A journey of a thousand miles begins….
I am embarking on my first motorcycle trip on the morning of the first Sunday in July. Traditionally, the starting point is McDonald’s on the ring road. Our family trips always start here, but today I am traveling alone.
Obviously McDonald’s is not the best place to start of your journey to self-discovery. It’s so noumenal. Nothing to do with “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” or “On the road”, “Travels with Charley” or “A Passage to India”. Moreover, nothing here resembles the inner depth and strength of Moby Dick. Not to mention the unfading “Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)”. And of course, McDonald’s is simply alien to “Don Quixote”‘s genius. (I feel it’s time to stop with literary examples. P.S. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Perhaps this is a bit like “Persian Letters”.).
But let me remind you that this is Ukrainian Moto Zen and it always starts at McDonald’s.
Many snobs pout their lips at this point. They resent, sigh and despise. Let it be like the Beatles sang. Snobs are just the flip side of the rednecks, nothing more. McDonald’s is always McDonald’s and this place is no worse than any other place to start a trip to yourself. Besides, there is always a free toilet here, which is useful when you leave the city.
To travel or not to travel
In the era of antiquity, some morally strong people did not travel and did not approve of the travel of others.
Socrates spent his entire life in Athens and did not succumb to the temptation to travel, except for participation in battles.
Seneca generally condemned travel and said: “What profit is there in crossing the sea and in going from one city to another? If you would escape your troubles, you need not another place but another personality.”
The travel industry is a huge factory for selling emotions and impressions today. See the sights and take pictures. Crowd after crowd is like wave after wave. Mediocrity seeks the crowd, the extraordinary seeks loneliness. This is the way they say.
Which path will you choose? Thoughtless movement in space like a flock of sheep under the control of a shepherd – cicerone? Or the path to oneself, through cognition of people and nature via mental look? You, the Thousandth Man, who travelled far and wide, follow me looking for dreams and happiness!
The roads we take
The roads we take. The roads that take us. Some days you eat the bear; some days the bear eats you. Those who ran away from home at the age of 15 are unlikely to understand those who studied at an elite school. Shortly, Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins… (greeting a man from the Motortrade).
Still, this doesn’t look much like starting the story of Ukrainian Moto Zen, especially Kyiv-Grossglockner, – does it? – as Gabriel Betteredge would ask?
Nevertheless, back to our roads. More precisely, to one road. Since there is only one road from Kyiv to Grossglockner.
There is not a shadow of doubt. Good known road. Too much renovation, but where it is not. There are, however, several drawbacks (and where without them).
Firstly, the road that has been traveled many times by car (of course, a motorcycle is a completely different matter, but …).
Secondly, it passes through Rivne. No prejudice against Rivne, of course. But how to put it softer. Rivne is like American Iowa – the center is nothing. In a word, a well-trodden and boring road.
Is there another road (the road that takes us)? Sure thing! There is a wonderful road from Kyiv to Vinnytsia. In fact, it does not bring us closer to Grossglockner, but rather leads us away from it.
We have to move south instead of west. And like Surveyor K., who could not get close to the Castle, I also dо not come close to my destination – the majestic Grossglockner.
The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Ukrainian Moto Zen (can be skipped without reading)
Ukrainian Moto Zen has nothing to do with Japanese Shinto or Christian mysticism. In addition, there is nothing special about Buddhist teachings. Ukrainian Moto Zen is also not a sect that professes difficult spiritual practices. No need to shave your head or wear sandals.
At the same time, Ukrainian Moto Zen as a movement of people of kindness has its scientific basis and practical components.
Ukrainian Moto Zen is a consistent concept resulting from the processing, critical re-interpretation and creative development of the best that human thought produced for all time. Hence, the theoretical sources of Ukrainian Moto Zen are pure platonism, Spinoza’s pantheism, and self-knowledge of Hegel.
The practical components of Ukrainian Moto Zen are: deliverance, contemplation and self-knowledge.
Deliverance presupposes peace of mind with elements of salvation and self-preservation. It goes without saying, the deliverance in this case has nothing to do with the deliverance of Joseph Knecht.
