Lance & Megan's Blog

Date day adventure

September19

Lance and I got to have one day off during the Equip school. We thought about just staying home, which can be nice some days, but we decided that we would go out and explore some of the sights around Ternopil. We packed a lunch, grabbed our cameras, and jumped into the car!

Kremenets from below

First stop, Kremenets, a city about an hour away from Ternopil. We often pass this way as we go to other major cities and we often look up and see this castle on a hill. We usually say to ourselves “We should stop there someday.” Well today was that day. It was a lovely stormy day, sunny for almost all day but very windy with dark clouds rolling in. The castle is only in ruins now with most of the wall remaining and one tower but it is always so fun to see such history!

Kremenets Lance & I

Kremenets wall

Next stop was Pochaiv, a city about 30 min away from Kremenets. We had heard that there was a lavra here (Lavra: a type of monastery consisting of a cluster of cells or caves for hermits, with a church and sometimes a refectory at the center.) There was a huge lavra in Pochaiv and is considered a spiritual center for Orthodox. They believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to the monks there and left her footprint in the rock. Now all the waters the come from a spring in the rock are considered holy and to have medicinal properties.

Pochaiv lavra
Pochaiv front

It was an interesting experience for us, not being Orthodox. Many times these spiritual centers leave us feeling empty and lost. So many people come looking for answers or looking for God but they are only led to something else, in this case, Mary and her footprint. We had lunch in Pochaiv and then planned to head home but discovered something else…

Pidkamin tower

We went home a different way and as we were driving I looked up and saw what looked almost like another castle on a hill. We thought we would pull off the main road and try to find this place whatever it was. Why not? It was an adventure day!

Pidkamin monastery arches

Pidkamin on the wall

We managed to find it after a few turn arounds and discovered it to be an old monastery. Built in the 17th century by monks who escaped from Mongol attack in Kyiv. Over the years it served as a jail, psychiatric hospital, a stable, and an artillery warehouse. The ancient chapel is being rebuilt at the moment from damage down by water damage as well as remaining artillery fire from World War 1.

Pidkamin church

Pidkamin rock from a distance

When we reached the monastery, we were able to see on the next hill over a huge lone rock surrounded by stone crosses. Would you drive away and not explore such a sight? I didn’t think so. We hiked down and over to the wondrous sight. This area is so quiet and serene, to stand amongst 17th century tombs during a growing storm in front of a mountainous rock was surreal to say the least.

Pidkamin the rock

The rock is called Devil’s Rock because as the story goes, the devil broke off a rock from the Carpathians and threw it at the monastery intending to destroy the monks and their monastery but the rock fell short and the monastery remains to this day.

Pidkamin handholds

We walked all about the rock and discovered foot & hand holds that led to the top. Again, would you walk away without trying to get to the top? I didn’t think so. We made it to the top just as the rain drops were beginning to fall and the thunder and lightning became fierce. We enjoyed the moment and sight from the top but then quickly realized that standing on top of a rock in the middle of a storm was probably not the best idea.

Pidkamin lance on the rock

We made it back to our car before the torrent of rain came and continued our trek home to end our fun adventure-filled day off.

Pidkamin panoramic

posted under Lance, Megan, travel, Ukraine

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