Start: Baturyn, Ukraine
End: Hlukhiv, Ukraine
Elevation Gain: 1666ft
Elevation Loss: 1534ft
Reading Material:Ukraine: A History, 4th Edition – Orest Subtelny
Audio Material: WTF podcast (Thomas Dolby/Marshall Crenshaw interviews); The Moth (I really wish they would make their full episodes available as podcasts); Planet Money; Cure for Pain – Morphine
Got an early start this morning in order to explore Baturyn — an ancient capital of the Cossack Hetmans. Unfortunately, it was a Monday so the sights didn’t open until later in the day, however, friendly docents allowed me to wander around. After an uprising led by Cossack Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky in 1648, the Left Bank gained independence from Poland (and also killed many Jews). Baturyn became the capital of the Cossack Hetmanate from 1669 to 1708. While Ukrainians hold the period as a pivotal time in the fight for an independent Ukraine, Khmelnytsky eventually ends up signing a treaty with Moscow for protection that leads to centuries of Russia rule in the Left Bank.
Most of the original buildings from the Hetmanate period have long been destroyed but Baturyn is another example of former President Yushchenko’s movement to highlight Ukrainian history. The former palace of Count Kirill Razumovsky (the last and mostly emasculated Hetman from 1750) has been renovated and a giant wooden fortress in the Cossack style was built overlooking the town. The modern town comes off mostly as a dinghy road rest stop with minimal connection to the historical Baturyn celebrated by the monuments. But, it was interesting to be in a physical place steeped with history.
The day’s ride was almost entirely straight along the E101 motorway. Some long distances between services had me thirsting for juice but the cloud cover was a welcome respite from the blazing sun. Just outside of Hlukhiv, I met a white dog traveling in the opposite direction. I suppose maybe he’s from Moscow and headed to Kiev, and my conversation with him was about as fruitful as my other attempts to communicate with Russian speakers.
I’m staying at a guesthouse right at a lake on the outskirts of Hlukhiv (~$20 for private room, wifi, a/c and a great homecooked meal). Took a dip in the lake to cool off after the day’s ride. Road into town which was cute with some nice wide, tree lined streets. This description makes it sound charming but I don’t think I have much more energy to explore. Tomorrow I exit “Little Russia” and enter the big one.