Friday, 15 April 2011


It might slightly alarm my parents if i go into details about exactly how i came to be on the road which led to this wonderful small city/town - but it is truly wonderful! A few days ago i reached a part of the Ukraine where, to my surprise, statues of Lenin are still standing. The people in general are just as nice as they are further West, but it is a little bit "wilder" - as indeed i had been warned by a friend in Lvov. It was a great surprise then to see a huge baroque, very Catholic-looking Church as i approached. Here is part of the English-language description i was directed to;

"In the 18th and 19th centuries the monastery at Berdichiv became the centre, not only of religious life and the cult of Our Lady in Ukraine, but also of culture and charity. By means of its printing press and school it played a very important role in promoting culture and education. The Shrine of Our Lady became the spiritual capital for the Roman Catholics of Ukraine. It was considered a holy place, a place of the Lord and a point of pilgrimage for those wishing to give honour to Our Lady as well as those wishing to do penance in the hopes of reconciliation with God."

For all i knew, from seeing it on the map, i thought it's chief interest might lie in the "Berdi" part of its name, which is a bit like "birdie"! Any royalists among you will be glad to know that i said a decade of the rosary in front of the Icon of Our Lady here for the intentions of the royal couple, Kate and William. On the subject of 'birdies', there've been quite a few woodpeckers recently, and it's always nice to hear their "drilling". Last night i found a berth to sleep in an abandoned sort-of look-out tower, and had a nice view of a nuthatch this morning, and might add that it was actually really comforting to hear, from there, the horn and then the whistle (especially) of trains as they approached a nearby railway crossing.

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