Considered as the gateway to the rest of the Carpathians, Yaremche is known as a tourist town, and was enthusiastically recommended by everyone we met. We had mixed feelings about visiting a place like this, since tourist towns were what we were trying to avoid by traveling to Ukraine in the first place. In the end, its location made it convenient for us, so we went. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, aside from a few school groups. The main road is lined with new, overpriced hotels, lying empty against the backdrop of the green mountains. During the long winter months, Ukrainians will arrive in droves to ski the white slopes. At the edge of town, by the river, one can buy piles of cheap, imitation folk crafts for a few hryvnia at the tourist market or participate in any mountain activity imaginable. Despite our plans to do some of those mountain activities, the heat and the bus ride had sapped our energy. Any movement besides slow walking was out of the question. Instead, we enjoyed a meal outdoors and made friends with our hosts. An evening stroll along the railroad tracks led us to a wooden church and its colorful cemetery, past families working in their gardens and a trio of goats grazing by the path. We heard the laughter of a family eating dinner outside and the friendly greeting of a boy passing us on his bike. In the end, Yaremche gave us what we had wanted all along: a glimpse into the everyday lives of Ukrainians.

Prut river running through Yaremche, Ukraine.

The river Prut winds through the town and is a cool place to escape the summer heat.

A shiny blue shrine in Yaremche, Ukraine

Ornate shrines of all colors and sizes adorn the Ukrainian countryside.

View from the railroad tracks in Yaremche, Ukraine.

A wooden church in Yaremche, Ukraine.

A wooden church in Yaremche, Ukraine.

A wooden church in Yaremche, Ukraine.

A cemetery in front of the wooden church in Yaremche, Ukraine.

Village life in Yaremche, Ukraine

Daisies in Yaremche, Ukraine.

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