinary and not of much interest any longer.

This month I am in the town of Novoyavorivsk (No/vo/yar/isk), Ukraine and the students from the Lingua English language school where I am volunteering were caught off guard when I asked them to tell me about their town.  Many of the students thought it was boring, nothing of interest here!

So, a challenge was presented to the older students in 3 classes.  Topics were assigned to pairs of students and they were required to write a paragraph about their topic and were also encouraged to support it with photos.  Naturally the reaction was surprise and a bit of anxiety about how to accomplish the task.  They were to interview people for information, research on line and take photos where appropriate. Could there actually be interesting things here in their town?

They were given less than one week to finish the project and at the end most of them admitted that they enjoyed the activity found things about their town that they did not know and now had new insight about Novoyavorivsk. What follows are the paragraphs and photos done by the students at the Lingua English language school.

The first question I asked the class was ” did you know that your city is the newest city in the country of Ukraine”?  Answer: No!  So two girls were assigned to find out the history of this new city, population, who lives here, what do they do, why was the city established in this location and any other interesting things about your town.  Here is their report with photos.

NOVOYAVORIVSK, UKRAINE:. Novoyaorivsk was built because in our regions deposits of sulfur were found and they wanted to build a factory; but, the workers hadn’t any place to live so they decided to build a town.

S70927-215650(1)We are located about 45 minutes west of the oblast’s administrative centre of Lviv. The town is located on a major road that ends on the Polish border and continues east on the E40 to Lviv.

S70927-220252(1)The town was founded in 1965 as a worker’s settlement called Jantarne but in 1969 it was renamed Novoyavorivsk which translates to New Yavoriv.

S70927-215857(1)We have a population of almost 40,000 people, many young families, and people who work in nearby Lviv and on the Polish border which is only 30 kilometres west.

Written by: Lidia 12 years and Viktoria 12 years

Note: the sulfur mine was closed many years ago and the land flooded, which now provides a very large and deep recreational lake in the forested area.

Most cities will have a street or two or more named after some person of fame or fortune or political standing and this town is no different; so, two of the boys were given the task of finding out why the main street was called Stepan Bandera.

STEPAN BANDERA STREET: Ukrainian Stepan Bandera was born on the 1st of January 1909 in the village of Old Uhryniv, east of Novoyavorivsk and Lviv. He was a patriot; and on the 15th of September in 1941 the Gestapo arrested him and he became a prisoner; because on the thirteenth of June, 1941, Ukranians declared an independent Ukraine state. He was imprisoned for 18 years he died on the 15th of October 1959 in Munich. The UPA  has got a flag.   The flag has two colours, red and black. The red colour symbolises freedom and the black colour symbolises death.  Written by  Andrew 11 and Taras 11.

Note: former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko awarded him the highest state honour “Hero of Ukraine”.

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THE ICE PALACE: The ice arena is the most modern in the Lviv region. It was opened in 2009. It is really one of the most interesting places in the city worth visiting.

5555ba7a39066In the last five years they created a promising hockey team “Helytski Levy” and a circle of figure skating for children. The figure skating head is a famous woman from Armenia, Suzanna Frensivna Hechatryen.   She isn’t only a coach who teaches children figure skating; but, behind her is a well-known hockey team “Helytski Levy” that she has taught to stand firmly on the ice.

She has taught children for 5 years in Ukraine.  During that time she managed to teach 150 children from the age of 3 years. According to her,  “it wasn’t easy to show 10 children how to stand rightly on the ice”.

image-0-02-05-9c96c58d594f400702eb3ab82e59a1d8218f57139658bdb979fac3469cc326f5-V-1Talking to her you’ll understand how much she likes her profession. She said “if I had a chance to move back to the past I would have started working as a teacher of ice arts”.

She was nominated as the best coach 2017 and has a lot of awards for her given work. She has worked in both Armenian and Ukrainian cities. Mrs. Suzanna confirmed that she feels more confident on the ice than on the earth.

Of course,  before every show she has some little problems like a damaged suit or a cold but in spite of everything her shows are brilliant and exciting. We understood she is really professional in her business and sure in the future careers of her students.

image-0-02-05-ec87d7e368e0e756e961227396fcac2ef91ee748d58e6d008b14f0bdc98491cd-VThe ice arena is really one of the biggest in Lviv region you can see the large number of people on the ring in the winter and autumn.  A lot of people at the age from 14 to 20 spend their evenings there.  You can also rent the skates or bring your own.  When if you are the first time on the rink you can be taught to stand on the ice by special people right away.

Written by  Julia 13 and  Tanea 14

SYDOR DIANA: This is a School of Arts it has classes twice a week. I go to art classes here.  I like to draw animals.

IMG_5975-1There are many boys and girls which have classes with me.

IMG_5976On the first floor there is a concert hall we have a performance once a year.

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THE SCHOOL OF MUSIC: the musical school is very beautiful in Novoyavorivsk.  It was built by Oleksandr Gabocan.

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In the school students learn to play the violin, guitar, piano and some other instruments. I very much like the musical school.