Contemplation is a prerequisite for the spiritual-intellectual practice of Ukrainian Moto Zen. The forms of contemplation are space and time in motion, since in motion on a motorcycle every object is perceived in space and time.
Self-knowledge is the idea, awareness and comprehension of one’s personality as a process of cognizing the surrounding world and establishing harmonious relations with this world.
This is the Way
This is the Way as mandalorians say. Aristotle, exploring the nature of the soul, primarily considered the movement. Well, the unconditional craving of a person for a motorcycle can be explained by the movement of the soul only.
All these people (young and old, poor and rich, having cars and without cars and so on), driven by an inner intention that arises in their souls, strive not only to buy a motorcycle, but also to ride one.
Quite often there is no economic sense in owning a motorcycle. Any item with the prefix “moto” costs several times more than ordinary items. Riding pleasure sometimes looks rather dubious.
Constant hum of the motor. Exhausting heat in summer and illness of the nasopharynx in the cold season. The habit of looking at the sky all the time in anticipation of rain.
In a word, it reminds me a little of a tropical island, where the heroes of the film with a happy ending will certainly go to their permanent residence.
But as they say, tourism is one thing and immigration is another thing.
After a month of living on the island, you will certainly want to escape from there.
But the motorcyclists not only do not run away, but continue their way in the heat and cold, in the rain and in the drought. Why do they keep doing this? Why are they continuing along this way? The way to where? That is the question.
I think, in this way, the movement born in the soul of a motorcyclist achieves unity with the movement of a motorcycle and thus the way leads us to Zen.
As the Spanish poet said: “The main thing is that the soul could fulfill its hope.”
White church and black hats
“The wise man, as the proverb says, is late for a fray, but not for a feast.” “To war and battle, as they say, long preparations, Socrates!”
I hope that those few readers who continue to read these notes dedicated to my motorcycle trip from Kyiv to Grossglockner still remember where this trip began. More precisely, it still begins because I am sitting in the McDonald’s on the ring road, thinking about various things that are irrelevant to the trip. But who knows Watson, who knows?
For now, it’s time to get down to practical and concrete things like riding a motorcycle from point A to point B. The time for empty chatter is over! Forward! (I hope someone else remembers this word “Forward” as a password from the novel “Three Musketeers”).
Well, I am on my way to a town that was founded a thousand years ago (the date of foundation is 1032 AD). The founder of the town was the medieval father-in-law of all Europe – Prince Yaroslav the Wise.
First of all, Yaroslav the Wise (the Grand Prince of Kyiv) had as his wife the daughter of the Swedish king – Ingegerd. Not bad at all!
Furthermore. Yaroslav the Wise had 3 daughters. All of them were married off to foreigners and became queens of various European states.
Yaroslav’s daughter Anastasia became Queen of Hungary (1047). In gratitude for the help provided to her, Anastasia presented the Bavarian Duke Otto of Northeim with the Hungarian royal relic “Attila’s sword”.
The second daughter of Yaroslav the Wise – Elizabeth became the queen of Norway (1047).
The third daughter of Yaroslav the Wise – Anna in 1051 married the French king and gave birth to the king’s heir, the future King of France Philip I.
Thus, the Kyiv prince Yaroslav the Wise was a really wise person. He not only successfully married his daughters, but also supervised the creation of the code of laws of medieval Kyivan Rus’ which did not contain a word about the death penalty – Ruska Pravda.
Stop! Like Greek mercenaries from Anabasis, I loop through my notes. It’s time to get back to the journey at last!
Look at the title of this part of the notes – “White church and black hats”.
White Church is the name of the town where I am going now. But what do the black hats mean? About black hats will be told in the next note.
Black hats and women
“Surprisingly worthy and incomprehensible God in his judgments, merciful and infinitely patient, just in punishment. From time immemorial, since the creation of this visible world, He has exalted some states and nations on the righteous scales of His providence, and humbles others for sins and iniquities, enslaves some – liberates others, exalts some – overthrows others.”
