Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Regular hidden europe contributor Laurence Mitchell introduces us to the museum of Easter eggs at Kolomiya in eastern Ukraine.

article summary —

The modestly attractive Hutsul town of Kolomiya in western Ukraine is located a little too far away from the main Carpathian range to be a base for hiking into the mountains. Lying virtually halfway between Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi, the town is usually overlooked in favour of either or both of these splendid cities. However, for those curious souls who do not wish to dash directly from A to B a little time devoted to Kolomiya allows the visitor to see a remarkable museum that not only is dedicated uniquely to painted eggs but which also takes the form of one. For egg-fetishists, as for the merely curious, Kolomiya's Pysanka Museum really is all it is cracked up to be.

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Laurence Mitchell became a travel writer almost by default having squandered his youth travelling in North Africa and India. Following a stint teaching in Sudan, he went on to train as a geography teacher, which he pursued for a decade or so.

These days he concentrates on writing and photography and, while still drawn to transition zones and cultural frontiers like Central Asia, the Balkans and the Caucasus region, is increasingly more content to explore closer to home. He loves ancient tracks, moss-covered ruins, graveyards and allotment gardens, and believes it is possible to find the extraordinary in even the most quotidian surroundings.

Despite a slight distrust of guidebooks, he has contributed several of his own to the world's literary stockpile – Bradt travel guides to Serbia and Kyrgyzstan, ‘slow’ guides to Norfolk and Suffolk (also Bradt), and walking guides to Norfolk and Suffolk for Cicerone. His travel memoir Westering, which describes a coast to coast walk across England and Wales that connects landscape, memory and spirit of place, will be published by Saraband in April 2021. Visit Laurence's blog.

This article was published in hidden europe 19.