Written by Stas, 11

SONGFEST: Moloda Halchyna International SONGFEST has been held for the last 25 years from July 7th to the 12th.  In 2017 the international songfest was held in the city of Novoyavorivsk.

image-0-02-05-787ef5b3bcd5d155a19fa8c4b1ebbb2b024da420fa7a95a35a0d4d767c6a768e-VPerformers came from Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Moldavia, the Georgian Republic, Poland, Estonia, Armenia, and many other countries. Representatives of Ukraine were Natalia Buchynska; Honored Singer of Ukraine, Tina Karol, plus  Katerina Burginsky and Natalka Karpa.

image-0-02-05-da007c5d46aa13827217b5c9675a922d12f752cb2f3fcc509b7ab6e65d08ba98-VThis year the Grand Prix was won by two participants Katarina Sychewska and the group Acapella Mordent from Ivano Frankivsk region of Ukraine. Written by: Yana 11

JOHA MANUFACTURERS:. JOHA is a Danish factory. Its founder is Michael Fzolund Johanson. Joha has its affiliates in Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Denmark. The first and only affiliate in Ukraine is Novoyavorivsk. It was founded in 20 February, 2001 and there are nearly 300 employees.image-0-02-05-97392774d50b4280811a1ae5aa1b5a0c520aaa93d3412beb1e2e62f747e68f86-VJoha producers clothes for teenagers, children and babies. we cannot buy these products in Ukraine because these clothes go to the export market to Germany, in the main warehouse, and then are sent to stores in Europe.  A piece of clothing made in Novoyavorivsk for 3 euros can be sold in Britain for more than 40 euros. Joha established their factory here because of the cheap labor available in Ukraine.                       Written by: Anna 14 and Yana 14

GALICIAN LIONS HOCKEY TEAM:. In autumn of 2009 Novoyavorivsk opened Hockey Club Galician Lions. This is a very popular game all over the world.

20170916_171118 At the moment the hockey training is involving 150 children aged 5 to 16 years old. Starting from 2017 Hockey Club Galician Lions was invited to participate in the International Junior Hockey League. (Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria, Estonia) this is not a complete list of all competing countries visited by our hockey players.20170916_171022Galician Lions return from games with Victory. They took prize places. We are proud of the Galician Lion team.

Written by Ilona 11, Ann 12, and Sofia 11.

BIATHLON: the Ukrainian biathlon team of small town Novoyavorivsk was not famous for such times, but was founded 26th December 1979. It became famous with their championship in 2007 (Vitaliy Koshushoke   and Vitaliy Kilchitskiy).

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The first impression of the sports centre is not very good because Yantar is small and old; but, inside you can find a swimming pool, sports hall, sauna and shooting hall. In the directors study it is warmer than the gym.

IMG_2764_1485872985Roman Poluga is the best headmaster of the Yantar because he has done everything that he could do to this gym, the best way he could.

Без названия (1)Без названияNow you can learn how to ski, shoot and become a champion. There are also groups other than biathlon like athletics, football and jumping.

It is sad but the financing is bad. Roman Poluga must pay his own money to make this Sports Centre comfortable.

I want to thank Petro Shypka about the information.

Written by Illya, 11

. . . And, most communities have monuments …

IMG-df3ec85398089f3135dedfe3faada2f3-VThe monument to Taras Shevchenko was solemnly opened on July 12th 1997 with participation of a large number of people of the Greek Catholic, and Orthodox communities in the city; headed by their rectors, representatives of public and political organisations, city and district authorities.

Taras Hryhorovich Shevchenko was born February 25th (or March 9th new style calendar) in the year 1814 in Morintsy, Ukraine and died February 26th (March 10th new style calendar) 1861 St. Petersburg, Russia. He was the foremost Ukrainian poet, prose writer, painter and playwright of the 19th century and, a major figure of the Ukrainian national revival.

Taras Shevchenko was a man of universal talent. All his life and creative work was dedicated to the people of Ukraine. The poet would dream about the time when his country would be a free sovereign state where the Ukrainian language, culture and history would be highly valued and the people would be happy and free.

Born a serf  Shevchenko was freed in 1838 while a student at the St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts. His first collection of poems entitled Kobzar (1840) expressed the historicism and the folkloristic interests of the Ukrainian Romantics; but his poetry soon moved away from nostalgia for Cossack life,  to a more sombre portrayal of Ukrainian history particularly in the long poem “Haidamaks” (1841).

IMG-5f416ab2386dca05b3b1a58e69d2979d-VMonument to the “Heavenly Hundred” opened on 29th August 2016. During 18 to 22 February 2017 Ukraine honored the memory of the Euromaidan protesters killed three years ago in the bloodiest clashes, in Kiev. Protesting against government corruption, activists called the “Heavenly Hundred”… the name containing an allusion to the Kozak XVII century army (Sotnia) were assembled at the Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence square) to protest, where eventually, more than 100 unarmed people were killed.

IMG-b57881c74f1f821f48abedb8c360be70-VThe monument to Ivan Mazepa was solemnly established August 24th 1997. A military, political and state figure hetman (title given to military figure) of the Zaporozhian army. Born March 20th, 1639 in the village of Mazepyntsi in the Kyiv District he was the head of a Cossack Left-bank state and the entire Dnieper, Ukranine.

Ivan Stepanovych Mazapa was awarded the title of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire in 1707 for his efforts in the Holy League.

He was from a noble, notoriously right-bank Ukrainian family.  He was well educated finishing at Kyiv-Mohyla College and Jesuitical college in Warsaw. He also studied for 3 years in Germany, Italy, France, and Holland where he received an education in cultural and political affairs. He also spoke several foreign languages.

His national and political convictions were settled during his service at the time  of hetmen Petro Doroshenko and Ivan Samoylovych who had programs on renaissance of an independent and saborna (unified) Ukrainian state.

He was the first Ukrainian hetman who was steadily holding the mace during almost 22 years. His period was marked by economic advancement of Ukraine.  It stabilised social situations and created an upsurge of church life and culture.

Written by Anastasia 12  and Photos by Alya S.

Thanks to all the students who worked on this project.  Well Done!!!

If I missed anyone, please resend and I will edit it into the blog.

NOTE: some minor changes were made for ease of reading.