Thus begins the preamble to the world’s first constitution, authorship of the Ukrainian hetman Pylyp Orlyk, written in 1570.
Needless to say, Pylyp Orlyk’s personality deserves an adventure tv series for a long time. His monument stands in the Swedish city of Kristianstad, among other things. And I won’t even ask after whom the French Orly airport is named).
With that, in the context of my notes, Orlyk’s opinion on the fate of individual peoples deserves attention. I will allow myself to quote just once a part of his preambula, so beloved by me. “He has exalted some states and nations on the righteous scales of His providence, and humbles others for sins and iniquities”.
The fact is that in Kyivan Rus’ there were two main forces in the political sense: the Kyivan boyars and the black hats. The black hats and the Kyiv boyars decided together to invite one or another prince to the service in Kyiv.(I hope the reader appreciated the grace of the transition to black hats, which I promised to talk about in my last note).
Moreover, all the military forces of Kуivan Rus consisted of three parts: the Kyivites, the prince’s squad, and the black hats.
As you can easily see black hats are found almost everywhere. They play a significant role in politics and make up a significant part of the army of Kyivan Rus’. But what can I say, even the chronicles call Kyivan Rus’ itself as “All Rus’ land and black hats.”
Mentally fast forward 2220 km from Kyiv to the shores of the Aral Sea. Here we will find a people numbering 620,000 thousand called Karakalpaks. The name “Karakalpak” comes from two words: qara meaning “black” and qalpaq meaning “hat”. Black hats?! Right!
You need to know that the Black Caps were a union of the Turkic clans. They were in the service of the Kyivan princes and lived near the modern Ukrainian city – White Church.
After the conquest of Kyiv by the Mongols, the Black hats were resettled to the shores of the Aral Sea.
This is how the black hats found themselves far from their place of residence and without their state. At the same time, Ukrainians finally achieved independence and now make up 41 million people.
P.S. In the next note, I will talk in more detail about the White Church, old age and the women (where to go without them).
White Church. Women. Motorcycle.
“To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman.”
“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;”
“It is absolutely wrong to consider a motorcycle as a means of escape from the surrounding reality. In fact, the motorcycle is a means of mental liberation.” – from a conversation between two Kyiv private entrepreneurs.
Don’t even ask me where I went after arriving at the White Church town. Naturally at a despicable McDonald’s.
Wherever I am and no matter how I condemn fast food, upon arrival in any city I head to McDonald’s. Even moving along the Italian Autobahn, like Captain Ahab and his team, I gaze at the top of another hill to see if there will be a whale fountain and a white hump, in the sense of the familiar McDonald’s tower.
As Polybius’ Roman legionary in any country will find an equally equipped military camp, so I know for sure what I will find at McDonald’s.
Of course, while traveling, you can explore the national characteristics of local culinary establishments, but they all pale before the automatic power of McDonald’s. Nota bene, in my city Kyiv I hardly visit McDonald’s, but I gladly use its services on my motorcycle trip.
Thus, devouring the usual menu (honorably mentioning “the usual suspects” from Casablanca), I began to draw up a plan to explore the city and tried to remember what I knew about it.
The city of Bila Tserkva (White Church) is one of the oldest cities of the ancient Russian state, founded in 1032 on the high rocky bank of the Ros’ River by the Grand Duke of Kyiv Yaroslav the Wise (friendly reminder: Moscow was founded in 1147). Named St. George of Ros (the chronicles include the short name of St. George), the city was one of the southern outposts to deter nomadic attacks.
As for the origin of the name of the city, historians say that in 1050 Yaroslav the Wise built an episcopal church of white stone on Castle Hill.
After the destruction of the city by the Mongol-Tatars in the thirteenth century this structure has long served as a landmark for migrants among the dense and wild forests that covered the valley of Ros’ at that time.
That is why the place where the cathedral stood, and later the city, which arose from the ruins of Prince George on a rocky shore, was named the White Church.
In 1362, Bila Tserkva, together with the Kyivan principality, was annexed to Lithuania, and after the Union of Lublin (1569) it became part of the Rzeczpospolita. The town became the center of old age (administrative unit in Poland) and became an important strategic point in the south.
In 1589, King Sigismund III of Poland approved the city’s privileges at the Sejm in Warsaw, granting the White Church and its inhabitants the Magdeburg Right.
From 1660, the White Church alternately belonged to the Moscow Empire and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, for some time the city was even a neutral territory.
It was only in 1793 that the city was annexed by Russia. For a long time (until the XX century) Bila Tserkva became the patrimony of the Branytsky family. The Branicki family made Bila Tserkva a city that had lost all administrative significance for the state.
By order of Catherine II, the castle was destroyed and the city was transferred from state ownership to private ownership.
Branicki founded a large luxury park here in 1793, which he later named after his wife Oleksandra.
The role played by the White Church in the history of Ukraine is difficult to overestimate.
In fact, no major Ukrainian uprising escaped Bila Tserkva: under it, Severin Nalyvayko fought with the Poles; it was a base for 70,000 Semyon Paliy rebels, for seven weeks Bohdan Khmelnytsky himself gathered troops here…
Bila Tserkva remembers Ivan Mazepa, the failed siege of Pylyp Orlyk. And the last Ukrainian uprising – Koliivshchyna – made the Branicki family the owners of the city, who laid the largest architecturally designed landscape park in Ukraine today – “Oleksandriya“…
It was in Bila Tserkva that an armed uprising began under the leadership of Simon Petliura and Volodymyr Vynnychenko. The formation of the main forces of the Directory took place here. Here, for the first time, a report was published on the restoration of power of the independent Ukrainian People’s Republic …
Well, I must confess that when I read “Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)” in my youth, I sometimes missed the description of cemeteries or churches. Of course, in adulthood, I re-read the entire book from beginning to end, but who knows Watson, who knows …
Perhaps it’s time, after the historical and geographical description (hello to Strabo), to move on to the next part of this article, namely WOMEN.
“But it is very dangerous to look deeper into the hearts of women.”
– “Dead Souls”, a novel by Mykola Gogol.
“Yes! I got married. But I didn’t die.” – from a conversation between two men in a Kyiv bar.
“Tu mettrais l’univers entier dans ta ruelle,
Femme impure! L’ennui rend ton âme cruelle.” – Charles Baudelaire
Gender! Gender! Gender! The wave of gender, like a tsunami as high as Mont Blanc, rolls around the globe.
I can still see from here a clear calm morning on the beach in Pandemonium, where all these Charlie Weinstein’ brothers are taking sea baths. Silence and serenity are present here.
Sexual harassment is safely hidden under the cover of public acquiescence and non-disclosure agreements. Some fat bastard even sarcastically asks another pretty woman: “If you go up to this room, do you really not understand why you are invited here?” Or some fool judge will take and blurt out: “Maybe you should have kept your legs together, and not spread them?” What a fabulous and comfortable world. For men, of course.
Unfortunately for these men, a tectonic shift occurs in the collective unconscious and a sub-earthquake generates a tsunami wave called #MeToo.
This wave of an already inexorable mass falls on the beach and destroys the entire coastline: hotels, sun loungers, Charlie Weinstein and his brothers.
The Pandemonium of sexual harassment disappeared as well as the suburbs of Troy, flooded by the gods.
Yes, Pandemonium disappeared, but the mainland remained, stretching for miles around.
Perhaps, the wave of gender needs a rational and irrational explanation. Hence, if there are 2,000 Charlie Weinstein in the world, then understanding the nature of each of them, we will not be able to understand why there are exactly 2,000 Charlie Weinsteins.
Stop! Wait, what am I talking about? I was going to tell you about the beauty of Ukrainian women.They are often smart, determined and bold. And you should know every fifth Ukrainian girl can play the role of a James Bond.
Oh, dear James. You are the last bastion of consumerism towards women. For this we love you! Do you remember: “Do not worry you are not my type. – Smart? – Single!
No, Bond is probably not a very good example in this case. Perhaps it is worth saying that “The victorious march of the wave of gender across the planet is the payback for the millennial domination of men over women.
Be that as it may, I’m going to leave the town White Church and move on. I was here earlier in my twenties and am here now in my sixties. What a city! What girls!
In my twenties I was a soldier of the Soviet army here and was sent from here straight to Afghanistan (hello to Dr. Watson). Now I am posting this test on facebook. I live in the future!
P.S. I’ll tell you about my motorcycle next time.
I’ll Follow The Sun
The world of pensioners. Weather. Love and blood.
“In the midway of this our mortal life,
I found me in a gloomy wood, astray
Gone from the path direct..”
“When I travel I have nothing to care for but myself, and the laying out;
my money; which is disposed of by one single precept; too many things are required to the raking it together; in that I understand nothing…”
In the end of this mortal life the world of retirees is not so terrible as it might seem at first glance. You can consider this world as the threshold of hell, of course, but this is not entirely true.
First, it is huge. Its immensity does not mean the desolation of the lunar landscape. On the contrary, everyone can find something to their liking here.
Secondly, suffering and torment in this world, as a rule, are experienced by two categories of beings: empty personalities and former bosses.
People who throughout their lives have tried to fill the inner emptiness with a conscious search for conflict may feel deeply dissatisfied.
Such people do not have enough conflicts and they continue to look for them, turning into a grumpy and embittered pensioner.
These retirees, especially if they are legally literate, can not only spoil the mood of the cashier in the supermarket, but also disrupt the normal work of an entire corporation.
Former bosses usually lack the drug of power. You can see how the head of the department, who is already retired and terminally ill, continues to give instructions over the phone to his subordinates.
It is difficult for such individuals to imagine that the world and their organization can perfectly exist without them.
They continue to exercise their power until their death. Their main goal is the exercise of power as itself only. They enjoy the process of leadership and the achievement of the goal of the organization in this case is secondary.
Such leaders are especially evident in budgetary organizations. They act like parasites. In commercial structures, where profit and results are important, they would be disposed of immediately, but in budgetary organizations they can flourish for decades. They are ready to give guidance on the cell phone from the grave.
Third, there are many people who experience a sense of liberation and quiet joy after retirement. Obviously, it is better to deal with such people.
Given the title of these notes, I will return to the world of retirees later in the next notes.
Well, now about the weather. The weather matters. Weather matters for farmers, ship captains, pilots, and so on. The weather is of particular importance for motorcyclists.
Sitting in the saddle of a motorcycle you become a real amateur meteorologist. Life in the future, and we all live in the future, allows you to have access to various Internet sources that provide information about the state of the weather in real time. These sources are very useful but unfortunately do not exclude the biker getting caught in the rain.
Driving in the rain for several hours gives little joy to the rider. You have to stop to put on a raincoat, have waterproof bags, watch the wet road and have other uncomfortable difficulties. I’m not looking for rain. I try to follow the sun.
So I show some cowardice and follow the sun further south instead of west. My next stop is the city of Uman, where there is a beautiful Sofiyivka Park.
The park was founded in 1796 by Count Stanisław Potocky, a Polish noble, who named one after his Greek wife Sofia. It was a gift of Stanislaw Potocki to his wife on her birthday.
Zofia Potocka was famous in contemporary Europe for her beauty and adventurous life. During the Russo-Turkish War (1787–1792) she was the lover of the Russian commander prince Grigory Potemkin and acted as an agent in Russian service.
Compatriots of her time wrote: “She was beautiful as a dream, a child of southern countries. All those who have seen her admire her beauty, igniting a fire in the hearts of men and envy in the eyes of women.”
It is noteworthy that Count Pototski rebuilt Uman after a peasant uprising – Koliivshchyna. Koliivshchyna was a major haidamaka rebellion that broke out in the Right-bank Ukraine in June 1768, caused by the money (Dutch ducats coined in Saint-Petersburg) sent by Russia to Ukraine to pay for the fight of the locals against the Bar Confederation.
The dissatisfaction of the peasants was caused with the treatment of Eastern Catholics and Orthodox Christians by the Bar Confederation and by the threat of serfdom, as well as the anti-nobility and anti-Polish moods among the Cossacks and peasants.
In three weeks of unbridled violence the rebels slaughtered 20,000 people, according to numerous Polish sources. The leaders of the uprising were Cossacks, mainly Maksym Zalizniak and a commander of Potocki’s private militia, Ivan Gonta.
Eventually the uprising was crushed by Russian troops, Ukrainian registered cossacks of Left-Bank Ukraine, the Zaporozhian Host, and aided by the Polish army. Its two major leaders were arrested by Russian troops on 7 July 1768.
Ivan Gonta was handed over to Polish authorities who tortured him to death, while Maksym Zalizniak was exiled to Siberia.
The rebellion was suppressed by the joint forces of Polish and Russian armies, with numerous hangings, decapitations, quarterings and impalings of Polish subjects and of those Russian subjects who were captured by governmental Polish forces themselves.
The park is located in the northern part of the City of Uman, Cherkasy Oblast (Central Ukraine), near the Kamianka River. Some areas of the park are reminiscent of an English garden.
It should be noted, Sofiyivka is a scenic landmark of world gardening design at the beginning of the 19th century. The park accounts for over 2,000 types of trees and brush (local and exotic) among which are taxodium (marsh cypress), Weymouth Pine, tulip tree, platanus, ginkgo, and many others.
There are many scenic areas in the park including waterfalls, fountains, ponds, and a stone garden. It is one of the most famous examples of late 18th or early 19th century European landscape garden design that has been preserved to the present time.
Tchaikovsky, Hitler and the blue-yellow rider
“You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over? Do you happen to know, by any chance?”
I saddle my metal Chinese horse and set off. Yes, the harsh truth is that my motorcycle is Chinese. Former Ukrainian emeritus law teachers simply can’t afford a Japanese advanced motorcycle. However, just like in prison, you can be free, just as you can be happy traveling on a Chinese motorcycle.
Leaving the glorious city of Uman I go to the next city on my route – Vinnytsia, finally to the West (oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet).
Since I do not write the history of Ukraine or the history of any particular Ukrainian region, I provide historical and geographical information only to the extent that it is necessary for my traveller’s notes.
Obviously, there is nothing in common between Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Adolf Hitler, except for one thing. At different times, both of them were in the same region of Ukraine – Vinnytsia region. Tchaikovsky had written music on a certain estate in Brailov. Hitler led the troops from the Werewolf – headquarters near Vinnytsia.
On May 26, 1877, in a letter to Tchaikovsky, Nadezhda von Meck described her estate in Brailov as follows: this land is charming by its nature, vegetation and climate.
Nadezhda’s opinion about Brailov and the Vinnytsia region can be trusted completely. She and her husband owned estates in various European countries and in Russia. Being rich, she could afford to give Tchaikovsky 6,000 rubles a year, while an ordinary house at that time could be bought for 100 rubles. Moreover, in 1881, Nadezhda von Meck invited Claude Debussy, a student of the Paris Conservatory, as a home composer)
Tchaikovsky traveled to Brailov five times (in the period 1878 – 1880) and stayed at the estate of Nadezhda von Meck when the hostess was absent. Here he wrote The Maid of Orleans, three pieces for violin and piano, Scherzo, Melody, Romances Amid the Noisy Ball, It Was Early Spring, Serenade of Don Juan and many other works.
Tchaikovsky wrote to Nadezhda from Brailov, characterizing the nature of this place: “In Brailov I want to surrender myself to my love for nature. There is no place in the whole world that would give me so much space in this respect. Trips to Brailov will remain in my memory a radiant memory of the most poetic days of my life. “
Well, so as to maintain a cruising speed of 100-110 km/h, I was moving slowly towards the Vinnytsia region where Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was so happy.
In this place before going to Adolf it is convenient to give a few figures about Ukraine and the Vinnytsia region.
Firstly, this country is the largest in Europe in terms of area, if we exclude the overseas territories of France. More precisely, the area of France is 547,030 sq. km, and the area of Ukraine is 603 549 sq. km.
The length of the longest Ukrainian railway route Mariupol – Rakhiv is 1800 kilometers. And this is not in India. This is in Europe, where the distance between Munich (Germany) and Vienna (Austria) is 400 kilometers.
I will tell you more about Vinnitsa itself when I get there. It is also appropriate to point out that the city of Vinnytsia and the Vinnytsia region are included in the historical territory called Podillya. It was for this territory (1394) that there was a war between Poland and Lithuania for 40 years.
Führerhauptquartier Werwolf was the codename used for one of Adolf Hitler’s World War II Eastern Front military headquarters located in a pine forest about 12 kilometres (7+1⁄2 miles) north of Vinnytsia, in Ukraine, which was used between 1942 and 1943.
It was built between December 1941 and June 1942 under top secret conditions by Soviet prisoners of war.
Hitler’s accommodation at Werwolf (the Führerhaus) consisted of a modest log cabin built around a private courtyard with its own concrete bunker.
There was a tea house, a barber shop, a bathhouse, a sauna, a cinema and a swimming pool, primarily intended for Hitler who never used it.
The facility also contained a large vegetable garden organised by the German horticultural company Zeidenspiner to provide Hitler with a secure supply of food.
During his Eastern campaign, Adolf Hitler lived mainly at FHQ Wolfsschanze (near Rastenburg, East Prussia) but he stayed at FHQ Werwolf three times:
16 July to 30 October 1942: The weather was hot, up to 45 °C (113 °F), and the bunkers were humid. Hitler caught severe influenza, with a temperature running up to 40 °C (104 °F). In this condition he gave his fateful Führer Directive 45, splitting Army Group South into two parts, trying to reach both Stalingrad and the Caucasus oil fields simultaneously.
The Directive was part of the causes of the eventual defeat and destruction of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad and the German Army’s progressive withdrawal from Southern Russia to a new front near the Soviet city of Kursk.
19 February to 13 March 1943: to observe Field Marshal Erich von Manstein’s Kharkiv offensive in the wake of Germany’s defeat at Stalingrad.
27 August to 15 September 1943: to observe the unsuccessful defense of Kharkiv.
The Nazis destroyed the site, including mining access to the underground complex, upon abandoning the region. The site was examined after the Nazi departure in March 1944 under the orders of Joseph Stalin, but no documentation was found. The Soviet Union took steps to permanently seal the underground parts of the complex.
Today only the swimming pool and concrete fragments remain visible on the site, which is an open recreation area. The site can be visited but plans to create a full-fledged museum had not come to fruition as of August 2018.
Nearby is a memorial to the thousands of labourers and others buried by the Nazis in gravepits at Stryzhavka.
Well, I’m heading for a date with Tchaikovsky and Hitler, observing the beautiful land of Ukraine along the way.
It should be noted here that due to the design features of motorcycles, motorcyclists are much more likely to call in to refuel than owners of tin boxes.
In addition, the hum of the engine, the whistle of the wind and the narrow seat (hello iron butt) force motorcyclists to stop at gas stations quite often.
Branded gas stations in Ukraine practically do not differ from gas stations in Western Europe. Maybe they are not that huge and do not have food restaurants.
At the same time, here you can always refuel, have a snack and relieve the need for a free toilet.
Therefore, it was surprising for me to see in some countries of central Europe (“Shocking” as James Bond or Sean Connery said) how adult European males save on paid toilets and relieve themselves practically in front of women and children. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
The blue-yellow rider
This course of my thoughts on European multiculturalism was interrupted by the appearance of the blue-yellow rider.
Like a giant ocean liner majestically and smoothly entering a Mediterranean port, the blue-yellow motorcyclist smoothly rode into the gas station on a huge BMW motorcycle. Oh, BMW … I tried not to look too closely at it.
Meanwhile, the blue-yellow rider slowly looked around and went straight to me…